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PCT

 10-1. How can I have my PCT international application entered into the national phase in Japan?

(i) Time limit for having your PCT international application entered into the national phase in Japan

The time limit for having your PCT international application entered into the national phase in Japan is 30 months from the priority date.

In order to have your PCT international application entered into the national phase in Japan, you have to submit Japanese translations of the description, claims, drawings (when explanatory text is included in the drawings) and an abstract of your PCT international application to our office within 30 months from the priority date and special transmittal form (form No.53) is available for such submission.

This 30-month time-limit is referred to as the "time limit for submitting national documents" (see the WIPO´s "PCT Applicant´s Guide (PDF:119KB) (External link)").

However, if you submit Form 53 anytime within two months prior to the expiration of the "time limit for submitting national documents" (i.e. during the period from the beginning of the 29th month to the end of the 30th month from the priority date), you may still submit the translations within two months from the date on which you submitted Form 53. This is called the“special time limit for submitting translations”. If the translations have not been submitted to our Office within the time limit, your PCT international application will be deemed to have been withdrawn* in Japan.

*A PCT international application that has been deemed to have been withdrawn in Japan can be reinstated when you have a justifiable reason for not submitting the translations within the prescribed period mentioned above, i.e. where the Patent Office finds that your failure to comply with the time limit occurred in spite of due care required by the circumstances having been taken. In other words, you can submit the translations within two months after the date on which the justifiable reason ceased to exist, as long as this is done within one year from the original deadline. I doing so, you are required to submit a document called a Statement of Reasons for Restoration indicating the justifiable reason.

(ii) National fee (as of April 1, 2016)

The fee is JPY 14,000 (to have your application entered into the national phase in Japan).

Please note

The Japan Patent Office does not accept direct payments by any means from applicants/persons residing outside Japan, including payments by bank transfers, credit cards, or checks. The payment has to be made by an appointed representative either residing or domiciled in Japan such as a patent attorney.

(iii) Representative

In principle, under Article 8 of the Patent Act, most all procedures cannot be conducted by non-residents directly with our office but have to be conducted by an appointed representative residing or domiciled in Japan. However, under Article 184-11(1) of the Patent Act there is an exception for Form 53, and non-residents can submit it directly, without the need of appointing a representative in Japan.

However, you must appoint your representative in Japan and notify the JPO of that, along with submitting the power of attorney, within three months after the "time limit for submitting national documents" or the "special time limit for submitting translations" (if applicable) have expired.

* In addition, if you file a request for examination before the "time limit for submitting national documents" or "special time limit for submitting translations" has expired, you have to appoint your representative in Japan and notify the JPO of that, along with submitting the power of attorney, within three months after you filed the request for examination.

If you do not notify the JPO of the appointment of your representative within the above-stated period, you will be notified of that effect and be able to notify the JPO of that within two months from the date of the JPO’s mailing of the notice. If you do not notify the JPO of the appointment of your representative within the two-month period, your PCT international application will be deemed to have been withdrawn in Japan*

* A PCT international application that has been deemed to have been withdrawn Japan can be reinstated when you have a justifiable reason for not notifying the JPO of the appointment of your representative in Japan within the two-month period mentioned above, i.e. where the Patent Office finds that your failure to comply with the time limit occurred in spite of due care required by the circumstances having been taken. In other words, you can notify the JPO of the appointment of your representative in Japan within two months after the date on which the justifiable reason ceased to exist, as long as this is done within one year after the two-month period mentioned above expired. In doing so, you are required to submit a document, called a Statement of Reasons for Restoration indicating the justifiable reason.

(iv) How to submit documents to our Office

You may submit Form.53 directly to our Office by postal mail service. The mailing address is as follows:

Japan Patent Office

3-4-3, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8915, Japan

There is an electronic online system for entering the Japanese national phase, however, the system is available only for those applicants or representatives in Japan who have carried out the necessary registration proceeding at the JPO in advance.

Please note that the documents for entering in to the national phase have to reach our office by the "time limit for submitting national documents". In other words, this means within thirty (30) months from the priority date or “special time limit for submitting translations”, if applicable*.

*You cannot submit Form 53 by e-mail or fax.

(v) Time limit for requesting examination

For your PCT application that has entered into the national phase in Japan, you have to submit a request for examination, using Form No.44, This must be done through your representative within three years of the international filing date of your PCT international application.

To find out about the fees you need to pay to request an examination, please refer to FAQ 4-1: "How much are the fees?"

Patent fees are the same for both international and national applications:

Please also see FAQ 4-1: "How much are the fees?" for this also.

(vi) Others

Please refer to “How to advance PCT international applications into the national phase in Japan” and the "PCT Applicant´s Guide" on the WIPO website for details on relevant procedures.

http://www.wipo.int/pct/guide/en/gdvol2/annexes/jp.pdf (PDF:124KB) (External link)

 10-2. How can I acquire rights in Japan sooner by utilizing the PPH program for PCT applications?

After your PCT application enters the national phase in Japan, you will have to request for accelerated examination under the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program after submission of an examination request until starting of the substantial examination.

In case of PCT application, you can apply for accelerated examination by using positive results of a written opinion prepared by the certain International Searching Authority (WO/ISA), a written opinion prepared by the certain International Preliminary Examining Authority (WO/IPEA) or an international preliminary examination report prepared by the certain International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPER/IPEA).

For detailed information about the PPH program, which uses PCT international work products, please refer to the following URL.

http://www.jpo.go.jp/torikumi_e/t_torikumi_e/pph_pct/pct_e.htm

Furthermore, you can apply for accelerated examination under the PPH program, using patentable result in the certain "Office of Earlier Examination (Office of First Filing)" or "designated countries".

For your reference, please also see FAQ 6-12: "What can I do to acquire rights in Japan sooner by using the PPH program?"

If you want to know how you can have your PCT application entered into the national phase in Japan, please refer to FAQ 10-1: "How can I have my PCT international application entered into the national phase in Japan?"

 10-3. Can the Japan Patent Office restore my priority right as the designated office?

In accordance with PCT Rule 49: 3.2 (h), the Japan Patent Office has informed the International Bureau (IB) about the incompatibility between PCT Rule 49:3.2 and Japanese domestic law. As a result, it is not possible for the JPO to restore your priority right, even if you request for it.

In addition, the JPO has also notified the IB in accordance with PCT Rule 49: 3.1(g). Therefore, the Japan Patent Office as a designated office does not have the authority to restore the right of priority given by a receiving office.

Please refer to “PCT Reservations, Declarations, Notifications and Incompatibilities” on the WIPO website for further information:”

http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/reservations/res_incomp.html (External link)

 10-4. When are unexamined PCT applications, which have entered into the national phase of Japan, published?

The dates on which unexamined PCT applications are published will differ depending on the details of the PCT applications, the stage in which the applications are in terms of the application process, limitations in the capacity of the medium used, e.g. DVD-ROM , and other factors. However, the following provides a rough estimate of the anticipated schedule.

・Approximately two years after patent gazettes/PCT applications are published*1

・Approximately two years after domestic patent gazettes/PCT applications have been republished*1

*1 Depending on the capacity of the DVD-ROM used, the period may vary by about two months, either earlier or later. Furthermore, the reason it takes more time to publish PCT applications compared to patent gazettes is due to the restriction in Article 23 of the PCT stating that publications are to be “30 months from the priority date” when entering the national phase.