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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

Collective Examinations -operational change- (27 September 2022)

We have modified the requirements to request Collective Examinations for IP Portfolio.

Collective Examinations for IP Portfolio Supporting Business Strategy (CEIP) is a JPO’s distinctive initiative to assist the development of our stakeholders’ business projects (posted on 9 March 2021) and some case examples thereof have been presented on our website (posted on 25 January 2022).

We have recently reviewed its operation and altered the procedures/requirements to make it more user-friendly.

Notably, the modified approach include:

  • Applicants can explicitly opt to schedule pre-examination presentation/interviews online relating to a group of applications concerned.
  • A single patent application combined with design/trademark application(s) can constitute the group.
  • The group may contain application(s) to which office action(s) have already been issued.

We are more than happy to support your business in Japan by this scheme!

Online Interviews with Examiners (20 September 2022)

The availability of video conference interviews with examiners is growing!

As addressed here previously (posted on 2 March 2021 and 25 May 2021), interviews with examiners are an effective examination tool to facilitate communication between applicants and examiners.

Over the last two years or so, interviews by video conferences have been positively utilized, due partly to our proactive approach to better communicating with the stakeholders even under the current pandemic. As for patent applications, the number of interviews conducted online in 2021 was 1,423, representing an increase of 40% from the previous year, and accounted for 84% of the overall annual interviews.

We remain committed to pursuing use-friendly communication with applicants and their representatives, going ahead with effective interviews!

Examiner Exchange (13 September 2022)

Our Examiner Exchange Programs with overseas IP offices contribute to enhancing mutual understanding and trust building!

The JPO has been implementing Examiner Exchange Programs in collaboration with IP offices abroad for more than twenty years. The Programs are basically arranged on bilateral basis, aimed at fostering trustful relationship and deepening mutual understanding between examiners working in the same technical field.

Conventionally, the participating examiners alternately visited their counterpart’s office and held case-based discussions about prior art search methods and examination practices. While the spread of COVID-19 made such face-to-face consultations difficult, we have recently resumed the Program in a different format, via video teleconferencing system.

The online contacts are designed to make the opportunities more fruitful to both parties, by dividing a single implementation period into plural segments and setting an interval of one to two weeks in between. This approach allows examiners from both sides to get well-organized and fully address any inquiries made during the preceding segment.

In 2022, we had an online exchange with the European Patent Office (EPO), the oldest partner for this initiative, from January to February, and China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) from July to August, respectively.

We will continue to collaborate with overseas partners on this endeavor, exploring the optimum approach!

Patent Examination Training Programs for Emerging Countries (6 September 2022)

Our training programs for patent examiners in emerging economies remain on track, taking advantage of online communications.

As previously introduced here a couple of times (posted on 24 August 2021 and 19 January 2021), our International Training Instructors (hereinafter, simply “Instructors”) of the Global Patent Academy (GPA) work vigorously to provide programs on examination practices for patent examiners in emerging countries.

Last year, a total of 21 Instructors offered trainings for cumulatively around 200 examiners from IP offices in ASEAN.

As for the current year, the GPA Instructors most recently engaged themselves in online training for Vietnam in July, while subsequent programs for other economies have been in preparation to be implemented by the end of the period.

With the change of a situation surrounding COVID-19, some of the programs this year will be arranged on site, instead of completely online, taking account of the requests/interests by respective partner IP offices!

JPO Annual Report (30 August 2022)

Let us outline some points to remark concerning the up-to-date statistics.

Besides the “JPO Status Report” published every March in a double column format in both English and Japanese to introduce its initiatives along with the statistical information (posted here on 12 April 2022), we release “JPO Annual Report” in Japanese every July mainly for domestic stakeholders. It is compiled on a fiscal-year basis and provides, among other things, latest statistics on applications/registrations at home and abroad, and examinations and appeals/trials at the JPO. We made available to the public the most recent version (JPO Annual Report 2022) last month.

Some of the points worth noting in the updated Annual Report are:

  • The number of patent filings and requests for patent examination increased from the previous year.
  • Regarding patent applications from abroad, the number of filings from the United States and Europe as well as from China grew compared to the previous year. (Figure1)
  • The number of First Actions (FAs) for trademark applications showed a large rise of 23.3% over the previous year under the strengthened and streamlined examination system.

Although the "Annual Report" itself is available only in Japanese as mentioned above, just click the link below to check the English news release summarizing the thrust.

Figure1: Changes in the number of patent applications submitted to Japan from abroad
Figure1: Changes in the number of patent applications submitted to Japan from abroad

Quality Management Manual for Patent Examination (23 August 2022)

The JPO recently updated its “Quality Manual,” one of the principal documents regarding the quality management in patent examination.

It was in 2014 when the JPO developed and released two basic communication materials underlying our quality management for patent examination, as part of our initiatives toward world’s best service in terms of speed and quality.

Those were:

  • “Quality Policy on Patent Examination” which outlines the fundamental principles of our quality management, and
  • “Quality Management Manual for Patent Examination (simply, “Quality Manual”)” which describes a system for the quality management and its implementation.

Our approaches have been reviewed in light of changing examination environment and the needs of the times. In this regard, examiners can now opt to consult with experienced associates, requesting independent supplementary searches. Also, persons concerned communicate about the result of quality checks, where appropriate, via online conferencing system, with working from home more conventional.

The update of the “Quality Manual” this past July includes those developments since the previous revision.

We will continue our efforts to deliver the top quality service, mindful of the changes in circumstances surrounding us!

