Juni works in the Intellectual Property Department, IP Planning Section.
At first, I was working on patent applications for AI and drones created by Rakuten Institute of Technology and Rakuten Incubation Company, and also gathering information on the patents of our competitors. Now, I am mainly in charge of devising and implementing strategic patent plans. I consider the kinds of intellectual property—including patents and trademarks—Rakuten should acquire and how they can be put to use, then incorporate them into our development strategies. Based on Rakuten’s company-wide strategy and the business strategy for which I am in charge, I help Rakuten’s business by determining the areas in which we should focus, such as filing patent applications and reinforcing Rakuten’s rights by referring to the technologies of other companies.
The Intellectual Property Department, which is led by specialists in the legal areas of patents, trademarks and copyrights, is a newly established division. Nowadays, as Rakuten goes global and joins in international competition, the significance of intellectual property becomes even greater and will require us to have more profound communication with other business units. We all work as a team of specialists, but we also need to thrive as generalists, deepen our cooperation with other departments and obtain trademarks and patents worldwide. In order to achieve this, we are in the process of reforming the organization of the Intellectual Property Department as well as initiating certain changes, such as adjusting our internal system for intellectual property.
My previous job was in the patent consulting business for clients, such as manufacturers. I was mainly engaged in patent searches, so patent application is a new skill I acquired at Rakuten. In addition to accumulating knowledge and experience in dealing with Official Actions issued by the Japan Patent Office during the examination process, I feel that I have especially honed my communication skills in hearing about the status of businesses and development projects from other departments and working together with them to solve problems. I am also improving my understanding of the patent systems and examination standards in the U.S., Europe and other countries, while also actively strengthening cooperation with overseas patent offices and exchanging opinions with patent examiners both domestically and internationally. I will continue to enhance my understanding of intellectual property as well as my negotiation skills on the global stage.
I aim to be a person who can bring the Intellectual Property Department to a more essential position within Rakuten. By promoting education to understand the importance of intellectual property within the company, I endeavor for people to fully understand that while intellectual properties can be a risk to the business, they can also be advantageous depending on how we utilize them. Both the quality and the quantity of the patents are crucial. The more patents we have at both the national and international levels, the more bargaining power we will have against our competitors and the more competitive we will be globally. Many opportunities to strengthen our business remain unexplored in the intellectual property domain. I would like to continue to become a firm supporter of Rakuten’s business creation by maintaining a close relationship with other business units.
What do you like about the working environment and systems at Rakuten?
The fact that they encourage us to participate in external training and expert committees, such as the Japan Intellectual Property Association. It helps me stay up to date on information about the intellectual property industry.
How many cases do you need to handle every year?
The Intellectual Property Department files 100 to 200 patent applications per year. We collaborate with external patent firms to handle a large number of cases.
What do you mainly do on your days off?
I run marathons and climb mountains with other employees who like sports. I typically run 20km on my days off and, last year, I completed a full marathon.
*The affiliation and contents of the article are based on the contents at the time of the interview.
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