Extracting inventions: Applying and Obtaining Patents.
I work in the Intellectual Property Group, whose role is to serve as a central point for every group at ISL which seeks to obtain intellectual property rights (patents) for technologies borne through research and development. We work in close collaboration with the Technical Management Department in the Technical Center, which manages the intellectual property of the entire SECOM Group.
The first step in obtaining patents is to listen to the researchers' ideas through a process we call "Patent Review." Through comparisons with prior art, we try to clarify the invention and discuss the novelty and significance of the invention.
If we decide to pursue the invention, the next step is to work together with the researcher in preparing documents that explain the invention. We occasionally consult with patent attorneys while submitting a patent application to the Patent Office. However, a patent application is not enough to receive intellectual property rights. It is the role of the intellectual property advisor to continue working with the patent examiner until they are convinced of the novelty of the patent. Only after this stage is complete is the patent decision granted, and finally becomes "intellectual property" after a patent registration payment.
How I became an intellectual property advisor
After I joined SECOM, I worked on a research study for a digital authentication platform covering biometrics, PKI, as well as other authentication technologies. After the conclusion of the study, it was decided that my technical knowledge of "safety and security" in the digital domain would strengthen the intellectual rights for the same domain. Unfortunately, I was unfamiliar with the actual duties required of an intellectual property advisor, armed only with the mandatory training all researchers receive upon entering the laboratory and only enough knowledge of the IPDL (Industrial Property Digital Library) to conduct patent searches in the digital authentication field.
With lots of guidance from other members of the Intellectual Property Group and through on-the-job training, slowly but surely I was able to start working on different issues. I spent six months at the Technical Management Department of the Technical Center, gaining crucial experience in the day-to-day duties of an intellectual property advisor. I am still actively improving my skills and experience through participation in seminars both inside and outside of SECOM.
Although I have experienced every stage of the patent process, each patent application is unique. My career as an intellectual property advisor has just started and I feel that with each patent I learn new things, and the accumulation of such experience is invaluable.
Becoming a dependable intellectual property advisor and teamwork in creating property rights
I believe that having good communications skills is crucial for intellectual property advisors. When a researcher explains their research, they tend to focus on the point where they devoted the most effort. However, an intellectual property advisor is required to inspect the entire picture, not just a specific portion, to extract the essence behind the invention in agreement with the researcher. It is thrilling when a new patent application is created through this process.
I also believe it is very important to be able to provide details of prior art early in the research phase so that research can be planned more effectively. I try to provide this information as early as possible, as it is most valuable (and useful) during the planning phase.
Through these actions, I am aiming to become a dependable advisor, and hope to convert as many innovative ideas as I can into intellectual property rights.