Thursday, March 24, 2016

Honda likely to Release FCV related Patents, following Toyota

On March 10, Honda announced the launch of their fuel cell vehicle (FCV) ”CLARITY”. Honda owns approximately 4,000 FCV related patents, and their executive officer of FCV development Toshihiro Mibe said that they are open to discuss the license of these patents with all auto manufactures, according to a media report.    

This statement must have been influenced by Toyotas announcement regarding the royalty-free license, that is a limited time offer until year 2020, of approximately 5,680 FCV related patents in January 2015, and also Teslas  patent release of their electric vehicle (EV) related 200 patents in June 2014.

Patent release is used to disseminate a particular technology and expand a particular market. Certainly, it helps to lower a barrier to enter the market. However, the market size and trends should be more important to decide if companies enter the market. Many companies may think it is too early to enter the market, when they see the sales forecast chart prepared by the government (See below). The infrastructure development is also important for the widespread use of EV and FCV. 80 charging stations for FCV will be installed in the country at the end of March, while more than 17,000 EV charging stations are available.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Book Scanning Service Provider Lost Copyright Lawsuit

I personally feel that such services should be tolerated and publishers should accelerate digitalization of books to eliminate root cause of such a dispute.

On March 16, the Supreme court of Japan rejected the service providers appeal against the IP high courts decision that a service of scanning books or magazines into digital form for customers who purchased them infringed copyright and granted an injunction and awarded damages.

The IP high court rejected the service providers argument in October 2014 that they just assisted their customers private copying which is allowed under the Copyright Act and the copying entity was a customer.

I dont think that scanning a book, which a consumer purchased, for the consumers private use cause damage to authors and publishers, even when a third party performs scanning on behalf of the consumer. There are many consumers who want e-books, and e-book system can control selling and lending used e-books. So, publishers should sell e-books more actively.

Instead, public libraries which loan even newly-published books at no charge must cause more serious damages to authors and publishers. Im aware of the rising popularity of libraries.

Monday, March 14, 2016

PLT & STLT Take Effect in Japan on June 11

The government of Japan announced today that the government submitted instrument of accession to the Patent Law Treaty (PLT) and the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (STLT)  to WIPO on March 11, and these treaties will take effect on June 11 in Japan. Both Japanese companies and foreign companies will enjoy the benefits of these treaties which harmonize and simplify the patent and trademark application procedures. Japanese patent law, trademark law and related regulations were amended in July 2015 to implement the treaties, and will come in force on April 1, 2016.