Newsletter

June 2024 issue [General] Newsletter

June issue [General] Newsletter

Research results of “Research on how creations using AI should be protected under patent law”

On April 22, 2024, the Japan Patent Office published on its website the results of a study titled "Research on the Protection of Creations Using AI Under Patent Law" (chairman: Professor Hirashima Ryuta), which was conducted as commissioned research for fiscal 2023.

This research study conducted a public information survey, domestic and international questionnaires, and interviews regarding the protection of creations using AI under patent law, and summarized the discussions at the expert committee based on these results. It is something. As a result of public information research, domestic and international questionnaires, and interviews, issues were identified, such as whether the expanded use of AI would have an impact on patent examination practices.

Based on these considerations, a summary of the results of the committee's discussions among experts is as follows.

・At present, this research study has not found any particular circumstances that require an immediate change in protection under patent law due to the impact of the use of AI in the process of creating inventions.

- On the other hand, since AI-related technologies may develop even more rapidly in the future, it is necessary to continue to closely monitor technological developments and consider appropriate ways to protect inventions as necessary.

Based on the results of this research, the Japan Patent Office will continue to consider how creations that utilize AI should be protected under patent law, while keeping a close eye on the rapid development of AI technology.

 

2023 Field-Specific Patent Application Technology Trend Survey Results

The Japan Patent Office has identified Japan's strengths and strengths based on patent information, etc. for five cutting-edge technology themes that are expected to create and expand markets (all-solid-state batteries, quantum computer-related technology, passive ZEH/ZEB, drones, and healthcare informatics). Analyzed issues and compiled a report. As a result of the investigation, the following results were suggested.

・In "all-solid-state batteries," Japan ranks first in the number of inventions with international expansion, and is a technological field in which Japan has strength.

・In the field of "quantum computer-related technology," the number of applications in Japan, Europe, and China is increasing, and competition among each country is intensifying.

・Multiple Japanese applicants are active in "Passive ZEH/ZEB", "Drones", and "Healthcare Informatics"

Regarding all-solid-state batteries, we investigated the structure, cell technology, and installation/module technology related to the positive electrode, negative electrode, and solid electrolyte including the separator layer. The scope of investigation also includes material technology and design and manufacturing technology.

Regarding all-solid-state batteries, in terms of the number of inventions developed internationally from 2013 to 2021, Japanese nationals led the way at 48.6%, followed by Korean nationals at 17.6% and American nationals at 12.9%. This was followed by European nationality at 11.9%, Chinese nationality at 5.8%, Taiwanese nationality at 1.2%, and Canadian nationality at 1.0%. Furthermore, in the ranking of the number of internationally developed inventions by applicant during the same period, 14 out of the top 20 applicants were Japanese nationals, including Panasonic in first place and Toyota in second place, so Japan has an overall strength. It has been suggested.

By technology category, Japan has the highest number of applications for ``sulfide-based materials'' in ``main materials of solid electrolyte materials,'' and it can be said that Japan has an advantage. On the other hand, in recent years, applications for this technology category have been increasing in countries and regions including China. Sulfide-based solid electrolytes are electrochemically stable over a wide potential range and have excellent processability, so they are expected to be used in EVs. In order to relatively improve Japan's industrial competitiveness in all-solid-state batteries, it has been shown that continued research and development is necessary for sulfide-based all-solid-state batteries for EVs, which are the main application of all-solid-state batteries. There is.

 

Survey on the functional level of commercial databases related to patent information

On April 26, 2024, the Japan Patent Office published a survey report on the functionality levels of commercial databases related to patent information for fiscal year 2023.

This research report focuses on patents provided by private businesses with the aim of providing basic information when considering services and functions to be provided in the future through patent information services such as the Patent Information Platform (J-PlatPat). Regarding information services, the results of the following surveys are shown.

(1) Investigation of the functions of commercial databases provided by private businesses

・Investigated the presence or absence of functions provided by jurisdiction (patent/utility model, design, trademark) for the 36 selected commercial databases

・Investigation of commercial database overview, recorded data, list of functions, advanced functions, and implementation costs

・Conducted interviews with 10 commercial database providers

(2) Investigation of advanced functions of commercial databases provided by private businesses

・Investigating what is considered to be an advanced function (for example, a function that is more advanced than that provided by the patent information platform (J-PlatPat))

Regarding advanced functions, for example, the patent information analysis function (IP landscape map display) is mentioned, which can be used not only to create maps for management and business strategy formulation, but also to search for patents etc. directly from the map in conjunction with the search function. It has been reported that some databases have the ability to narrow down searches.

