As previously reported, the progress of open innovation is slow in Japan. However, the government has been actively developing measures to promote open innovation. For example, it prepared “University Factbook” which provides contact information of business-academia collaboration office, performance of joint / contract research, performance of patent filing and utilization, and technology field of patent applications and other information of each university, and also announced the scheme of “Innovation Management Hub” which sets up a proven TLO to assist technology transfer for local universities.
A recent noteworthy measure is the development of “IP asset platform” to match domestic and international needs with Japanese IP assets such as technology seeds, which was unveiled in Intellectual Property Strategic Vision published on June 12, 2018.
The government is planning to bring needs (problems to be solved) and seeds (technologies, data, talent and organizations) together in this platform, especially focusing on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The users will be required to register in order to join the platform. In addition, intermediate agents will be allowed to join the platform. The government is expecting them to play a role in facilitating transactions to create new businesses. Also, in order to attract small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), the government is planning to connect this IP asset platform with an SME support platform which provides access to various services for SMEs.
I have often had trouble finding the right person for a specific technical challenge. So, building such a platform is a good idea. The detailed system design of this platform is not disclosed yet. But hopefully, it will provide a good user interface to search technologies, patents, experts, and challenges as well.
For the time being, intermediate agents would play an import role to settle a transactions on this platform. However, eventually, artificial intelligence may help optimal matching. Furthermore, we may become able to invest in or donate to solutions for a specific challenge via this platform in the future, though it’s just my imagination.