The Japan Patent Office will build a database of overseas patent information on the Internet of Things (IoT) on a category basis, a source familiar with the matter revealed on Feb. 19. It will start discussions with its overseas counterparts from regions and countries such as Europe, the U.S., China, and South Korea in Geneva within the week with an eye on launching the database as early as January 2019. It aims to help patent applicants reduce the time and cost of searching for IoT technologies that have already been granted patents overseas and encourage Japanese firms to expand their business overseas.
Although there is already a system for searching for patent information overseas, there has been no database specializing in IoT technologies. As a result, companies have been forced to spend huge amounts of time searching for information. The Japan Patent Office called on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), of which 189 countries are members, to jointly create an IoT database covering almost all the countries in the world, and consultations will start soon.
The IoT database will allow users to view free-of-charge, country-by-country information on technologies for which patent applications were submitted 18 months ago and technologies that have been already granted patent rights. Japanese users will be able to access the database via the Japan Patent Office’s website from their home and office computers.
The information will be searchable based on business categories, such as manufacturing and telecommunications. This will allow companies to check in advance if technologies for which they want to apply for patents overseas have already acquired rights. The database will accumulate information on a real-time basis from Japan, Europe, the U.S., and other countries. (Abridged)