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Panasonic, Pasona to set up patent venture

TOKYO -- The Pasona Group and Panasonic in April will set up a joint venture to support small and midsize Japanese companies' patent strategies, sources said on Saturday.

     Many small and medium-size Japanese companies are now accelerating their overseas expansions. The venture will help these companies save on patent-related costs and time.

     Pasona, a big provider of temporary workers, has been commissioned by the Japan Patent Office to conduct so-called prior art searches; Panasonic, the big conglomerate known for its consumer electronics, filed the the fourth-most international patents in 2014.

     The venture will marshal more than 250 patent experts, including those who have done similar work for big corporations. The experts will provide advice on how to deal with competing patents and prior art when filing applications in various parts of the world.

     The venture will also help small and midsize companies cope with possible legal action and protect their patents in sectors ranging from medical products to sundries.

     Many small and medium-size companies cannot afford to employ patent experts. Pasona and Panasonic expect their venture to provide services to 300 companies over the next three years.

     The number of patent applications that Japanese companies and other parties filed with overseas authorities totaled 201,410 in 2013, up 40% from a decade earlier.

(Nikkei)

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