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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY EDUCATION – JAPAN’S EXPERIENCES FOR VIETNAM

LL.M . NGUYEN NHU QUYNH*- Hanoi Law University, Vietnam

Today, Vietnam has paid a special attention to intellectual property education (IPE). Our nation has exercised the first steps in fostering IPE. IPE, therefore, is still a new area for the Vietnam’s Government policy-makers and academic institutions and we faces many difficulties in the process of finding the effective solutions for the issue of IPE. Meanwhile, in regard to IPE, Japan has obtained many achievements that is worthy for other countries including Vietnam to learn and follow. With this article, the author focuses on Japan’s the most valuable experiences of IPE for Vietnam. The results of Japan’s IPE are drawn and the situation of IPE in Vietnam is also referred to from comparative perspective in the article.

First, the role of IPE must be fully recognized

Intellectual property (IP) has crucial role to all aspects of our daily life including economic, cultural and social aspects of the nation and the world and has been increasingly recognized as an effective tool for development and the creation of wealth. Thus, it is necessary to teach and train IP for all people. In addition to a common realization of the necessity of IPE, Japan has also attached IPE to human resource development and the role of IP lecturers in making policy. It is stated that, in Japan, “[there] is a the growing need to increase and develop IP professionals and experts who will provide advanced and specialized services, as private companies move in the direction of IP intensive management of technology to obtain success in the competitive global economy… In essence, both industry and higher education have come to place a growing emphasis on teaching IP and developing IP human resources, as Japan is now moving toward becoming a knowledge-based society.”[1] Additionally, the Japanese Government maintains that “[the] making of IP policies is no longer a matter exclusive to the government. The government alone cannot respond to the rapid and deep changes in business and technology. Thus, the government is now expecting IP lecturers to participate in the process of formulating IP policies.”[2]

The full recognition of IPE role is Japan’s precious experience for Vietnam to learn. In Vietnam, there is a strong demand for human resources in the area of IP. We lack seriously knowledgeable human resource about IP, e.g. IP lecturers, IP lawyers. There is also a need for more IP practitioners and policy advisors who understand the multiple dimensions and implications of IP. Vietnam, therefore, should look at IPE in connection with human resource development. In addition to that, the government should consider IP lecturers as an important force in making policies[3]. The reason is that IP issues not only concern business and technology but are also connected to the law, the environment, public health, ethics and other areas. A global perspective is required to define comprehensive IP policies from the view-points of political science and public administration. IP lecturers should play an important role, not only in lecturing about law but in making policies.

Secondly, it is necessary to determine the purposes of IPE

Addition to a full recognition of IPE role, the IPE practice in Japan proves that the determination of IPE purposes as a direction for the actions of all related persons and organizations in IPE. In Japan, IPE is to aim at: implementation founding of an IP Nation, creativity education, science & technology education, and legal education.

 

Thirdly, State agencies should participate actively in IPE

The Vietnamese State agencies have conducted the activities for the purpose of fostering IPE. Particularly, the National Assembly and the Government has promulgated legal documents with some provisions of IP training[4]. The State agencies, at the same time, have carried out other specific activities to speed up IP knowledge and improve IP awareness, e.g. conducting IP training for staff; establishing IP organizations; teaching IP lectures in some universities. These for IPE in Vietnam. However, it has still been absent a separate legal document on IPE in Vietnam and the present IPE-related provisions are general, unclear causing the deficiency of legal basis and the Government support for IPE.

The Japan’s experiences show that: State agencies’ actions play a very crucial part in obtaining achievement in the field of IPE. The Government must take part in IPE by both issuing documents and doing practical actions for promoting IPE.

The Japanese government has made many different types of documents to foster IPE, namely policy[5], law[6], promotion plan[7]. In other words, there are directive, binding, and encouraging documents. Moreover, in regard to contents, these documents of IPE promotion are very comprehensive and feasible. Each document focuses on a specific matter[8] but is put in conjunction with other documents. Contents of the IPE promotion documents are clear and specific[9].

Together with issuing the system of IPE promotion documents, Japanese Government (in which must be noted about the actions of JPO/JIII) also takes part directly in IPE by doing many practical actions, e.g. distribution of textbooks, organizing IP seminars, support for universities to carry out interdisciplinary research and education and the publication of the result, invitation of researchers overseas to Japan, sending Japanese researchers abroad, assisting the Institute of Intellectual Property of Japan in holding an advanced course to train future policy makers, attended by young, promising professionals including lawyers, private firm IP staff and patent examiners.

It is very impressive that the Japanese Government draws up a road map to an IP based society through IP teaching and IP research and thereafter to make a list of concrete actions to be taken by each stake-holder.

