Facts & Basics
Timely Examination Results
- Upon request, the JPO conducts accelerated examinations for patent, design and trademark applications that meet certain requirements.
- As for patent applications, super accelerated examination is also available.
- The accelerated examination system allows you to acquire IP rights timely in line with your business operation schedules and global business expansion strategies.
Designs: Features and Advantages
- The JPO is one of the leading IP offices that fully conduct substantive examinations on design applications, providing stable design rights with a reasonable examination period. Average FA pendency is about 6 months. The invalidation rate per design registration is only 0.01% in 2020.
- Since 2015, when Japan joined the Hague Agreement, the number of design applications filed with the JPO from abroad has been on the rise and doubled in the past six years. So has the number of non-resident applicants.
- A growing number of imported goods are seized at customs due to design right infringement. Design right holders, including overseas companies, are actively utilizing their rights in Japan.
- The Design Act has been fundamentally revised in 2019. For an overview of the revised Design Act, refer to the following.
- Non-Traditional Trademarks are the subject of protection.
- The applicant who filed the application first will be entitled to register a trademark.
- Examiners conduct examination of absolute and relative grounds for refusal.
- An exclusive right to a trademark is granted after the mark is registered.
Collective Examinations for IP Portfolio Supporting Business Strategy
- The JPO assists you to smoothly expand your business through collective examinations.
- A team of JPO examiners simultaneously conducts examinations on a group of various applications of your inventions, designs and trademarks related to an entire project.
- Through close communication with examiners, examinations will be conducted based on an understanding of the outline of your business project and the positioning of inventions.
The US-JP Collaborative Search Pilot Program
- Examiners of the USPTO and the JPO share search results and provide the initial examination results from both Offices early to the applicants.
- Improving the predictability of the information on the timing of examinations and acquisition of patent rights.
- Sharing of the examiners’ opinions enables to increase the possibility for applicants to receive the same examination results from both Offices and to decrease the burden for applicants to respond to FA provided by both Offices.
- Reducing the burden for applicants to submit Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) to the USPTO for the documents presented by JPO examiners in the initial examination results.
Opinion Exchange Meeting
- In order to provide information on the IP rights system and the JPO measures, as well as to directly capture the user's voice, we have been conducting opinion exchange meetings at the practitioner level with individual companies and industry groups.
- The JPO is also now inviting companies and other organizations that wish to exchange opinions with us, aiming to let more users become familiar with the JPO and the IP rights system. The JPO will respond to your various questions, suggestions, and concerns as clearly as possible, taking advantage of the expertise of JPO staff.
Communication with Patent Examiners in English
- You can request interview with patent examiners at any stage of examination.
- Your agent in Japan needs to participate in the interview (online participation is acceptable).
- There are no restriction on location because of online interview.
Hantei (Advisory Opinion) System
- The JPO renders an official advisory opinion (Hantei) on whether the object product, process, etc. falls or does not fall within the technical scope of the patented invention three months at the earliest from a Hantei request. Hantei system can be used not only for patents, but also for utility models, designs and trademarks.
SEP (Standard Essential Patents)
- The JPO created "Guide to Licensing Negotiations Involving Standard Essential Patents.“ The Guide aims to enhance transparency and predictability, facilitate negotiations between rights holders and implementers (patent users), and help prevent or quickly resolve disputes concerning the SEPs.
- In response to the growing number of judicial precedents involving SEPs around the world, the JPO revised the Guide in July 2022.
- Hantei (advisory opinion) system can also be used for essentiality checks.
File patents, expand your business in Japan
- The speedy and high-quality patent examination by the JPO makes it possible to obtain stable rights with a high degree of predictability, increasing the value of your company's technology.
- Japan has one of the largest markets in Asia and a high awareness of intellectual property (IP) protection, making it a good base for expansion into Asia.
- Having many companies with diverse and advanced technologies, Japan also offers an excellent manufacturing base where you can find partners for developing practical applications of your company’s basic technologies.
Patent Examination for AI/IoT Related Technologies
- The JPO, for the first time in the world, composed and published more than 30 patent examination case examples that illustrate the key elements of AI and IoT-related inventions to be granted. The purpose is to provide a clear understanding of our examination practices, in particular, in terms of the description requirement and inventive step.
- The JPO inaugurated a Team for Supporting AI Examinations, an internal body in which the respective examination divisions collaborate beyond their responsible technical fields. The team will accumulate and share knowledge on the latest AI-related technologies and case examples of examination results.
Manga Patent Examination Guidelines in English
– AI/IoT fields –
- The JPO released the world‘s first manga-based patent examination guidelines, aiming at bringing our examination practice closer to the people.
- The manga explains not only the characteristic determination aspects of AI and IoT-related technologies, but also the basic concepts regarding patent examinations that are common to all technical fields.
GXTI(Green Transformation Technologies Inventory)
- In June 2022, we released the Green Transformation Technologies Inventory (GXTI), which provides a comprehensive view of GX technologies, and a method for searching patent documents that disclose GX technologies.
- In order to increase their economic and social value, companies advance efforts to disclose how the value of their products and services can contribute toward solving climate change issues. Patent information analysis is considered to be one of the most effective methods to disclose company information about GX-related efforts. It is expected that GXTI will become a useful common asset with which to analyze GX technologies based on patent information.
Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)
- Under the PPH framework, an application determined to be patentable by the office of earlier examination is allowed to undergo accelerated examination at the office of later examination.
- The JPO has the largest PPH network in the world. Selecting the JPO as the office of earlier examination maximizes the options for later examination. By combining JPO’s PPH network and its speedy examination under accelerated examination system, applicants can expect even earlier acquisition of rights with other IP offices.
- A new PPH initiative has been launched with the USPTO in January 2022.
JPO as International Search Authority
- The JPO establishes search and examination results in English in respect of PCT international applications. Applicants who file their PCT applications with, for example, the USPTO or ASEAN IP offices, can choose the JPO as ISA/ IPEA. As search and examination are conducted in English, Japanese translation is not necessary.
- Without the burden of translation, your global acquisition of rights starts here with the JPO by using the JPO’s WO/ISA, WO/IPEA or IPER to file PCT-PPH applications.