03.22.18

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Japan is Becoming Firmer on Patents, Whereas China Goes in the Opposite Direction

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 6:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

That is why Battistelli loves talking about China, which is still far behind Japan in terms of its relevance to the EPO

Japan and China at EPO

Summary: Japan has become less tolerant of patent aggressors and more conscious/concerned about patent quality, which is why the patent microcosm would rather hail China as a role model (even when China’s overall share of patents in Europe, for example, is about the same as tiny South Korea and a lot smaller than Japan’s)

TAKING a little break from the EPO and USPTO, let’s look eastwards again. IAM, with its new format and with more paywalls (now digests as well), wrote about JPO a little while ago. It’s about Japan’s patent office, which has been getting stricter lately (more restrictive in terms of patent scope and harsher towards trolls).

Jacob Schindler, who works for the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), now rushes to pressure/lobby Japan and JPO over changes that are bad/risky for trolls and aggressors. It’s hard to say what’s behind the paywall, but it’s clear that Schindler just gives a platform to (or amplifies) what he calls “patent owners” (IAM calls aggressors and trolls “owners”, as if having monopolies is ownership to be protected by private ownership rights). He calls a smart proposal “controversial proposals” and then amplifies parasites. From the summary:

A new draft SEP document released by the JPO last week is not likely to upend licensing practices – but key stakeholders including Ericsson CIPO Gustav Brismark have welcomed key provisions in the new policy. The JPO said it would issue guidelines on SEP negotiation last September, and asked for industry input. The announcement came shortly after it shelved earlier plans to introduce a mandatory ADR system for resolving disputes over Japanese patents declared standard essential. The controversy generated by that idea, which was branded a form of compulsory licensing, ensured a great deal of focus on these subsequent guidelines.

We can imagine that IAM then quotes bullies/trolls such as Ericsson, but we cannot tell for sure. They’re hiding that from scrutiny.

Meanwhile, the Japan-based Asics found itself relieved in a lawsuit that was initiated/started a year ago by Adidas, which is notoriously aggressive with patents and trademarks. To quote:

Sports brand Adidas has dropped a patent infringement claim against Asics America, the US subsidiary of Japan-based Asics.

Adidas filed a stipulation for dismissal of the patent case, which involved fitness-tracking patents, on Wednesday, March 14 at the US District Court for the District of Delaware. The court dismissed the suit with prejudice the following day.

Adidas filed the original complaint in March 2017, claiming that Asics America had infringed ten fitness-tracking patents. It also brought the lawsuit against Asics-owned FitnessKeeper, the operator of fitness-tracking app Runkeeper, alleging that FitnessKeeper had used the patents in its My Asics mobile app.

Those are likely software patents, which are pretty worthless once an actual court looks into them. Japan ought to watch these developments and adopt laws accordingly. It’s not being well served by patent maximalism and it apparently recognises this, based on the initiative to tackle SEP.

It should be noted that at the EPO they like to speak about China. All the time China, China, China… Team Battistelli is overplaying the role of China* (which still lags behind tiny Japan in terms of applications).

Why is patent maximalists’ media still obsessing over China? Because SIPO is patent maximalism gone chronic? Here is what IP Watch wrote yesterday (helping the patent maximalists from WIPO) and what Managing IP published some hours ago, saying that “China is on course to overtake the US in three years as the largest source of applications filed under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty.”

So what? It says nothing about the actual quality of patents. WIPO counts SIPO patents as equal. WIPO staff cannot even read these.
_____
* “Registration deadline for the East Meets West conference has been extended to 5 April,” the EPO wrote yesterday. But Asian patents do not count for much at the EPO. Battistelli et al love to shout about “China!” while it only accounts for 5% of applications. Japan is at 13%.

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