World Intellectual Property Organization

Joint Statement
adopted by
the WIPO Asia-Pacific Regional Forum
on the Role of Intellectual Property Offices in the 21st Century

Tokyo, September 13, 2001

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) organized, in cooperation with the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the WIPO Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on the Role of Intellectual Property Offices in the 21st Century in Tokyo, Japan, from September 11 to 13, 2001.

Following inauguration of the Forum by Mr. Kouzo Oikawa, Commissioner of the JPO, opening addresses were made by Mr. Oikawa on behalf of
His Excellency Mr. Keiji Furuya, Senior Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Government of Japan, and Dr. Kamil Idris, Director General, WIPO, represented by Mr. Shozo Uemura, Deputy Director General, WIPO.

Heads of intellectual property offices, senior officials responsible for intellectual property policy and administration, and panelists from 24 countries of the
Asia-Pacific region participated in the Forum to discuss various issues concerning the roles of intellectual property offices in the 21st Century. These countries were, in alphabetical order, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines,
Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, and Viet Nam.

The Forum,

Recognizing the opportunities for industrial and technological development as well as socio-economic progress presented by the enhanced use of intellectual property rights through promotion of inventive and innovative activities, domestic and foreign investment, technology transfer, as well as participation in the global economy;

Taking into account the notable trend of seeking global protection of intellectual property rights attested by an increase in the number of patent and trademark applications filed in multiple countries, in particular, ever-growing use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and Madrid systems;

Considering the significance of the roles that intellectual property offices could play in:

  • creating an intellectual property culture among all countries and all sectors of society as well as integrating intellectual property policy in economic development policies and programs;
  • facilitating worldwide protection of intellectual property rights by conforming national intellectual property systems to international standards including the WIPO-administered treaties and conventions as well as the TRIPS Agreement;
  • streamlining intellectual property administration through rationalization of administrative procedures and utilization of information technology;
  • facilitating adequate intellectual property protection of advanced technologies;
  • assisting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), venture businesses, and research and development institutions in utilizing intellectual property systems;
  • nurturing and developing human resources for the efficient and effective protection of intellectual property rights;
  • creating a desirable environment for the enforcement of intellectual property rights by strengthening links with enforcement agencies and raising intellectual property awareness among the general public;
  • disseminating intellectual property information properly to stimulate inventive and innovative activities and thus further creation of intellectual property rights, as well as to activate intellectual property right transactions;
  • providing user-friendly services, including consultation services to enable the user sector to derive the most from intellectual property systems;

Emphasizing participants' readiness to strengthen cooperation among intellectual property offices in the Asia-Pacific region on a mutually beneficial basis;

Examined major issues relevant to the roles of intellectual property offices in the 21st century and highlighted the following:

Protection of Intellectual Property Rights of Advanced Technologies for the Benefit of SMEs, Venture Businesses and Research and Development Institutions

1. the initiatives that could be taken by intellectual property administration to institute national norms and standards for the protection of advanced technologies in light of international developments;

2. the need for setting up efficient mechanisms to assist SMEs, particularly start-ups, venture businesses, and research and development institutions through nurturing intellectual property professionals;

3. the desirability of promoting national, regional and global intellectual property exchange and transaction markets, in view of facilitating technology transfer and licensing, with easy accessibility for the aforementioned entities;

The Benefits of the Global Protection Systems and the Progressive Harmonization of Intellectual Property Laws

4. the increased relevance and benefits of the global intellectual property protection systems such as the PCT and Madrid systems in the global context, , and the reform necessary to face future challenges in sustaining and improving the functionality of the ever-growing systems;

5. the general recognition that the harmonization of national patent systems could enhance predictability and user-friendliness in the acquisition of patent rights;

6. the perceived necessity for exchanging information on patent search and examination among intellectual property offices and rationalizing the patent examination procedure, as well as the call among users for the reduction of patenting costs;

Human Resource Development for the Efficient and Effective Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

7. the need to develop human resources for the betterment of intellectual property office operations in such areas as the modernization of management approaches, the enhancement of capability in information technology and other advanced technologies, and the augmentation of a service-oriented mindset;

8. the desirability for intellectual property offices to make available their expertise and experience on intellectual property issues to other governmental organizations relevant to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, particularly enforcement agencies and business communities as well as to the general public;

9. the request that WIPO increase its efforts, within available resources, to provide intellectual property offices of the Asia-Pacific region and associated intellectual property training institutions with necessary assistance and guidance to facilitate their human resource development efforts as well as cooperation among them;

Policy and Strategy for the Use of Intellectual Property Information

10. the importance of the intensive use of computer networks such as the Internet and WIPONET in intellectual property offices' collecting and disseminating intellectual property information, including the possible establishment of electronic filing systems and Intellectual Property Digital Libraries (IPDLs), with particular reference to positive implications for SMEs in their full use of intellectual property systems;

11. the advantages of linking various intellectual property databases managed by intellectual property offices either through the Internet or the WIPONET;

12. the appreciation of WIPO's efforts to establish the WIPONET for the benefit of intellectual property offices and other users;

WIPO's Response with reference to the Desires Expressed by the WIPO Asian Regional Fora held in the Past

13. the response of WIPO in initiating its activities in line with the recommendations of the WIPO Asian Regional Fora held in the past, such as:

  • the facilitation of global acquisition of intellectual property rights, for which a reform process had been initiated;
  • the study of issues concerning new and emerging technologies, electronic commerce and traditional knowledge including folklore, in relation to which a number of WIPO programs had been initiated;
  • the establishment of a network for human resource development using the latest information technology, as characterized by the WIPO Worldwide Academy;
  • the improvement of accessibility of intellectual property information for private-sector entities, particularly SMEs, later realized in the establishment of the WIPO's PCT gazette database and the SME website;
  • the formation of integrated and coherent programs and activities for the transfer of knowledge to LDCs;

14. the desirability of WIPO taking a proactive role and appropriate actions relating to the points highlighted in this Statement and other challenges that may arise in the future, particularly keeping in view the needs of LDCs.

The Forum expressed its sincere gratitude to WIPO and the Government of Japan through the JPO for the timely organization of the regional meeting, which provided an invaluable opportunity for countries of Asia and the Pacific to exchange views on their intellectual property policy concerns from the perspective of the roles of intellectual property offices in the new century.

The Forum also appreciated the contributions that the WIPO Japan Funds-in-Trust, based upon which the Forum was organized, had made during the fourteen years since its establishment in 1987 for the benefit of countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

[End of document]

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