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The JPO Quick Reads

The JPO Quick Reads - Tips for making the most of JPO's initiatives!

Introduction

The JPO has been aiming to achieve the world’s fastest and utmost quality patent examinations, so that once applicants obtain patents in Japan, the associated examination results will be upheld overseas to facilitate the smooth acquisition of rights abroad. To this end, the JPO has been implementing various measures focusing on maintaining speed, granting high quality rights, and cooperating and collaborating with foreign IP offices.

In the JPO Quick Reads, TAKAHARA Shintaro, Director-General, Patent Examination Department, will simply introduce the JPO initiatives and information mainly about patent examinations!

Updates

International Search Reports by the JPO under PCT (16 Feb. 2021)

The JPO is contributing to the PCT System as the third-largest issuer of International Search Reports (ISRs).

As a competent International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority, we prepare and issue ISRs and IPERs either in Japanese or in English. We perform international search within the prescribed timeframe (deadline compliance rates 99.8%), at reasonable search fees (JPY 156,000 for English ISR as of January 2021), and also with very favorable quality evaluation.

International search at the JPO is beneficial for PCT users at home and residing overseas as well!

Schedule of PCT Fees at the JPO

Release of the Results of the FY2020 User Satisfaction Surveys on Examination Quality (External Link)

Patent Cooperation Treaty Yearly Review – 2020 page 26 (PDF, External Link)

Figure: Number of PCT International Applications filed with the JPO as the receiving office
Figure: Number of PCT International Applications filed with the JPO as the receiving office

Launch of the Team for Supporting AI Examinations (09 Feb. 2021)

The JPO has formed the Team for Supporting AI Examinations ahead of other IP Offices!

In recent years, AI-related patent applications have expanded beyond AI core inventions, encompassing inventions which apply AI to a diverse range of technical fields. AI technology is rapidly advancing and is characterized by its abundant technical terms and extensive knowledge to be aware of. To address these circumstances, the JPO established the Team for Supporting AI Examinations by bringing together examiners from various technical fields. The team will accumulate latest AI-related examination case examples containing various results and also develop examination environment to provide consultations for examiners with little experience in AI-related cases. Consequently, it would contribute to improved predictability of patent examinations for the sake of applicants by maintaining examination consistency and providing efficient, quality examination results.

We drive innovation in AI-related technologies through patent examination.

Take a look:

English translations of decisions (02 Feb. 2021)

Have you ever wondered how the JPO’s Trial and Appeal Department (TAD) makes decisions?

The JPO publishes a manually-translated English edition of trial/appeal decisions that would be helpful and informative in understanding the interpretation and operation of the relevant laws in Japan. On TAD’s web pages, links to the English translations are provided in a concise list which also contains topics (e.g. novelty, inventive step, patent eligibility) and abstracts so that you can check TAD’s decisions according to your interests. You can gain an overview in a very simple manner.

Now, let’s visit TAD’s web pages and click a link!

Take a look:

TAD's reliable decisions (26 Jan. 2021)

The JPO’s Trial and Appeal Department (TAD) is committed to further improve reliability of its decisions!

TAD makes final judgement of the JPO regarding the validity of intellectual property (IP) rights, with the aim of ensuring that rights worth granting/protecting are treated as such. In recent years, the decisions of the TAD have been maintained by the IP High Court at a good rate. Those maintained cases account for:

  • -over 80% in revocation actions against the decisions of the appeal against the examiner's refusals (patent)
  • -about 70% in revocation actions against the trial decisions made in "Trial for invalidation"

TAD makes various efforts towards enhanced credibility. For example, the study group consisting of practitioners inside and outside the JPO deliberates annually upon trial/appeal and court decisions considered to be important on a practical level. TAD utilizes the deliverables for its subsequent proceedings.

Check out our “Handbook for Trial and Appeal System in Japan” to better understand TAD!

Take a look:

International Training Instructors (19 Jan. 2021)

The JPO is striving to contribute to IP Offices’ human resource development in emerging countries!

Our experienced patent examiners named International Training Instructors provide assistance on the practical aspects of patent examination to examiners in emerging countries, including ASEAN members. Under this initiative, we dispatch International Training Instructors and offer on-demand training on examination practices based on the needs of respective IP offices and on the level of experience of the trainees. Since the start of this scheme in 2012, we have provided training programs to a cumulative total over 2000 trainees at eleven IP Offices. This year, the trainings are conducted online, instead of dispatching instructors overseas.

