A press release on the Indian Press Information Bureau has announced that Japan and India have signed a memorandum of understanding on Intellectual Property Rights in Tokyo.

The MoU covers three areas of capacity building, human resource development, and public awareness programs, with each government pledging to draw up annual action plans to implement the MoU.

If you take a look back through many of the Government of Japan’s Intellectual Property policy statements, the three areas mentioned in this MoU are some of the cornerstones of Japan’s IP reforms. Ever since Koizumi’s announcement of the ‘Nation Built on Intellectual Property’ policy in 2002, human resource development, public awareness, and even in it’s unstated form capacity building have carried through to one of the more recent policy documents, the 2006 Intellectual Property Strategic Plan.

The News (Pakistan) article also quotes an Indian Government official:

“The agreement consists of Japan’s support in areas such as the introduction of an electronic application system of intellectual property rights and education of Indian officials in the field,” the official said.

“Helping India in strengthening its policy on intellectual property rights is in the interest of Japanese companies considering investment in India,” he added.

This goes part of the way to answering the question why an MoU on IP with India? It would be interesting to know how much Japanese content IP is pirated in India and whether Japanese technology is also being used without paying royalties to patent holders.

Given Japan’s significant deficit in the terms of trade in copyrights, the government – and the industry – appear keen no prevent any unlawful use of Japanese copyrighted goods including content – just think back to JASRACYouTube incidents.

The protection agreement was Japan’s first with a developing country, he said.