Cablegate: Japanese Ipr Officials Positive On ""Gold Standard"" Agreement; Still Not Supporting Wto Case Against China
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHKO #5805/01 2780528
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 050528Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7102
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 8307
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 0852
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 1672
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 9387
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2937
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TOKYO 005805
STATE FOR EB, EB/TPP/IPE, EAP/J, EAP/EP
USDOC FOR NATL COORDINATOR FOR IPR ISREAL AND ITA SEAN AND USPTO BOLAND
EAP/J PLEASE PASS TO USTR IPR, JAPAN, AND CHINA OFFICES LOC FOR MARLA POOR E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2016
TAGS: KIPR ETRD WTRO CH JP
SUBJECT: JAPANESE IPR OFFICIALS POSITIVE ON ""GOLD STANDARD"" AGREEMENT; STILL NOT SUPPORTING WTO CASE AGAINST CHINA REF: A) TOKYO 3873 B) TOKYO 4025 TOKYO 00005805 001.2 OF 004 Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY CDA JOSEPH DONOVAN FOR REASONS: 1.4 b, d
1. (C) Summary: Japanese government and industry voiced strong support for an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in meetings in Tokyo with State/EB DAS Chris Moore on September 21-22, but were not optimistic about changing Japanese laws to meet all elements of the &Gold Standard8 for IPR enforcement proposed by U.S. negotiators. Even if such changes were possible, GOJ officials cautioned that it would take a long time for their bureaucracy to reach internal agreement, delaying ACTA considerably. Japanese industry continues to oppose a WTO case against China on IPR, but the GOJ is still studying the idea and has not yet ruled it out. The Cabinet IP Strategy Headquarters urged State Department and USTR policymakers to press for a U.S. ) Japan IPR agreement by the time of the likely meeting of the President and new Prime Minister in Hanoi at the APEC summit, and, later for a bilateral agreement on mutual recognition of patents.
Strong political support for ACTA
2. (SBU) Yoshio Tanabe, MOFA Deputy General, Economic Affairs Bureau, told DAS Moore that he expected a consolidated ACTA draft to be ready in about a month. Japanese officials all emphasized that the new PM, Shinzo Abe, in his former role as Chief Cabinet Secretary, was both interested and well-informed on IPR issues and supported on the proposed agreement. He chaired many Cabinet Secretariat discussions on IPR topics. But legal obstacles remain
3. (C) Hisamitsu Arai, Secretary General of the Cabinet,s IP Strategy Headquarters, warned that the GOJ would find it very difficult to commit to changing its laws on ex officio prosecutions, statutory damages, and sentencing guidelines. Although he personally supported all of these measures, Arai cautioned that it would take considerable time and effort to try to get those changes through the Japanese bureaucracy. He believes that there would be a substantiation delay if the United States insists on these changes. On sentencing guidelines, the Ministry of Justice is philosophically opposed, believing it goes against the Japanese Constitution, which leaves such decisions up to individual judges. Regarding ex officio prosecutions, Arai pointed out that although these are allowed for trademark goods, allowing ex officio prosecutions for copyright goods has been discussed within the GOJ for ten or twenty years and consistently rejected by the Agency for Cultural Affairs which oversees copyright laws. When pressed on whether Cultural Affairs or Customs had the lead on ex officio authority, Arai did not know.
4. (SBU) As he has in the past, Arai argued that we should not waste time getting bogged down in agreements amongst ourselves, while those responsible for piracy and counterfeiting are busy profiting. If the United States and Japan agree on almost everything else, they should not allow the five precent they do not agree on to stop the process. There are bound to be some differences among countries about which are the most essential and highest standards needed to protect IPR, Arai added. The Europeans may want to insist on having something about geographic indicators, for example. It is more important to set a timetable for moving quickly based on a consensus of the most essential standards that the advanced IPR countries can agree on, Arai asserted. He recommended a broader strategy which recognizes that new IPR issues will be arising ever year because IPR protection is a moving target and we cannot resolve all issues right now.
