Japan to close patents to public

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Japan to close patents to public

Legislation that the government plans to submit to parliament to enhance the country's economic security will call for making key patents closed to the public, among other measures, officials said.

The move is part of an effort to counter China's influence on technology and supply chains.

The concealment of patents is related to nuclear technology and other advanced technologies, such as quantum cryptgraphy, which enhances the security of data communications.

The bill will call on the government to look at the possibility of such technologies being converted for military use in foreign countries and limit the disclosure of patents relating to such technologies when necessary.

A patent is usually disclosed to the public 18 months after the application is filed. If a patent is closed to the public, the government will compensate for licensing fees that the patent holder would have earned.

Other pillars of the legislation include making Japan's supply chains more resilient, enhancing technological cooperation between the public and private sectors and strengthening the country's key infrastructure.

In the area of supply chains, the government will ensure that Japan purchases domestically, or from friendly countries, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and raw materials that have become increasingly important due to the COVID-19 pandemic and progress in digitalization.

As early as 2023, a think tank will be set up where the public and private sectors will work together to analyze information on the development of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum cryptography.

A plan is currently being considered to impose penalties for leaks of advanced technologies from the private sector.

The government will introduce a system to look at whether operators of important infrastructure such as telecommunications and financial networks pose economic security risks.

Washington has asked allies and partners, including Japan, to cooperate in the procurement of strategically important materials and the protection of advanced technologies due to tensions between the United States and China.

Japan is aiming to develop technologies that no other country can emulate to raise its international influence after passing the legislation.

Some businesses and the ruling coalition are concerned that stronger economic security could restrict corporate activities. Economic security minister Takayuki Kobayashi, who is in charge of the bill, said the government will listen carefully to the opinions of industry and academic players.