Fourthly, IPE is important for general public and necessary to apply for all levels of study

In Vietnam, IPE is mainly for researchers, specialists in IP or law and IP is taught just for law as well as technology students as a compulsory subject at university level. In a completely different way, IPE is for all people in society and taught from kindergartens to universities in Japan. These contents are provided in Article 21 of Basic Law on Intellectual Property 2002[10] and IP Promotion Plan 2005 (No. 1)[11]. This is a valuable lesson for Vietnam. Since the impact of IP has become so crucial to all aspects of our daily economic, cultural and social life, countries should take an interdisciplinary approach to IP education. If the IP system does not create IP rights and assets which are actually used and transacted, its contribution to society is limited. This is why we need more people who can assist and promote the creation, protection and utilization of IP. Vietnam, moreover, should expand and strengthen IP teaching from kindergartens to university level. This model of IPE helps to bring up and develop IP mind in a proper way and more effectively enforce IP rights.

Fifthly, IPE must be suitable for each type of IP learner

In order to obtain successes in IPE, we also learn from Japan that purposes, contents, and methods for IPE must be carefully considered for being suitable to each type of specific IP learner. For example, in order to build the appropriate programs of IPE, Japan has been clearly determined the training purposes for each type of IP learner as follows[12]:

  • Kindergartens: importance of environment and sense of empowerment should be fostered; sense of independence is developed; experiences are extremely important for creativity.
  • Elementary schools: understand the importance of IP; grasp the importance of creation and presentation by one selves; general understanding of IP rights.
  • Junior high schools: understand that IP makes the society more affluent; understand the importance of experiences on creation and presentation by one selves; understand more the contents of IP rights.
  • High schools: understand that IP system circulates the IP; understand that IP is valuable when it is utilized.
  • Universities and graduate schools: for the entire university and graduate school students, understanding of the intellectual property system and laws as literacy; for the students and graduate school students in science and engineering, experiential learning and lectures, presentation, obtaining IP rights, experiential learning for utilization (heuristic engineering); development of lawyers who are strong in IP at the law schools; development of specialists for IP at professional school of IP; development of managers who understand IP (science and technology) at State agencies of technology.

Finally, IPE must be performed with a practical approach

Methods for IP training is one of the biggest difficulties Vietnam faces with now. In term of this issue, a Japan’s experience which Vietnam should learn is the attachment of practice to IPE. For example, science club and program of IP Olympic Games should be gradually organized for the young; practical trainings should be held for students; with SMEs, it is not necessary to concentrate on academic things but reality, i.e. global competition[13]. This education method helps learners to understand more easily the complicated IP field. It also, moreover, assists IP learners can quickly solve IP issues arising in practice.

Japan is a fore-runner and has reaped significant results in the field of IPE. The Japan’s above-mentioned experiences are valuable for Vietnam to learn. However, these lessons must be appropriately applied in the context of Vietnam and require efforts of every people in the society.

*Nguyen Nhu Quynh is a lecturer of Civil Law and IP Law at the Faculty of Civil Law, Hanoi Law University, Vietnam. She graduated LL.M at the Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden in 2002, and she is currently a PhD student of the joint training program between Sweden and Vietnam. Both her theses of the master and doctor degree are on IP law. Nguyen Nhu Quynh also participated in the training course for IP trainers organized by JPO from July 5 to July 26, 2006.


[1] Shigeo Takakura, Government Support Required in IP Education and IP Research, at http://www.wipo.int/academy/en/meetings/iped_sym_05/papers/pdf/takakura_paper.pdf (last visit September 29th, 2007).

[2] Ibid.

[3] In Vietnam, almost university professors just deliver lectures and are legal advisors. The Government rarely asks them to contribute to the process of making policies.

[4] Article 8.4 The Law on Intellectual Property 2005; Article 30 Decrees No. 103/2006/ND-CP; Article 5.4 Decree No. 100/2006/ND-CP.

[5] For example, Declaration of Japan as an IP Nation by Prime Minister J.Koizumi in 2002.

[6] For example, Basic Law on IP in 2002.

[7] For example, IP Promotion Plan in 2004 and IP Promotion Plan in 2005.

[8] For example, IP Promotion Plan 2004 (No.2) is about promoting the creation of IP in universities, IP Promotion Plan 2005 (No. 2) deals with the issue of developing human resources and raising public awareness.

[9] For example, Chapter 5 of IP Promotion Plan 2005 (No. 2) submits some specific solutions of human resource development and public awareness raise.

[10] “The government shall take measures needed to disseminate knowledge concerning IP through promoting education on and learning of IP and public activities concerning IP, in order to realize a society in which IP is estimated through the people’s widespread understanding of and interest in IP.”

[11] “Promoting education on IP mind from kinder garden.”

[12] See: Masayoshi SUMIDA, IPE at higher education in Japan; and Hiroaki KAGOHARA, IPE in schools, the documents for JPO/IPR training course for IP trainers in 2006.

[13] See: Toshio NISHIZAWA, IPR Education: Medium and Small Size Enterprises, the document for JPO/IPR training course for IP trainers in 2006.

SOURCE: JPO-2007

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