5. (SBU) DAS Moore explained that it is critical for ACTA to define a new global benchmark in IPR protection and that the TOKYO 00005805 002.2 OF 004 U.S., too, has improved its laws to strengthen IP enforcement. He added that Congress has welcomed the opportunity to engage on these issues, changing laws where necessary. Moore stressed that the United States is keen to move forward quickly, but with an effective, high-standard agreement. As we work together to reach out to other like-minded countries, he said, it will be essential for Japan to consider seriously improvements to its enforcement regime.
6. (SBU) MOFA took a softer approach to these problems with Tanabe saying simply that the GOJ prefers not to have to change its own laws to meet USG proposals for a Gold Standard because it would be both difficult and time-consuming. He thought it would take long internal discussions within the GOJ and talks with Japanese stakeholders. Tanabe urged the U.S. side to focus on the issue of effectiveness of IPR protections and enforcement. Hiroshi Soma, MOFA Intellectual Property Division Director in the Economic Affairs Bureau, pointed out that in an interagency meeting last week including eight Japanese ministries and agencies, the question of making changes in Japanese laws was explicitly left open and the group did not exclude the possibility.
Approaching G-8 and Other Countries on ACTA
7. (SBU) MOFA,s Soma noted that the GOJ still wants to include the G-8 and its member states going forward in discussions of ACTA because that is where the GOJ first raised the issue. In addition, the GOJ wants to keep pushing IPR as an issue within the G-8, stressing the need for countries, including developing countries, to create an atmosphere where innovation and creativity can flourish. Nakatomi, on the other hand, said he discussed ACTA during a recent visit to Moscow and made no progress. He agreed that raising ACTA in the G-8 would be very difficult, if not impossible, because of the Russians, inevitable opposition.
8. (C) There were some nuanced views on engaging the Europeans on ACTA. At MOFA, Soma agreed with DAS Moore that it would be best to concentrate on individual member states before approaching the EU in detail. At METI, both Trade Policy Director General Masakazu Toyoda and Director General Michitaka Nakatomi told Moore that in some way the European Commission, which has jurisdiction in the EU over these issues, would have to be engaged sooner rather than later in the ACTA discussions. Otherwise, there could be a problem with the Europeans down the road. Nakatomi in particular understood U.S. interest in approaching member states first, nothing for example that the Commission could link the whole discussion of ACTA to a discussion of geographic indicators, a prospect which Moore termed a &non-starter8 for the U.S. Both agreed that careful management would be required.
9. (SBU) The GOJ sees the most likely candidates for the first tranche including France, UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The GOJ sees Italy and Canada as countries which should be approached in the second group, but DAS Moore explained potential difficulties with Canada, and pushed for the inclusion of developing countries such as Jordan and Morocco in the first tranche, too. These countries had accepted high IPR standards in their FTA,s with the U.S.
GOJ, Industry Still Wary of WTO case against China on IPR
10. (SBU) Confirming what the Japan Intellectual Property Association (JIPA) told DAS Moore in an earlier meeting, Japanese industry,s initial efforts to demand better IPR protections and enforcement in China had been &disastrous,8 but that the more cooperative approach of the last two years has been &going well.8 To evaluate the situation in China better and to try to quantify the actual damages suffered by Japanese companies, METI is conducting research that will be completed by late September &at the earliest.8 Tanabe explained that the GOJ would base its decision on whether to TOKYO 00005805 003.2 OF 004 join the U.S. in a WTO case on IPR against China on this research. If the GOJ does decide to go ahead with a case at the WTO, the research would be essential to explain to its own industry why such a move would be necessary.
11. (SBU) Trying to explain why Japanese companies oppose confrontation with China, Tanabe said that the people who manage the Chinese operations of Japanese companies tend to be very conservative and traditional in outlook. They believe that resorting to the courts is the wrong way to settle a problem )- that dialogue is the best way to resolve their problems in China. Japanese companies in China also tend to believe that administrative penalties are working well-enough and that more criminal penalties are not necessary. Japanese industry in general is more concerned about counterfeits and trademark violations rather than piracy, Tanabe said. (reft A provides more background on government/industry reluctance on the WTO case.)
