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Home > About JPO > Organization > The Role of the Japan Patent Office

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The Role of the Japan Patent Office

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The Japan Patent Office is engaged in the following activities to meet user needs.

The industrial property rights system—the collective name for the patent, utility model, design and trademark systems—is designed to protect intellectual creations, such as inventions, designs and trademarks, to ensure their effective use, and to contribute to industrial development. The system, administered by the JPO, has become increasingly important for Japan in its quest to promote the progress of industrial technology and improve its people’s lives in the 21st century.

As an agency made up of the General Affairs Department, the Trademark, Design and Administrative Affairs Department, the First to Fourth Patent Examination Departments, and the Appeals Department, the JPO is active in its efforts to boost Japanese industry, including: 1) appropriate granting of industrial property rights, 2) drafting of industrial property-related measures, 3) promotion of international harmonization and assistance to developing nations, 4) reviews of the industrial property rights system, 5) implementation of support measures designed for SMEs and universities, and 6) improvement in industrial property-related information services.

(1) Appropriate granting of industrial property rights

After receiving patent and other applications from across the world, the JPO carries out strict examinations from a technical and legal standpoint, and determines whether the applicants are entitled to be granted exclusive rights. If an appeal is made against the examination results, the Appeals Department, the body authorized to act as the court of first instance in lieu of the district courts, examines the case according to the strict proceedings under the Code of Civil Procedure.

(2) Drafting of industrial property-related measures

In its mission to help Japan become an intellectual property-based nation and lead the way to the future, the JPO actively encourages the planning of industrial property-related measures. Major examples of such measures are: 1) prompt and sound granting of rights, 2) provision of an IP infrastructure that allows businesses to facilitate their global operations, 3) promotion of SMEs and universities’ effective use of IP, 4) regional brand building, and 5) anti-counterfeiting measures.

(3) Promotion of international harmonization and assistance to developing nations

The JPO aims to improve the conditions surrounding the industrial property rights system so as to move the system toward international harmonization and facilitate Japanese applicants’ acquisition and use of rights overseas. To achieve these goals, the JPO is actively involved in international activities, such as trilateral co-operation with the USPTO and EPO, IP5 co-operation together with China and South Korea, cooperation with developing nations in the areas of examination and human resources development, promotion of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program, and tougher implementation of anti-counterfeiting and piracy measures.

(4) Review of the industrial property rights system

The JPO makes revisions to relevant legislation, including the Patent Act and the Trademark Act, and reviews examination guidelines, where necessary, based on planned industrial property-related measures and in line with the outcome of international negotiations.

(5) Implementation of support measures designed for SMEs and universities

The JPO is active in a variety of efforts to promote the effective use of industrial property rights encompassing a broad range of sectors, including SMEs and universities. These efforts include fee reductions, support to promote the effective use of IP, assistance to strengthen the IP management system, and promotion of industry-university-government cooperation.

(6) Improvement in industrial property-related information services

In order to accommodate a wide range of user needs, the JPO works to expand its services to offer industrial property-related information. As a part of this effort, it makes available Internet-based gazettes and gazettes on DVD-ROM, and delivers information through the Industrial Property Digital Library.

[Last updated 14 June 2011]