Greetings for the New Year 2017

Happy New Year.
I hope you all have a great new year.

   Today, public momentum is building up to achieve the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Society 5.0 by using IoT, big data, AI and robot technologies. AI and robot technologies that continue to improve themselves through machine learning (deep learning, etc.), such as Alpha Go, which beat a professional go player, IBM Watson, which won a championship in a quiz program, and SoftBank's Pepper, are evolving at an amazing pace. These technologies are expected to contribute to humanity in various ways. A new AI and robot industry is now beginning to emerge, which is expected to be a major resource for solving various problems of humanity, including food and energy shortages and global environmental pollution. At the same time, people are also beginning to discuss issues that experts are warning about, such as the threat of singularity, where AI may outperform the human brain, as well as the risk of AI being abused. There is an urgent need to create an ethical code common to all people around the world so as to lead AI to bring happiness, rather than threats, to humanity by co-existing peacefully with humans and by enhancing human intellect.
   New challenges regarding IP required to achieve the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Society 5.0 are also now being discussed in detail. How do we legally treat the creation and utilization of learning data sets and pre-trained models required for machine learning that provides a basis for the evolution of AI? Do we need to protect such data by IPRs? Issues such as these are complex, involving the intentions of different countries. Nevertheless, we are faced with a pressing need to consider these issues. Serious discussions have also started as to whether to recognize IPRs for objects created by AI.

   Meanwhile, to resolve environmental issues, the Paris Agreement was ratified in September last year by the United States and China, which emit 40 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, and was put into effect in November of the same year. COP22 was held subsequently in Morocco, thereby supporting the advancement of measures for preventing global warming. There will be twists and turns in the future, including the environmental policy of the new U.S. administration. However, how to prevent global warming is a serious issue for all humankind. Therefore, measures will be eventually implemented to provide environmental support (both financial and technological) from developed to developing countries. JIPA has been taking an active part in collaborating with WIPO, including hosting symposiums on the IP System for Environmental Technological Transfer. We will be expected to further contribute to such activities going forward.

   In response to these societal changes, JIPA achieved outstanding results this year through the activities of its 21 special committees as well as 7 policy projects. In our high-priority project to develop IP personnel, we have also developed activities with the aim of adopting 14,000 training participants. I believe we are greatly contributing to the IP programs and personnel training of our member companies.

   Also, last June 3, we jointly organized with Keidanren and WIPO a Global Business Symposium for Business Administrators by inviting slightly more than 80 managers from as many as 43 companies and organizations and made a symposium declaration that Japanese business administrators will take an active part in using IPs most effectively in global industrial competition. On the same day, JIPA signed an MOU with WIPO to continue collaborating closely on an ongoing basis between the two organizations.

   Pioneering innovations are likely to continue to be created going forward. Against this background, we will actively work on important themes, such as building an IP system for the next generation, promoting IP management, changing the Japanese conflict-solving system, and developing IP personnel, in order to overcome the limitations of the existing IP system management. At the same time, we will further develop activities aimed at formulating IP strategies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Creating an IP Vision for the World!
   May I conclude by wishing all JIPA members much success and prosperity in the New Year.

January 2017

Toshikazu Tanaka, Chairperson of JIPA
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