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Research Activity Summary of FY2000

 
1. Research and Study on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for Intellectual PropertyRights
   As the number of disputes over intellectual property has increased in recent years, other countries have increasingly made use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems such as arbitration or mediation for resolution of the disputes. In Japan, however, such systems have thus far rarely been used . To realize a speedy and user-friendly dispute resolution system, enrichment and enforcement measures for Japan's ADR system in intellectual property field, such as making use of the Arbitration Center for Industrial Property or advisory opinion system of the Japan Patent Office with regard  to the technical scope of a patented invention, are sought in consideration of cooperation with the court.

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2.  Research and Study on the Ability Rating System in IP Professional Services

   In the era of intelligence, in which information and knowledge create big added value, enforcement of the IP professional services is essential for the enforcement of IP strategies. However, there is no ability rating system for IP professional services in Japan other than the patent attorney qualification. From the standpoint of effectively using personnel related to intellectual property but not patent attorneys and that of promoting new entries, research and study had been conducted on an ability rating system that is requested based on the actual state of the existing ability rating system, domestic needs and the actual state of foreign ability rating systems.

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3. Research and Study on Trend of New Areas (Business Methods)-related Inventions

   In recent years, business-related inventions have been attracting great attention in Japan. In such circumstance, research and study on trends of judiciary, administration, the industrial world, etc. in Japan, the U.S. and Europe were conducted on efforts towards business-related inventions. Also, surveys were widely conducted targeting domestic corporations, and a detailed analysis was made on the results.

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4. Research and Study on Patent Protection for Medical Field

   The recent rapid progress in life science related technologies has led to an increase of inventions in such medical fields as gene therapy and regeneration medicine. Also, patent applications for embryonic stem cell, cloning and organ transplant have been filed, and they are required to be considered from the viewpoint of bioethics. Under such circumstance, in this research and study, we examined patent protection for medical field, in light of the actual state with domestic and overseas, problems and future trend all concerning the relationship between medical therapy or diagnosis performed by medical practitioners and patent rights, and that between bioethics and patent rights.

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5. Research and Study on Desirable Trademark Protection by Adjusting the Borderless Character of the Internet and Territorial Nature of Rights in Trademarks

   Since marks and signs, once used on the Internet by corporations or other business entities, are immediately accessible irrespective of territorial location, there always have potential risks that the use may infringe registered trademarks owned by others located in other countries. In fact, there are many cases that have caused conflicts or gone into litigations. To resolve the problem thus caused by the particularity of the Internet, the WIPO Standing Committee on the law of Trademarks are now engaged in drafting the provisions. Under the circumstances, we ourselves worked on the issue in order to seek the desirable and preferable protection of marks and sings on the Internet and to settle conflicts with rights which is alleged to be infringed, through better understanding of, and extracting practical difficulties on, the draft provision.

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6.  Research and Study on Influences of the Patent System on Economy

   To contribute to the development of intellectual property policy and corporate intellectual property strategies, we examined some approaches to clarify the effects and influences that intellectual property (such as patents) has on individual corporate management and macro-economy. Specifically, we conducted (1) the development of a patent economic system model as a means for analysis, (2) theoretical and practical approaches on valuation methods for intellectual property (including trends of the U.S. Accounting Standards), (3) analysis on patent economic trend indices, which is developed for indicating trends of various intellectual property activities in Japanese corporations, and (4) analysis on indices of intellectual property activities of venture businesses.

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7.   Research and Study on Desired Information Transmission from the Japan Patent Office

   The Japan Patent Office (JPO) is now transmitting a variety of information by media such as the Internet, paper medium, etc. Recently, as intellectual property has become more important, the expectation towards these information transmissions has also become higher. Under such recognition, in this research and study, we conducted a survey on the needs of domestic corporations, patent attorneys and researchers at universities on information which the JPO is now transmitting and to transmit in the future, as well as a survey on the actual state of information transmission from patent offices in major countries and a survey on the needs of patent attorneys offices.

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8. Research and Study on the Unfair Competition Prevention Law (Protection of Domain names)

   As the use of the Internet has rapidly spread and as portals of the Internet has come to be deeply connected with corporate economic activities and individual social lives, the socioeconomic value of domain names as portals of the Internet has been increasing.. On the other hand, conflicts of interests over domain names in relation to trademarks, etc. have become more obvious. For this research and study, we examined the establishment of substantive rules for balance between domain names and trademarks, etc. in Japan based on the protection of various indications under the existing legal system and domestic and foreign trends concerning this problem, aiming at the healthy development of the Internet and the appropriate protection of intellectual property such as trademarks .

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9. Research and Study on Desired Search Methods in the Biotechnology Field

   An increase in the number of patent applications containing data for very long DNA sequences in the biotechnological field has been leading a remarkable increase of duty on search (by using an existing search system for patent examinations) and on data administration. In light of such circumstance, we examined appropriate future sequence data search and database by conducting surveys on efficient storage, mainly by the compression method of base sequence data, a method in which homology search (in a compressed condition) can be conducted, confirmation and evaluation by actual device verification, and the possibility of outsourcing, including the use of an external published database .

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10. Research and Study on Interpretation and Operations of Trademark Registration Requirement under Domestic and Foreign Trademark Law

   While there has been an increase in circumstances in which trademarks which should not be exclusively used by an individual under normal social conventions are registered because they do not fall into reasons for refusal in express provision, operations such as refusal by stretching the meaning of Section 4(1)(vii) of the Japanese Trademark Law (contravention of public order or morality) or each item of Section 3(1) of the same law have been conducted to correspond to the normal social conventions. Since more than a little doubt has been presented on the operations from within and out of Japan, we examined the propriety of the interpretation of the law and the operations based on concrete cases ,comparison of guidelines of trademark vegistration as well as propriety of establishment of new reason for refusal and its contents after conducting survey on operations in other countries.

