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Home> Announcements> News and Updates/Disaster Assistance> Disaster Assistance> Relief Measures based on “Reasons beyond one’s Control” and “Legitimate Reasons” when prescribed procedures are affected by COVID-19

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Relief Measures based on “Reasons beyond one’s Control” and “Legitimate Reasons” when prescribed procedures are affected by COVID-19

April 30, 2020
Japan Patent Office

In regard to relief measures for applicants who are unable to deal with specified procedures due to “reasons beyond one’s control” or “legitimate reasons,” the Japan Patent Office (JPO) usually applies such measures based on its Formality Examination Manual, and “Guidelines Concerning Remedial Provisions Applicable after the Expiration of a Time Limit”(PDF:378KB). Nonetheless, when it comes to relief measures for procedures negatively affected by the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), the JPO takes the following flexible approaches until further notice (e.g. applicants are not required to submit document evidence supporting their reasons).

1. Procedures to which Relief Measures can be granted

(1) Relief measures based on “reasons beyond one’s control”

Under the laws and regulations of Japan, when applicants are unable to implement prescribed procedures due to “reasons beyond their control” within the time limits, they need to carry out procedures to apply for relief measures specified by the JPO. More specifically, please refer to “1. Procedures to which relief measures can be applied by carrying out procedures within 14 days” of II. Statutory Time Limits in ”Handling of Procedures Affected by COVID-19”.

(2) Relief Measures for “Legitimate Reasons”

Under the laws and regulations of Japan, when applicants are unable to implement prescribed procedures due to “legitimate reasons” within the time limits, they need to carry out procedures specified by the JPO to apply for relief measures. More specifically, please refer to “2. Procedures to which relief measures can be applied when conducting prescribed procedures within two months” and “3. Priority claim” of II. Statutory Time Limits in ”Handling of Procedures Affected by COVID-19”.

2. Ways to Apply for Relief Measures

(1) Relief measures for “reasons beyond one’s control”

Applicants or their representatives are required to submit documents by: (1) adding an “Others” column in documents to be submitted and describe on the documents reasons why they have not been able to implement procedures within the time limits; or (2) describing the above reasons in column “Details of statement” in written statements.

(2) Relief measures for legitimate reasons

Please submit documents for procedures that applicants were unable to implement within the prescribed periods and statements of the grounds for restoration, which describe reasons for the failure to meet the time limit.

3. Examples of Reasons of Not Complying with Time limits

The following are case examples in which applicants or their representatives were not able to implement procedures:

  • Applicants or their representatives have been infected with the COVID-19;
  • The offices of applicants or their representatives have been closed due to those who were infected with the COVID-19;
  • Since local governments in regions where applicants or their representatives reside issued an order of or request for restrictions on movement due to the COVID-19, access to the office is severely restricted;

Example for description of reasons (for not having been able to implement procedures)

“Due to the negative effects of the COVID-19, Company XX for which applicants work/Office YY where representatives of applicants work had been closed (and forced to work at home) from ○○, 2020, and the applicants/the representatives were not able to implement their prescribed procedures. Nonetheless, since it has become possible to implement the procedures from ○○, 2020, please recognize □□ as an effective procedure.”

4. Documentary Evidence

In general, when applying relief measures to applicants or their representatives who were unable to implement prescribed procedures within the time limits due to reasons beyond their control or legitimate reasons, the JPO asks them to submit documentary evidence supporting the fact written in their documents. However, only in case they have been negatively affected by the COVID-19, the JPO will not require them to submit any documentary evidence until further notice.

5. Granting of Relief Measures

Except cases in which it is difficult for the JPO to consider that the time limits for procedures have been affected by the spread of the COVID-19, the JPO will, until further notice, grant relief measures for a certain period of time to cases in which applicants or their representatives describe the fact that their procedures have been negatively affected by the COVID-19.

[Last updated 12 May 2020]

Contact details for procedures based on reasons beyond one’s control:

Official Services Management Section, General Coordination Divisions

E-mail:pa0220@jpo.go.jp

Contact details for procedures based on legitimate reasons:

Restoration Section, Customer Relations Policy Division, Trademark and Customer Relations Department

E-mail:pa0c50@jpo.go.jp