A group of patent attorneys on Wednesday asked police to investigate the founder of an amateur inventors’ support group whom it accuses of swindling inventors out of 340 million yen over the past 10 years, the attorneys said.

In an accusation letter addressed to the Metropolitan Police Department, the Japan Patent Attorneys Association holds that the 93-year-old founder of Hatsumeigakkai (Invention Academy) arbitrarily collected the money as fees for copyrighting 170,000 inventions.

The association, which is authorized by the Japanese Patent Office under the International Trade and Industry Ministry, also accused a 34-year-old company president connected with the group.

The patent attorneys claim the founder, who served as president of the group until stepping down last Wednesday, and the company president have been telling amateur inventors since about 1990 that by paying them a 2,000 yen fee they will register copyrights for their inventions.

The attorneys pointed out that Japan’s Copyright Law does not cover inventions, adding that the Japanese government does not require a registration for copyright.

The founder had earlier said, “Careful investigation would show that I swindled no one.”

The Metropolitan Police Department has yet to announce whether it will formally accept the accusation letter. Acceptance requires investigators to compile a full-fledged report to their superiors.

Hatsumeigakkai was founded in 1961 and was authorized as a public group by the Science and Technology Agency in 1972.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.