12. (SBU) Tanabe agreed with DAS Moore that governments must hold China accountable for the commitments it has made as a WTO member and added that personally he believed in using the WTO as a tool. IPSH Secretary General Arai posited that it is possible that the new cabinet might have different views on a WTO case. (Comment: Arai probably meant that the now confirmed departure of Trade Minister Nikai, the minister closed to China, might allow a political opening for Japan to join the U.S. at the WTO. End Comment.)
IPSH Pushes for Bilateral IPR Agreement
13. (SBU) IPSH Secretary General Arai made another pitch for a joint statement/agreement (refl b) on IPR that President Bush and the new Prime Minister could announce at their first meeting, probably in Hanoi at the APEC summit in November. Arai asserted that it is very odd that the U.S. and EU have an IPR agreement and that Japan and the EU have a similar IPR agreement, but that Japan and the U.S., which are even closer in their approach to IPR, have not yet signed an IPR agreement. Arai added that he would welcome a counter-proposal on the proposed text. DAS Moore responded with interest, noting a similar statement with the EU.
Bilateral Agreement Would Offer Other Avenues for Cooperation on China/IPR
14. (SBU) Arai stressed that a U.S.-Japan bilateral IPR agreement could also improve cooperation on the problems with IPR protection in China. The proposed text calls for close communication between U.S. and Japanese embassies in third countries on IPR issues, and coordination of assistance programs in third countries, for example. China seems to react badly to pressure from individual countries, so it was necessary for the U.S. and Japan and others, including the EU, to act together as representatives of the international community.
15. (SBU) Arai believed that the cooperative approach of the Japanese IPR missions to China had made some progress in the past two years, and that the change amounted to more than just atmospherics. He cited the improvements in the Chinese IPR legal framework and the establishment of regional offices to handle IPR complaints. All GOJ officials and industry representatives agreed, however, that while Chinese officials are much more sympathetic to their complaints and are trying to demonstrate that they are addressing the problems, counterfeiting is still growing rapidly in China.
US-Japan Patent FTA proposal
16. (SBU) Japan and the U.S. need to move closer to mutual recognition of patents to cope with the explosion of patent applications to the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO), Arai stressed. The two patent offices, which account for about 80 percent of patents in the world, TOKYO 00005805 004.2 OF 004 have taken only a small step towards this with the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot which began in July 2006. The IPSH proposes to boost cooperation with complementary examinations between the two patent offices in a first phase, and move towards the granting of patents without examination by the second patent office based on the examination results of the first patent office.
17. (SBU) Arai pointed out that the U.S. and Japan have small differences in their patent laws (i.e. first to invent v. first to file) but that about 98 precent of the examination criteria are the same. Arai proposes that the U.S. and Japan can deal with that two precent of cases domestically while moving towards mutual recognition of patents on the rest. He hoped that the European Patent Office (EPO) would be able to join the U.S. and Japan in this system soon, with a long-term goal of a truly global patent system. Industry strongly supports the idea; only patent attorneys, he quipped, who would have less work, oppose it. The Trilateral meetings of the USPTO, JPO and EPO are making slow progress, but Arai believes that policymakers at USTR and the State Department must now take up the issue because the issue is too important to be left to the technical experts.
18. (U) EB DAS Chris Moore has cleared this cable. DONOVAN ",10/5/2006,"JAPANESE IPR OFFICIALS POSITIVE ON ""GOLD STANDARD"" AGREEMENT; STILL NOT SUPPORTING WTO CASE AGAINST CHINA","Japanese government and industry voiced strong support for an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in meetings in Tokyo with State/EB DAS Chris Moore on September 21-22, but were not optimistic about changing Japanese laws to meet all elements of the &Gold Standard8 for IPR enforcement proposed by U.S. negotiators. Even if such changes were possible, GOJ officials cautioned that it would take a long time for their bureaucracy to reach internal agreement, delaying ACTA considerably. Japanese industry continues to oppose a WTO case against China on IPR, but the GOJ is still studying the idea and has not yet ruled it out. The Cabinet IP Strategy Headquarters urged State Department and USTR policymakers to press for a U.S. ) Japan IPR agreement by the time of the likely meeting of the President and new Prime Minister in Hanoi at the APEC summit, and, later for a bilateral agreement on mutual recognition of patents