President of UK patent attorneys praises Japanese achievements in new technology but claims credit for UK in laying foundations

Published: 27 September 2010
By: Peter Prowse

“As a country, Japan is now the second biggest user of PCT, the international patent system, and Japanese company Panasonic is the biggest single user,” said Alasdair Poore, President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, welcoming on 28 September a delegation of 14 patent attorneys from the Japanese Patent Attorneys Association. “Technological development and patent filings have grown phenomenally in Asia and Japan continues to be a leader.


“But while we recognise and applaud Japan’s recent achievements,” he added, “we should not forget that modern patent law has its roots in the English 1624 Statute of Monopolies. With its patent system, Britain developed its own proprietary technology and commercialised a number of new technologies, including mechanical looms and the steam engine. This was the start of the industrial revolution. And British technology didn’t stop in the 19th century: A study by the Japanese Trade & Industry Ministry - MITI – in the 1980s apparently concluded that 54% of the world's most important inventions were British.”

The group of Japanese patent attorneys are visiting London following a visit to Tokyo by UK patent attorneys in 2008. The delegation is led by Mr Akira Kanoh, Vice-President of the Japanese Patent Attorneys Association, and Mr Takaki Nishijima, Director General of the JPAA International Activities Centre.

Following a series of seminars to update British patent attorneys on recent developments in the Japanese patent system, members of both associations are attending a reception at the Japanese Embassy in London, hosted by the Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Shin Ebihara.

The aim of the reciprocal visits is to encourage collaboration between the profession in Japan and CIPA’s members – UK-based professionals who are generally also qualified European patent attorneys, able to support Japanese colleagues with not only their UK but also their European and international work.

“Both UK and Japanese patent attorneys have a good international reputation,” said Alasdair Poore. “These reciprocal visits give us greater appreciation of each other’s rich heritage in technological development and in effective use of the international IP system.”