It also mentions an automatic patent generation function, which creates a draft specification when you input an outline of the invention, but it says that it is currently unable to create a complete specification. On the other hand, it has been reported that it is effective when used for drafting consultations with patent attorneys, communication between the intellectual property department and the development department, etc.

 

Information and communications technology strategies for Beyond 5G

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has solicited opinions on the Technology Strategy Committee's (draft) report on ``What an information and communications technology strategy should be towards Beyond 5G.''

This report (draft) aims to improve the effectiveness and effectiveness of Beyond 5G research and development, international standardization, social implementation, and overseas expansion efforts while organically collaborating since the interim report was compiled in June 2022. Discussions were resumed in November 2023 to formulate a new strategy to promote this, and it was created by the Technology Strategy Committee.

In ``Chapter 3, 3.3.1 Support for strategic standardization activities by private companies'' of the draft report, the following is stated in ``(2) Future direction.''

Furthermore, based on the report on how to support international standardization activities, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will provide support for business travel expenses and personnel expenses for specialized personnel necessary for strategic standardization activities by private companies. By building a strategic standardization activity system centered on the "command tower function" in It is important to strengthen the quantitative and qualitative driving forces related to standardization.

Furthermore, in "Chapter 3, 3.3.2 Securing human resources involved in standardization," the following is stated in (2) "Future direction."

Recognizing that it is important for standardization activities to be integrated with the management commitment and business strategy of companies and organizations, we will also utilize the new fund project to support standardization activities for companies that are seriously working on the social implementation and overseas expansion of "strategic products". In private companies, we will strengthen standardization activities based on business strategies and strategic systems for this purpose, and in addition to commitment at the management level, each company will secure and develop human resources, including young people, who will be involved in standardization. It is important to strengthen and expand the In addition, in order for Japan to respond to important standardization activities in a medium- to long-term and sustainable manner, the Beyond 5G New Management Strategy Center will take the lead in gaining consensus among the management levels of related companies and organizations. At the same time, it is important to develop next-generation human resources in a way that transcends the boundaries of companies and organizations, and to promote cross-industry and cross-sectoral initiatives that fully utilize the capabilities of these human resources.

 

 

 

Newsletter translated into English

Results of “Research Study on How Creations Made Utilizing AI Should be Protected under Patent Law”

On April 22, 2024, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) published on its website the results of the “Research Study on How Creations Made Utilizing AI Should be Protected under Patent Law” (Committee Chairman: Professor Ryuta Hirashima), which was conducted as a commissioned research study in the fiscal year 2023.

This study summarizes the results of a survey of publicly available information, questionnaires and hearings conducted in Japan and abroad regarding how creations made utilizing AI should be protected under patent law, and the discussions of an expert committee based on the results of these surveys and hearings As a result of the survey of public information, domestic and international questionnaires, and hearings, issues such as whether the expansion of the use of AI will have any impact on patent examination practice were identified.

The following is a summary of the results of the discussions by the committee of experts based on these issues.

– The study did at the present time not find any special circumstances that would require an immediate change in the nature of protection under patent law due to the influence of the use of AI in the creation process of inventions.

– On the other hand, since AI-related technologies are likely to develop even more rapidly in the future, it will be necessary to continue to closely monitor technological progress and as necessary consider how inventions should be appropriately protected.

Based on the results of this research study, the JPO will continue to study how creations made AI utilizing should be protected under patent law, while keeping a close eye on the rapid development of AI technology.

 

Results of Patent Application Technology Trend Survey by Field for 2023

The JPO has compiled a report on five cutting-edge technology subjects (solid-state batteries, quantum computer-related technologies, passive ZEH/ZEB, drones, and healthcare informatics) for which market creation and expansion are expected, analyzing Japan's strengths and challenges based on patent information and other data. The following results were suggested respectively as a result of the survey.

– “Solid-state batteries” is a field in which Japan has a competitive edge since Japan has the largest number of internationally developed inventions.

– In the field of “quantum computer-related technology,” the number of applications from Japan, Europe, and China is increasing, and competition among countries is intensifying.

– Multiple Japanese applicants are active in the fields of “passive ZEH/ZEB”, “drones”, and “healthcare informatics”.

For solid-state batteries, the structure, cell technology, and mounting module technology related to the solid electrolyte, including the cathode, anode, and separator layer were investigated. The scope of the survey also included material technology and design and manufacturing technology.

