5

Conclusions

The National Research Council workshop affirmed that intellectual property protection is critical for U.S. companies competing in global high-technology industries and that its importance will only grow in the future. Because of significant disparities between patent systems and corporate strategies in the United States and Japan, IPR has become not only a chronic source of disputes between individual American and Japanese companies, but a trade issue between the two governments as well. Workshop participants agreed that moving beyond a general discussion of the issues to identifying actionable items that might improve the situation for American companies within a reasonable timeframe will be difficult but that the following areas need major emphasis.

ACTION ITEMS FOR HIGH-LEVEL POLICYMAKERS

  • Press for changes in the Japanese system.

U.S. companies face continuing challenges in protecting intellectual property in Japan, and they may be faced with more aggressive Japanese patent strategies in the United States in the future. But the United States also has an opportunity in the current climate to press for desirable changes in the Japanese patent system through bilateral and multilateral negotiations. IPR should be an important element in the U.S. government's Japan trade policy goals, and competitiveness vis-à-vis Japan should be a major consideration as the government formulates and pursues strategies for achieving world patent harmonization. Proposed legislation (S. 149) that would allow designation and retaliation under the trade



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 16
Corporate Approaches to Protecting Intellectual Property: Implications for U.S.-Japan High-Technology Competition 5 Conclusions The National Research Council workshop affirmed that intellectual property protection is critical for U.S. companies competing in global high-technology industries and that its importance will only grow in the future. Because of significant disparities between patent systems and corporate strategies in the United States and Japan, IPR has become not only a chronic source of disputes between individual American and Japanese companies, but a trade issue between the two governments as well. Workshop participants agreed that moving beyond a general discussion of the issues to identifying actionable items that might improve the situation for American companies within a reasonable timeframe will be difficult but that the following areas need major emphasis. ACTION ITEMS FOR HIGH-LEVEL POLICYMAKERS Press for changes in the Japanese system. U.S. companies face continuing challenges in protecting intellectual property in Japan, and they may be faced with more aggressive Japanese patent strategies in the United States in the future. But the United States also has an opportunity in the current climate to press for desirable changes in the Japanese patent system through bilateral and multilateral negotiations. IPR should be an important element in the U.S. government's Japan trade policy goals, and competitiveness vis-à-vis Japan should be a major consideration as the government formulates and pursues strategies for achieving world patent harmonization. Proposed legislation (S. 149) that would allow designation and retaliation under the trade

OCR for page 16
Corporate Approaches to Protecting Intellectual Property: Implications for U.S.-Japan High-Technology Competition laws against countries that provide inadequate IPR protection could prove a powerful tool. In addition, Japan has already committed itself to making “best efforts” to achieve an average pendency period of 24 months by 1995 under the Structural Impediments Initiative. This represents a signficant improvement over the present time period of 6 to 7 years for issuance of a typical patent. The United States should monitor Japan's progress on this front. Achieve a coordinated strategy in the U.S. government. In order to maximize U.S. interests in international IPR negotiations, the U.S. government must develop a coordinated strategy. Because patent and IPR issues are so broad, effective public-sector strategy building will require a great deal of interagency coordination, as well as the focused efforts of the agencies primarily responsible, such as U.S. Trade Representative. Perhaps the most difficult challenge for the U.S. government will be in determining which elements of the U.S. patent system might be changed as part of the global harmonization process. IPR issues engage a wide array of U.S. interests, including large and small companies, individual inventors, universities and the patent bar. Reconciling these interests will require broad consultation and high-level attention. The National Economic Council can play an important role in this process. In addition, the IPR implications of policy changes in other areas, such as a greater emphasis on commercial technology in U.S. government R&D funding and broader government-sponsored R&D collaboration with Japan, need to be understood. ACTION ITEMS FOR U.S. CEOS Work the current system more effectively by making IPR protection and exploitation a top priority within the overall business strategy. Workshop participants agreed on a number of approaches that U.S. companies can use to overcome barriers to achieving effective IPR protection in Japan. U.S. companies competing with Japan in high-technology industries must devote more resources to protecting and managing IPR and to better integrating IPR functions with business and technology development functions. CEO attention will be necessary to spur change in all of these areas. The difficulties faced by small- and medium-size U.S. companies in protecting intellectual property in Japan could also be addressed by U.S. policy. For example, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) or other U.S. agencies could initiate programs providing assistance to help small- and medium-size companies obtain protection in Japan. This might include programs to expand access to translated Japanese applications or a mentoring program to link smaller firms to larger U.S. companies experienced in Japanese patenting. In addition to working the Japanese patent system more effectively, some

OCR for page 16
Corporate Approaches to Protecting Intellectual Property: Implications for U.S.-Japan High-Technology Competition participants pointed to remedies available under U.S. law, such as the International Trade Commission, that appear to be underutilized by U.S. companies. Achieve a unified industry voice for IPR policy priorities. CEOs and other U.S. industry leaders can contribute significantly to achieving policy changes as well. Companies and industry associations most concerned about intellectual property protection in Japan could highlight IPR more aggressively as a bilateral trade concern. On broader issues, greater U.S. industry consensus would help the U.S. government develop a coordinated strategy for international patent harmonization, multilateral trade talks concerned with IPR, and domestic patent law reform.