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Home > Laws and Regulations > Review of Laws > archive > Bill for the Amendment of Patent Law and other Industrial Property Laws

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Bill for the Amendment of Patent Law and other Industrial Property Laws.

March 2003
Japan Patent Office

1. Purposes of the Amendment

For the purpose of implementing the "Intellectual Property Policy Outline" (published in July 2002), the following amendments shall be made.

  • Revising the fee for patent services for the purpose of correcting imbalance cost sharing between applicants and promoting appropriate actions in requesting examination.
  • Streamlining the dispute settlement systems for the purpose of achieving prompt and precise settlement of disputes relating to patent
  • Harmonizing the Japanese Patent System with the global standard to encourage acquisition of foreign patents based on the application in Japan.

2. Overview of the Amendment

1. Restructuring the patent-related fee

  • (1)Shift to a fee system encouraging strategic acquisition of patentsBy decreasing the application fee and the annual fee and increasing the fee for request for examination, thereby reducing the total cost per patent application, applicants would be provided with more incentives to make strategic efforts.
  • (2)Introduction of the refund system for the fee for request for examination By introducing a system for refunding part of the fee for request for examination, in case applicants withdraw applications due to the decreased necessity for acquiring a patent after filing the request for examination, applicants would be provided with the opportunity to save costs,.
  • (3)Review of the reduction or deferment of payment of fees
    Experimental and research institutes, etc., which belong to local authorities, would be included in the scope of the reduction of the annual fee/fee for request for examination. Regulations on the case of co-ownership of right would be improved so as to ensure that those entitled to the reduction of fees receive reduction in accordance with their shares.

2. Achieving of prompt and precise settlement of disputes relating to patents

  • (1)Integration of dispute settlement systems on the validity of patents
    In order to reduce the time for dispute settlement and burden on the parties to disputes, the existing opposition system and invalidation trial system, which coexist as systems for disputing over the validity of patents, would be consolidated and integrated into a new invalidation trial system.
  • (2)Achievement of prompt settlement on the validity of patents
    In order to prevent the passing of cases to and from the JPO and the Tokyo High Court, reasonable measures would be introduced.

3. Encouraging acquisition of foreign patents

In order to reduce burden of acquiring foreign patents, the scope of inventions that can be included in a single application (unity of invention) would be harmonized with the global standard. Applicants of international patent applications would obtain an automatic designation of all Contracting States, as agreed upon and the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

3. Necessity to submit the bill to the current session of the ordinary Diet

The present bill includes issues that are mentioned in the "Intellectual Property Policy Outline" (decided by the Strategic Council on Intellectual Property on July 3, 2002) as issues to be submitted to the current session of the ordinary Diet for the purpose of making Japan "an Intellectual Property based Nation". Therefore, it is necessary to enact the amendment as early as possible.

1. Amendment of the patent-related fee system

(1)Revision of patent-related fees

Deirection of the review of the patent fee system

(2)Introduction of the refund system for the fee for request for examination

Flows of a trial for invalidation and an opposition

2. Achievement of prompt and precise settlement of disputes

Present situation Two systems coexist for disputes on the validity of patents at the JPO.

(2)Achievement of prompt settlement on the validity of patents

A long time is required for the settlement due to the passing of the case to and from the JPO and the court.

Reference: Intellectual Property Policy Outline (extract) (based on the decision by the Strategic Council on Intellectual Property in July 2002)

1. Promotion of creation of intellectual property at universities, etc.

(1) 4) b) Handling of patent-related expenses involving universities, etc.
The GOJ will consider how to properly handle patent-related expenses incurred by R&D-type special corporations that become independent administrative agencies and national universities that are incorporated as well as patent-related expenses incurred by existing independent administrative agencies. It will come to a conclusion by the end of FY 2002. (The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and other ministries and agencies concerned)

2. Strengthening of the Protection of Intellectual Property

  • (1) 1) Prompt examination of patent applications
    i) By the end of FY 2002, the GOJ will design a plan for prompt examination of patent applications for the period until FY 2005, during which the number of requests for examination of patent applications is expected to rapidly increase due to shortening of the period of request for examination. By carrying out the plan, the GOJ will start in FY 2002 to promote efforts to prevent prolongation of the examination process and ensure prompt examination while maintaining the quality of examination. Toward this end, while making efforts toward more efficient examination, it will take comprehensive measures to improve the examination system by securing a sufficient number of examiners, outsourcing prior art searches, actively making use of assistant examiners with expertise and reforming the Japanese patent application/examination request systems through enlightening companies. (The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)
  • (1) 2) Appeal/trial system reforms
    i) In order to simplify and streamline the appeal/trial system and enhance its functions, the GOJ will consider the relationship between the opposition system and the system of trial for invalidation, the concept of the system of trial for correction, and the relationship between appeals/trials and lawsuits against appeal/trial decisions, and submit necessary bills to the ordinary session of the Diet in 2003. (The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)
    ii) In order to ensure reasonable dispute settlement, the GOJ will consider ideal court procedures from a variety of viewpoints including measures to achieve dispute settlement in a single proceeding, focusing on the relationship between judgments on invalid patents in infringement lawsuits and decisions in trials for invalidation. It will draw a conclusion by the end of FY 2004. (The Judicial Reform Headquarters, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)

[Last updated 2 April 2003]

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