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Japanese Companies Get Big Break in Laos

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TOKYO — Laos’ patent authority has decided to recognize patents on technologies that have been granted in Japan. The decision will allow Japanese companies to skip a slow screening process when moving operations to Laos.

Thanks to the arrangement between the two countries’ patent authorities — the Japan Patent Office and Laos’ Intellectual Property Department — Japanese companies will be able to have their technologies protected in the Southeast Asian country.

 The arrangement kicks in next month.

Japanese companies will only be required to obtain a Japanese certificate proving their technology is patented, Japan Patent Office officials said.

The arrangement follows a similar agreement Japan recently signed with Cambodia. It is part of the Japan Patent Office’s ongoing efforts to obtain cooperation with other countries in the area of intellectual property to support Japanese companies’ overseas expansion drives.

Japanese businesses have been inconvenienced by Laos’ inadequate application-screening system.

An increasing number of Japanese businesses are setting up shop in Laos, attracted by relatively cheap labor and industrial parks that offer tax breaks.

Toyota Boshoku, which makes auto interior parts, mostly for Toyota Motor, and precision machinery producer Nikon are two Japanese companies that have relocated plants from Thailand to Laos.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review