Our initiative eventually serves to facilitate the prosecution of your patent applications globally.

Take a look:

(photo01) International Training Instructors (19 Jan. 2021)

(photo02) International Training Instructors (19 Jan. 2021)

Students’ Patent and Design Contest (12 Jan. 2021)

The JPO has been working to ensure that students acquire knowledge about the Intellectual Property.

We, jointly with related organizations, hold the Students’ Patent and Design Contest every year to award outstanding inventions and designs by promising students. The winners can seek patent/design rights before the JPO with technical and financial supports from the contest hosts. Consequently, granted patent and design rights from the contest generate collaborations between students and business enterprises.

We are convinced that our efforts nurture talent of creativity and then innovation!

Take a look:

JPO’s Contribution to the new IPC Subclass G16Y for IoT-related technologies (22 Dec. 2020)

Did you know a new international patent classification (IPC) G16Y has been adopted in January 2020 for Internet of Things (IoT)-related technologies?

Although the applied fields of IoT-related technologies are ever-expanding, access to patent information in such fields had been limited due to the lack of relevant patent classification. Hence in 2016, the JPO established our own patent classification for IoT-related technologies. Based on this experience, we put forward a proposal in international fora on a new classification and contributed to the establishment of IPC subclass G16Y. This new subclass allows examiners and users alike to search prior art for IoT-related technologies in a comprehensive manner.

Why don't you all try using the new classification?

Take a look:

JPO's examination of IoT-related technologies (15 Dec. 2020)

Let me introduce the JPO's initiative on examinations of Internet of Things (IoT)-related technologies.

Just as artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are evolving rapidly amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, so are IoT-related technologies. We demonstrated our users how we apply the current examination guidelines to IoT-related technologies. Furthermore, we made available to the pubic examination case examples for a better understanding. We encourage you to take advantage of those materials.

We remain committed to proper granting of patent rights for AI and IoT-related technologies!

Take a look:

Patent Examination Case Examples on AI-related Technologies (8 Dec. 2020)

The JPO has compiled examination case examples on Artificial Intelligence (AI)-related technologies ahead of other IP offices to deliver information on the points to improve predictability.

The number of patent applications for AI-related inventions is on the sharp rise worldwide, but users may feel they are not well informed about the key to the successful prosecution. This is why we have composed and published 15 AI-related patent examination case examples for users in various technical fields.

We hope this will give you a clear understanding on our examination practices responding to the recent development, in particular, in terms of the description requirement and inventive step.

Take a look:

The 30th Anniversary of the Implementation of Electronic Filing System (1 Dec. 2020)

Did you know, 30 years ago today, the JPO launched the world’s first electronic patent filing system?

On December 1, 2020, we mark the 30th anniversary of the implementation of the e-filing system in Japan. The system realized the digitalization of patent application information, resulting in the creation of a searchable and viewable online database of various patent information. It also paved the way for easy access to dossier from anywhere. Today, patent e-filing rate with us accounts for about 99%!

Currently, e-filing systems have become the norm around the world!

JPO report on AI-related applications (24 Nov. 2020)

The JPO conducts research and delivers information on current trends of AI-related patent applications.

With the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) -related technologies, patent applications in such fields are growing sharply. Our research on AI-related patent applications, including its analytical data on technical classifications, offices of filing and so forth, aims to provide a snapshot of the technological trends in AI-related inventions, among others, its application fields.

We hope to contribute by shedding light on AI boom through the analysis of patent filing trends!

Take a look:

US-JP Collaborative Search Pilot Program (17 Nov. 2020)

The JPO and the USPTO pursue Collaborative Search Pilot Program (CSP), providing speedy and timely initial examination results with no extra charge.

Under the US-JP CSP, the JPO and the USPTO examiners conduct their own prior art searches for respective patent applications filed in both countries. Then, after exchanging search results and opinions with each other, the two offices independently send their first office actions (FAs) to the applicant in a concurrent manner. Sharing the examiners’ opinions early in the examination process leads to higher possibility of the same or consistent examination results and to less time and efforts for responding to different FAs by respective offices. As a result, applicants are more likely to acquire more robust and stable patent rights.

The third phase of this program has just started on November 1, 2020. What would you say to experiencing the benefits?

