Edited by Jacques de Werra
Chapter 18: Intellectual property licensing in Japan
In general, intellectual property laws give certain persons, such as the author or the inventor, the right to exclude any other party from using certain intellectual property (inventions, trademarks, copyrighted works) in a manner specifically defined by said laws. The use of intellectual property is regulated under the relevant intellectual property laws, such as the Patent Act (“Tokkyo-Ho”, Law No. 121 of 1959) and Copyright Act (“Chosakuken-Ho”, Law No. 48 of 1970)1 and is defined by those laws. Reproduction or assignment of copyrighted works, production of goods that implement patented inventions, or affixing a trademark to products fall within the category of such specified manners of use. All of these activities are typical of intermediaries and are essential and appropriate for giving end users of intellectual property goods access to them and/or products or services embodying them. An intellectual property license is an arrangement between the rights holder (a licensor) and a party (a licensee) in which the former party (licensor) grants (or, is deemed to grant (in case of statutory license) or forced to grant (in case of compulsory license)) the latter (licensee) the right to use the intellectual goods with or without compensation. This being said, the vast majority of such licenses require the licensee to compensate the licensor. Under a traditional intellectual property license, the licensor’s right is based on a specific intellectual property law. For example, the Copyright Act gives the author of a copyrightable work the exclusive rights (copyrights) to reproduction, performance, screen presentation, public transmission, recitation, exhibition, distribution,
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