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11. Research and Study on Rights and Duties of Applicant regarding Patent Application

   There are systems that do not exist in Japan among the patent application procedures of other countries. It may be helpful for improving the Japanese patent application system to conduct surveys on these systems and to use them as basic data for discussions on our system design. Therefore, in this research and study, we conducted surveys on the characteristics of provisional application systems in the United States and the United Kingdom and actual condition of operations thereof as a matter for applicants' rights. Also, as a matter for applicants duties, we conducted a survey on characteristics of Information Disclosure Statement(IDS) system in the United States, which seems to have significant meaning in securing the accuracy of examinations on patent applications, and a survey on the actual condition of operations thereof.

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12. Research and Study on International Disputes over Intellectual Property

   Along with the progress of the globalization and networking of economy, it has become indispensable to establish international rules for resolution of dispute over intellectual property. In this research and study, from the viewpoint of international private law and intellectual property, we reviewed problems in the existing preliminary Draft Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters which has been discussed at the Hague Conference on Private International Law, and considered the directionality which Japan should take toward the adoption of the Convention scheduled around the beginning of 2002. Also, with regard to decision rules on governing laws which are closely related with the jurisdiction, we clarified problems and considered solutions.

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13. Research and Study on the Prospect of IP Protection ―Problems for Storage of Works―

   Along with the rapid progress of the digitization of information devices and of networking, many international discussions over copyrights have been made, and new important problems have also been emerging in Japan. Especially, copies which are beyond the conventional concept of copy have been emerging in temporary storage, etc. accompanied with the use of the computer. Therefore, in this study, we focused on temporary storage among the problems , examined way of thinking in Japan, in Europe and in the United States, and extracted issues for temporary copying in Japan.

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14. A Proposal for New Regulation of Abusive Use of Domain Names
Chul Song Lee
Professor, Dept. of Law Hanyang University

   With the diffusion of E-commerce, the value of “domain names” has been increasing as a means to represent oneself in electronic transactions. However, there are a growing number of illicit cases where one registers another person’s famous trademark or name as his or her own domain name to free-ride on another’s reputation or sell the domain name itself. Although consensus has been formed on the need to regulate such acts, the current laws of Japan can only provide an extremely narrow scope of regulation. This report demonstrates the deviance of the illicit use of domain names from the norm, and as a legislative approach, it presents a rational regulation method to suit the nature of domain names.

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15. A Comparative Study on the Patentability of Biotechnological Invention
Xiao Du Zhang
Doctoral Student ,Graduate School of Law Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

   This report refers to the discussions in the U.S. concerning the patentability of biotechnological inventions, paying attention to the difficulty and the peculiarity in determining the patentability of such inventions, to conduct comparative analyses on the actual practices mainly in the U.S., Europe, Japan and China for each of the patentability requirements, including the constitution of statutory subject matter, usefulness ,novelty and inventiveness. At the same time, it proposes, as China's future task, to formulate patentability determination standards based on the experiences of the U.S., Europe and Japan.

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16. The Internet Distribution and Use of Inventive and Creative Works
Howard C. Anawalt
Professor,School of Law Santa Clara University

   The progress of computer networks raises questions of what should be the legal positioning of intellectual property that is distributed through networks as intangible information, and how should the protection of the interests of intellectual property right holders and the users’ demand for usefulness be legally defined. Legal issues concerning intellectual property within the Internet environment involve various complicated cross-border factors. This report gives examples of hypothetical cases relating particularly to the patent right and copyright to present the specific legal issues, to point out the problems in the legal treatment of those cases, and to examine the future challenges.

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17. A Comparative Study on Parallel Imports of Goods Protected by Patent and Trademarks in Japan and In the EU: Discussed in the Light of Economic Theory
Peter Ganea
Doctor /Researcher,Max-Planck Institute

   This report discusses whether a patent right or a trademark right should be used as an instrument to prevent the parallel imports of patented products or trademarked goods from the perspective of microeconomics.While considering the latest legal trends in Japan and the EU, it analyzes the conflict between static efficiency resulting from fierce price competition and dynamic efficiency resulting from quality competition as well as technological development in order to demonstrate that parallel imports result from market imperfections.Then, it makes a unique speculation on the measures required for diminishing such imperfections.

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18. Regulation of Trademark Licensing Through Non-Trademark Law:Jurisprudence of "Corporate Brand Manegement"
Souichirou Kozuka
Associate Professor Sophia University(Tokyo)

   This report outlines the legal issues concerning the regulation of trademarklicensing.  While trademark laws of major states seem to have converged as regards whether and under what conditions trademarks can be licensed, there still remain problems to be solved in relation to competition law, contract law as well as corporation law (in the case of licensing between the parent and subsidiary companies). The author points out the importance of the fact that the value of a trademark cannot be measured objectively but depends on its image held by the public.

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19. Criteria for Determination of Nonobviousness of Business Method Patents
Tatsuo Kato
Researcher Institute of Intellectual Property

   Ever since the rendering of the State Street Bank decision, so-called "business method patents" have attracted much attention in the U.S.Past discussions, however, mainly focused on whether or not business methods can constitute statutory subject matter.This report, on the other hand, analyses past court decisions and material released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in an attempt to examine the current status and the problems concerning the criteria for determining nonobviousness of business method patents, which are expected to become subjects of discussion in the future.

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