Figure: Workflow process under the US-JP CSP(Collaborative Search Pilot Program)
Figure: Workflow process under the US-JP CSP

For more information, go to:

Accelerated Examination under PCT-PPH (10 Nov. 2020)

The JPO assists you to build global patent portfolio smoothly using PCT work products.

You can make use of positive opinions in the PCT international search report (ISR) for PPH request (PCT-PPH). For instance, accelerated examinations can be requested at other IP offices when at least one claim is determined patentable in the ISR provided by the JPO. Currently, we implement the PCT-PPH with 37 IP offices based on our ISRs. For conducting international search, we accept PCT applications filed in English, which means you can do without Japanese translation.

Let the JPO facilitate the prosecution of your patent applications worldwide through this scheme.

Figure: Outline of the PCT-PPH
Figure: Outline of the PCT-PPH

English Search Reports at the JPO (27 Oct. 2020)

The JPO establishes search and examination results in English in respect of PCT international applications received by other IP offices.

In the capacity as a competent International Searching Authority for foreign IP offices including USPTO and ASEAN IP offices, we carry out international search in English for PCT international applications filed with those offices. We perform international search with high timeliness performance (deadline compliance rates 99.8%) at relatively reasonable search fees (JPY 156,000 for English ISR as of October 2020).

No need to worry about Japanese translations to obtain the results from the JPO!

For more information, go to:

Patent Prosecution Highway: PPH (20 Oct. 2020)

Did you know the PPH network has expanded globally through the JPO initiative?

The world’s first PPH, advocated by the JPO in cooperation with the USPTO, was launched in 2006, and the PPH scheme has spread to as many as 54 IP Offices as of January 2020. The JPO has been implementing the PPH with 44 IP offices, including those from major emerging economies; representing the largest network in the world.

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 PPH is expected to increase a grant rate and reduce filing costs.

Why not utilize PPH for building your global IP portfolio?

For more information, go to

Figure 1: Outline of the PPH
Figure 1: Outline of the PPH

Figure 2: Effect of the PPH
Figure 2: Effect of the PPH

User Satisfaction Surveys on Patent Examination Quality (14 Oct. 2020)

Our patent examination quality is appreciated by users!

The JPO conducts user satisfaction surveys on patent examination quality covering users at home and abroad every year. The 2020 survey shows more than 95 % of our users responded they were satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or neutral as for our overall patent examination quality. Based on the users’ needs expressed in the surveys, we set priorities for further improvements.

We continue to enhance our services in response to your feedback.

Figure: Satisfaction level with overall patent examination quality of national application
Figure: Satisfaction level with overall patent examination quality of national application

Release of the Results of the FY2020 User Satisfaction Surveys on Examination Quality (External Link)

Quality Management Initiatives at the JPO (6 Oct. 2020)

The JPO is further focusing on “granting quality patents.”

In its pursuit for excellence, we are committed to uniform operational practices and consistency in examinations through a variety of initiatives. Such initiatives include consultations among examiners (about 40,000 cases in FY2019) and quality checks of all drafted notices, such as Notice of Reasons for Refusal, by supervising directors. Sample checks are also conducted, prior to the dispatch of notices, to judge the validity of prior art searches and reasoning by quality management officers. Furthermore, we improve these quality control initiatives by reflecting the evaluations and recommendations by external experts.

Inviting external experts for quality management is such a unique thing among IP offices.
 

For more information, go to:

Accelerated Examination (29 Sep. 2020)

The JPO offers fast-tracked examination at no extra charge.

Applications filed with both the JPO and at least one foreign IP Office are eligible for the accelerated examination system. The average FA pendency under the accelerated system is 2.5 months in 2019, which is much shorter than 9.5 months under the regular system.

Sometimes we all need examination results as soon as possible, don't we?
 

For more information, go to

Speedy Examinations at the JPO (15 Sep. 2020)

Did you know the pendency of patent examinations at the JPO is much shorter than before?

The first action pendency (FA pendency) is about 9.5 months.
In 2009, the total pendency required three years on average. The JPO achieved to speed up patent examinations, and now, it is 14 months on average including international applications.

Don't you think it's gone pretty fast?

Figure: Total Pendency and FA Pendency for Patent
Figure: Total Pendency and FA Pendency for Patent Examinations

JPO Status Report 2020 Facts & Events 2019 (PDF:1,638KB)

[Last updated 16 February 2021]

Contact Us

General Affairs Division,
Japan Patent Office
Fax: +81-3-3593-2397
E-mail:PA0270@jpo.go.jp