OSAKA – The first-ever conference on intellectual property rights sponsored by private citizens from member nations of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation opened here Tuesday with the aim of proposing a user-friendly system for corporate and individual inventors.

Businesspeople, academics and patent lawyers from 18 APEC member economies discussed how they can cooperate to effectively utilize patents and trademarks at the two-day APEC Intellectual Property Rights Business Conference, hosted by the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation.

Minoru Murofushi, a Japanese representative of the APEC Business Advisory Council and chief executive officer of Itochu Corp., said he hopes the conference will become a regular forum to promote improved protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Hiroyuki Mizuno, adviser to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., predicted that intellectual property will be the key for taking the leadership role in the information society, noting that many Japanese and other Asian firms have begun to apply for patents in other countries, especially the U.S.

Zentaro Kitagawa, professor emeritus of Kyoto University and a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Mediation Council, called for constructing an information system and a transaction market for patents and copyrights in the APEC region, so companies will be encouraged to utilize existing technologies.

Although there are limits to what the intellectual property system can cover, Kitagawa said the governments should take measures to integrate into the system such elements as health, environmental protection and energy.

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