A group of patent experts urged the government Wednesday to speed up reforms under the intellectual property strategy recently drawn up as part of an effort to sharpen Japan’s industrial competitiveness.

The 11-member group, led by Toshimitsu Arai, a former chief of the Japan Patent Office, gave the government strategy an overall passing grade but said the time frames set for specific measures are too late as they mostly target fiscal 2005.

Some measures even lack a deadline and are too vague to allow foreseeing tangible outcomes, said the group, called the Intellectual Property Strategic Forum.

For example, the group urged the government to take steps to enhance the border crackdown on pirated copies of copyright protected products by the end of 2003 at the latest, while the strategy calls for such steps to be taken by 2004.

It also called for specific actions, including revising the Customs Tariff Law, to combat imminent piracy problems, including growing imports from China of farm produce in which patented Japanese genetic modification processes were used, Arai said.

The group was formed in August last year.

In January it presented the government with 100 drastic reform proposals to help protect intellectual property rights.

In March, the government set up the Strategic Council on Intellectual Property with ministers and experts among its members. It submitted the strategy to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in July.

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