Big in Japan: Riken and patents


Big in Japan: Riken and patents

As the largest science research institute in Japan, Riken has an important role in promoting innovation. LSIPR talked to Akihiro Fujita, director of the institute’s research cluster for innovation, about the place of intellectual property in that endeavour.

Founded in 1917 Riken, an abbreviation of Rikagaku Kenkyūjo (in English, the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research), is one of the largest scientific research institutions in Asia, with around 3,000 scientists working across Japan on research into everything from radioactivity to genomics. It is an independent administrative institution under the jurisdiction of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology, and most of its funding comes from the Japanese government.

As part of its status, Riken is exempt from corporation and income tax, though tax is payable on profit-making operations. On the intellectual property side, Riken enjoys half price examination and renewal fees at the Japan Patent Office (JPO); these reductions must be requested every time the institution applies for a patent.

Akihiro Fujita is the director of the institute’s research cluster for innovation. The cluster has among its responsibilities the transfer of Riken’s scientific achievements into commercial projects in partnership with the private sector. “In traversing the long road between Riken’s basic research and the development into commercial applications, development and funding by private industry is essential,” he says.

Riken, research focus, JPO, Karigreen, Vaam