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Unused patents to be utilized for regional revitalization

  • 2015-03-17 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: March 15, 2015 – p.2)


 In order to back up the regional revitalization, the government will formulate a framework that will make it easy for local small and medium-sized enterprises to utilize “unused patents” obtained by major corporations or universities. The government will consider financial support for local governments or small businesses supporting organizations when they position specialists as advisors on unused patents.


 The plan will be incorporated into the government’s “Intellectual Property Promotion Plan 2015” to be completed by June and the new framework will be effectuated in the next fiscal year.


 It is presumed that such specialists will be patent agents or former company employees. After asking local small and medium-sized companies what kind of patents they need, the specialists will check an open database to find out unused patents are available and suitable to those companies’ needs. At the same time, the specialists will encourage major corporations or universities to release the licenses of such unused patents and help small businesses commercialize them.


 Currently in Japan, approximately 700,000 patents, half of all registered patents, are not in use. Effective utilization of those unused patents has become a political subject. The implementation rate of patents by major corporations is 35%, which is remarkably low compared with small and medium-sized companies’ rate of 66%.


 There are cases where local companies effectively utilize intellectual property such as unused patents owned by universities.

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