New Horizons and an Introduction to Intellectual Property Systems: Perspectives on reviewing intellectual property systems for the future

Author Name KIYOKAWA Yutaka  (Senior Fellow)
Creation Date/NO. September 2008 08-P-009
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A so-called pro-patent policy has been globally adopted by an increasing number of countries since the 1980s and its use is spreading in Japan as well. However, the United States and European countries, who were the pioneers of the policy, have begun to reconsider it.

Meanwhile, the paradigm of the era has changed dramatically with the sophistication of technology and networks such as Web2.0 and the development of open innovation. In this environment, should the pro-patent approach be regarded as the sole policy to be relied on in the same way as before? Should the policy be reviewed? If so, from what kind of perspective should it be reviewed? Contrary to the existing approach of apparently protecting every right for the sake of the word "pro-patent," this paper will examine the principle of intellectual property systems and look at the justification for their exclusiveness in an effort to identify areas for review. In doing so, we will add public (ethics and competition policies) and effective social system perspectives. In particular, in light of the paradigm changes described above, the purpose of the intellectual property systems-the purpose, at least, for Japan at present-is to encourage innovation. Therefore, this paper will focus on the viewpoint of market transactions based on the development of open innovation. (To state the conclusion in advance, this viewpoint will also raise new considerations about the justification of the exclusiveness.)

This paper also presents several proposals for the revision of the patent system as specific examples of the proposed areas for revision.

Meanwhile, any revision first requires an understanding of the current situation. In particular, because a large volume of analysis has been required for the former digital IT equipment industry in terms of the role of the patent system (although patents have a strong relationship with the digital IT equipment industry, the status of the Japanese digital IT equipment industry has unfortunately been deteriorating since the 1990s, primarily because developing countries have caught up in technological terms), the details are explained in the supplement at the end of the paper. (The conclusion about the importance of the patent system has not changed.)