The Heads of the Intellectual Property Offices of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan held their Seventh Meeting in Kanazawa, Japan, to advance cooperation and forge deeper collaboration on intellectual property issues.One of the objectives of the meeting was to approve the ASEAN IP Offices-Japan Patent Office (JPO) Intellectual Property Rights Action Plan 2017-2018.

The meeting organized by the JPO, led by its Commissioner Yoshinori Komiya, was held on 15-16 March 2017,back-to-back with the High-Level Dialogue with Executives of Japanese Companiesand the ASEAN Intellectual Property Offices Symposium 2017. The dialogue and the symposium were attended by around 150 representatives of Japanese companies doing or seeking to do business in the ASEAN region, including the Philippines. 

In the joint statement released by the ASEAN and JPO Heads of IP Offices, they “reaffirmed the important contribution of intellectual property in achieving socio-economic development goals, encouraging technology transfer, stimulating innovation and promoting creativity.” They emphasized the importance of implementing the ASEAN IP Offices-JPO IPR Action Plan to “enhance their respective intellectual property infrastructures and platforms.”

Director General Josephine Rima-Santiago of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) highlighted the importance of the meeting and the partnership withJPO, especially after the unequivocal endorsement of Japan to the appointment of the IPOPHL as International Searching Authority/International Examining Preliminary Authority (ISA/IPEA) recently.

During the bilateral meeting with Commissioner Komiya, Santiago secured the continued support of JPO once the IPOPHL begins the more challenging task of operating as ISA/IPEA. This technical assistance includes the dispatch of Japanese experts to train IPOPHL patent examiners.

Santiago made a presentation to Japanese stakeholders on streamlined services and IT/online services in the region. She also noted that the meetings with the Japanese stakeholders provided new insights to the IPOPHL especially as it continues to strive to operate as a more client-centric organization. The Japanese stakeholders presented their business requirements and the intellectual property-related issues they encounter in their operations in ASEAN.

The ASEAN IP Offices has had a longstanding cooperation with the JPO, which was formalized with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in August 2012. The ASEAN-Japan Heads of IP Offices meet annually.