Fair to say Dr. Shuji Nakamura was the one who put all companies doing business in Japan on alert when he sued his employer Nichia Corp in 2001 for reasonable compensation for his work on the blue LED. At the end of the suit/appeal/mediation, Dr. Nakamura was rewarded ¥843 million by the Tokyo High Court. The large number is reasonable when we take into consideration that Dr. Nakamura was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2014 and the growth pattern of the LED industry.
I am sure Japan was one of the countries that China studied carefully when China too considered requiring fairer compensation for Chinese inventors when China amended its Patent Law to include mandatory compensation and remuneration for the inventors.
Interesting to note that Japan is now reversing its course. In recent amendments to its Patent Law (which amendments just received Cabinet approval in March), the Patent Law now seems to give the invention rights to the employer from the outset if the company has the proper in-house regulations in place. While inventors are still entitled to compensation, at least Dr. Nakamura has openly criticized the amendments as following the US example without having the innovative start-up infrastructure of the US to support the inventors. Overall, the new amendments protect more the corporate interests than the inventor interests.
China and Japan are at different stages in economic development, but it would be interesting to observe where Japan decides to go next, as the in-service remuneration discussion continues in China.
China’s State Council Legislative Affairs Office released the Draft Regulations for public comments on April 2, 2015. The ABA IP Law Section and the International Law Section formed a joint task force to provide comments. The comments are available on line at
In addition to the exhibitors with cool gadgets, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council organized a top level forum titled “IoT and the Cloud: Software to Hardware—The Next Step”. ACER founder Stan Shih, MediaTek CMO Johan Lodenius, ARM CMO Ian Drew, STMicroelectronics Executive Vice President François Guibert, and NXP R&D Executive Vice President Hai Wang spoke at the Forum. The interactive session hosted by Executive Yuan Vice Premier Mr Zhang was particular interesting where the panelists went beyond the prepared speeches. Stan Shih stood out as concerned patriot of Taiwan, pondering Taiwan’s position in the new landscape, and the transition of power between generations of tech leaders.