The JPO and METI Propose “Design Management” Strategy

In July 2017, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) established the “Study Group on the Relation between Industrial Competitiveness and Designs”. In order to provide support to corporate management for utilizing designs, the established Study Group compiled a policy to specifically propose amendments such as the Design Act.

Based on the report released at the end of May, the group found that when companies actively invested in the design of their products that development helped lead to the creation of innovation by improving their overall brand power which in turn strengthened their competitiveness. Apple, Dyson, Ryogoku Giho, Mazda, Mercari, and 3M were some examples of companies that embodied investing in the design of their products. Two key features that the Study Group found were that the management team had a design manager and also that design was involved from the highest levels of business strategy development.

In order to support Japanese companies’ approaches to design management the Study Group recommended drastically revising the design laws by simplifying procedures and aiming to expand the scope of protection. Another recommendation was to expand the scope of visas available in order to allow overseas talent to come to Japan. Also by expanding the subsidy system and introducing a tax system, the goal was to spread the use of corporate design nationwide.