Sunday, July 2, 2017

Japan's SMEs increases patent applications

On June 29, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) released an annual status report (in Japanese). According to the report, 318,381 patent applications were filed in 2016, that is down 0.1% from the previous year. It has been on a downward trend since 2006.  But hopefully it may almost touch bottom, since it reduces the diminution.

In such a situation, the encouraging news is that SMEs actively file patent applications. In 2016, 39,624 patent applications were filed by SMEs, that is up 10% from the previous year.

I'm expecting SMEs to bring innovation. However, SMEs have limitations in resources, knowledge and skills of intellectual property. Therefore, they need good advisors and partners to develop IP strategy and utilize their IP assets. Also, SMEs don't have enough budget to build a large patent portfolio. A sovereign fund or others should consider to manage and utilize SMEs' good IP assets to increase their international competitiveness.

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