In the case of all solid-state batteries, Japanese applicants ranked first with 48.6% of the total number of internationally developed inventions from 2013 to 2021, followed by Korean applicants with 17.6%, US applicants with 12.9%, European applicants with 11.9%, Chinese applicants with 5.8%, Taiwanese applicants with 1.2%, and Canadian applicants with 1.0%. In the ranking of the number of inventions developed internationally by applicant during the same period, 14 of the top 20 applicants were Japanese, including Panasonic Corporation at No . 1 and Toyota Motor Corporation at No. 2, suggesting that Japan as a whole has an advantage.

By technology category, Japan made the highest number of applications for “sulfide-type” in the “main materials for solid electrolyte materials” category, indicating the predominance of Japan. On the other hand, applications from China and other countries and regions have been flourishing in this technology category in recent years. Solid electrolytes based on sulfides are electrochemically stable over a wide potential range and have excellent processability, so application of this technology in EVs is expected. In order to improve the relative competitiveness of Japanese industry in the field of solid-state batteries, sustained research and development on sulfide-based solid-state batteries for EVs, which is the main application of solid-state batteries, is indicated to be necessary in the future.

 

Survey on Level of Functionality of Commercial Databases for Patent Information

On April 26, 2024, the JPO published a report on the level of functionality of commercial databases for patent information from 2023.

The survey report presents the following results of the survey on patent information services provided by private businesses for the purpose of providing basic data for considering the services and functions to be provided in the future on the patent information service “Japan Platform for Patent Information (J -PlatPat)” and others.

(1) Investigation of the functions of commercial databases provided by private operators  

– Survey of 36 selected commercial databases to determine the functionality provided in each jurisdiction (patent/utility model, design, and trademark).  

– Survey of commercial databases for overview, compiled data, list of functions, advanced features, and implementation costs.  

– Interviews conducted with 10 commercial database providers

(2) Investigation of advanced functions of commercial databases provided by private operators  

– Research on what are considered to be advanced functions (eg, functions more advanced than those provided by the Japan Platform for Patent Information (J-PlatPat)).  

As for advanced functions, for example, the report mentions a patent information analysis function (IP landscape map display), and reports that there are databases that not only create maps for management and business strategy formulation, but also have a function to narrow down the search for patents directly from the map by linking it with the search function.

The report also mentions an automatic patent generation function, which creates a draft specification when an outline of an invention is entered, but which currently cannot create complete specifications. On the other hand, it is reported that this function is effective for drafts for consultation with patent complaint and for communication between the IP division and the development division, etc.

 

Information and Communication Technology Strategies for Beyond 5G

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has solicited opinions on a draft report of the Technology Strategy Committee entitled “Information and Communication Technology Strategies for Beyond 5G”.

After an interim report was compiled in June 2022, while coordinating organically, investigation was restarted in November 2023 regarding the development of new strategies for more efficient and effective progress in research and development, international standardization, social implementation and overseas deployment of Beyond 5G, and the draft report was prepared by the Technology Strategy Committee.

In “Chapter 3.3.1: Support for Strategic Standardization Activities by Private Companies” of the draft report, the following is stated under the heading “(2) Future Orientation”.

“Furthermore, based on the report on how to support international standardization activities, the MIC will provide support for travel expenses, personnel expenses for expert personnel, and other expenses required for strategic standardization activities by private companies. It is also important for private companies to strengthen their ability to promote standardization quantitatively and qualitatively by establishing a strategic standardization activity system centered on a “command post function” at each company and by expanding the number of personnel dispatched to focused standardization organizations by utilizing the support of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, etc., as necessary.”

In addition, in “Chapter 3.3.2: Securing Human Resources for Standardization”, the following is stated under the heading “(2) Future Orientation”.

“Based on the recognition that standardization activities should be integrated with management commitment and business strategies of companies and organizations, it is important for private companies to strengthen standardization activities based on their business strategies and strategic frameworks for these activities, including the use of support for standardization activities for companies that are serious about social implementation and overseas deployment of “strategic products” under the new fund project. It is also crucial for private companies to strengthen and expand their efforts to secure and foster human resources involved in standardization, including young people , in addition to having commitment at the management level. Moreover, in order for Japan to respond to important standardization activities in a sustainable manner over the medium to long term, it is important for the Beyond 5G New Management Strategy Center to take the lead and develop the next generation of human resources in a manner that transcends the boundaries of companies and organizations, and to promote cross-industry and cross-sectoral initiatives that fully utilize the capabilities of these human resources, while obtaining consensus from the management of the companies and organizations involved.”

 

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