Francis Gurry led WIPO as Director General from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2020.

WIPO Director General Visits Japan, Meets Ministers, Other Senior Officials and Leaders from Private Industry

February 20, 2020

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry made an official visit to Japan and met with senior government officials and industry leaders, with discussion points that included bilateral relations and the significant impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data on innovation and the intellectual property (IP) system.

In talks with Ministers and other senior officials, the Director General welcomed Japan’s commitment to multilateralism and its support for the Organization. The Government of Japan and WIPO reaffirmed continued cooperation for the promotion of innovation to support global economic growth and to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On February 19, 2020, Mr. Gurry met Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kajiyama Hiroshi to discuss ways to build on the excellent ongoing cooperation between Japan and WIPO and how to promote innovation for the achievement of the SDGs.

Mr. Gurry also met with Hagiuda Koichi, Japan’s Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Mr. Hagiuda said he appreciated WIPO’s rule-making efforts in the area of copyright and related rights, which resulted in the upcoming entry into force of the Beijing Treaty. Messrs. Hagiuda and Gurry also exchanged views on the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty, which entered into force in Japan on January 1, 2019.

WIPO Director General Gurry meets Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kajiyama Hiroshi. (Photo: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) (Photos on Flickr)
WIPO Director General Gurry meets Hagiuda Koichi, Japan’s Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. (Photo: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)

Mr. Gurry also met Matsunaga Akira, Commissioner of the Japan Patent Office (JPO), and signed a Letter of Intent in support of WIPO GREEN, WIPO’s public-private partnership focused on advancing innovation and international technology exchange to increase the use of environmentally friendly technologies. WIPO GREEN unites green tech innovators and those searching for green solutions, public and private entities supporting climate-friendly tech, as well as experts in green innovation and other relevant fields. Sixteen Japanese companies recently joined WIPO GREEN as green technology providers.

WIPO Director General Gurry met with Commissioner of the Japan Patent Office, Matsunaga Akira. (Photo: Japan Patent Office)
WIPO Director General Gurry met with JIPA Chairperson, Sakuyama Masaki. (Photo: Japan Intellectual Property Association)

Mr. Gurry discussed with Commissioner Matsunaga WIPO’s current process of public consultation on AI and IP and JPO’s policy on the protection of AI-assisted inventions. The JPO and other IP Offices of IP5 grouping exchanged views on patent examination criteria for AI-related inventions.

Mr. Gurry visited Panasonic Corporation, which is one of the top global users of WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty, and a leading supplier of green technologies such as electric vehicle batteries to store solar power electricity.

Panasonic Corporation became a WIPO GREEN partner in 2019.

WIPO Director General Gurry met with Chairman of Panasonic Corporation Mr. Nagae Shusaku. (Photo: Panasonic Corporation)

During his two-day visit to Japan, Mr. Gurry also met with other senior officials and address a conference organized by the Japan Intellectual Property Organization (JIPA), which represents over one thousand Japanese companies who are active users of the global IP system.

“Among many IP policy matters urgently requiring international consultation, AI policy and its impact on the current classical IP system are crucial for open consultation, as AI is such a complex and powerful general purpose technology. Japan’s experience and thoughts in this area should be valuable for formulating the right questions at an initial stage of international consultation on AI policy in the context of IP,” Mr. Gurry said at the conference.