State of Compliance with the New Requirement on Claim Dependency (16 August 2022)

Patent applications with the JPO exhibit a considerable degree of adherence to the revised regulations on multi-multi claims!

It has been a quadrimester since our new rule on multi-multi claims in patent filings came into operation. The result of our internal check indicates that the proportion of applications with any multi-multi claims at the date of filing has been roughly 5% on average since April, compared to around 65% during the preceding period.

On most occasions, applicants prepare patent applications taking account of the recent rule change as seen above. With that said, in case you take note of the existence of multi-multi claim(s) after the filing, we would advise you to consider making a voluntary amendment of claims, for example, by the time you submit a request for examination. It will reduce the chance of examiner’s issuing a notice of reasons for refusal in non-compliance with the requirement on claim dependency.

For your information, we offer domestic users, including patent attorneys serving as your representatives in Japan, a support tool for detecting multi-multi type claims via our website. Please be advised that the tool operates in Japanese environment only.

Thank you for your understanding and continued assistance in this matter! Just follow the link below for more detailed explanation.

WIPO Assemblies 2022 (9 August 2022)

JPO Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner have attended the WIPO Assemblies in Geneva!

The 63rd Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO were held at its headquarters in Geneva from July 14th through 22nd . At the opening session, JPO Commissioner Hamano delivered a General Statement from the floor on behalf of the Government of Japan.

Seizing this opportunity, our leaders pursued a vigorous schedule and met directly with the heads/senior officials of IP authorities from over 20 nations/regions. The results achieved by those talks include the exchange of a renewed memorandum of cooperation bilaterally with some counterparts toward further partnerships.

As our Commissioner conveyed at the end of the General Statement, we will continue to cooperate with WIPO and proactively contribute to the development of the global IP ecosystem!

Action Plan for Utilization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology (2) (2 August 2022)

The JPO’s AI Action Plan also covers design and trademark spheres.

The revised Action Plan (FY2022-2026 edition) presents eight projects, half of which are directed to trademark or design examinations. In the design sphere, development phase of assistance tool for prior design search will continue utilizing similarity-based image retrieval technique.

As for trademarks, the wining models of the AI-powered search competition held by the JPO last year will be implemented into our image search system. In another project, we will explore the possibility of applying AI to the prior character trademarks search.

With the Action Plan to date evaluated positively by external experts, the JPO continues to work to enhance the quality and efficiency of examinations across the board by the aid of AI technology.

We are moving forward with our AI Action Plan in a bid to provide improved examinations for our users!

Action Plan for Utilization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology (1) (26 July 2022)

The JPO has published a new five-year “Action Plan for Utilization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology”!

Since the first six-year Action Plan for Utilization of AI Technology (hereinafter, “Action Plan”) was released in 2017, we have been utilizing AI technology, for example, in the fields of patent classification assignment (e.g. automated assignment for foreign patent documents) and prior art search (e.g. rearrangement of patent documents retrieved), employing an agile development approach.

We have recently renewed the Action Plan (FY2022-2026 edition), under which further proof of concept (PoC) will proceed in the above-mentioned two fields and also a different project will be launched to explore the applicability of AI for the management of patent examination (e.g. effective and efficient allotment of applications awaiting examination).

Based on the efforts over the past five years, we believe that the quality and efficiency of our examination will be enhanced by leveraging AI technology, which will contribute to greater user satisfaction with our service.

Just follow the link below to check our AI Action Plan more in detail!

Revision of the JPO’s Guide to Standard Essential Patents (SEP) related-Licensing Negotiations (19 July 2022)

The “Guide to Licensing Negotiations involving Standard Essential Patents” has been revised recently!

As introduced here previously in conjunction with the JPO-hosted SEP Symposium (posted on 10 May, 2022), the “Guide to Licensing Negotiations involving Standard Essential Patents” (hereinafter, the “Guide”) had been put on the review.

The original version of the Guide was published in June 2018, aiming to enhance transparency and predictability, facilitate negotiations between rights holders and implementers, and help prevent or swiftly resolve disputes concerning SEP licensing.

Draft revisions were compiled after updated, worldwide research study and the subsequent consideration by a group of experts in this field. Before the draft was finalized at the end of June this year, public comments had been invited from home and abroad, and valuable views were offered by key participants during the said Symposium.

Hope readers will find this Guide continuing to evolve and remaining “living,” as indicated in the introductive chapter on its nature!

Special Prize from the Philippines (12 July 2022)

The JPO has received a key partner award from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.

A commemorative ceremony was held in Manila early June to celebrate the 25th Silver Bright Anniversary of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL). During the event, the JPO, which has been cooperating with the IPOPHL for many years, was presented with a special award as one of the key partners in providing support to enhance the IP system in the Philippines.

The cooperation between the two Offices includes offering IP training programs for human resources development, among others, by our Global Patent Academy (GPA), and the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), which has been fully implemented since March 2021.

It is a great honor that our steady efforts have been recognized, joining other partners in inspiring more people in the Philippines to value their IP assets!

Green Transformation Technologies Inventory (GXTI) (5 July 2022)

The JPO has developed a new technologies inventory related to Green Transformation (GX) abbreviated as "GXTI (Green Transformation Technologies Inventory)"!

The GXTI, which the JPO introduced at the recent IP5 Heads Meeting (posted last week), was released late June and has been posted on our website. The inventory shows how various GX technologies can be categorized in a productive manner. Furthermore, since the table suggests patent search formulae linked to each subcategory, it facilitates searches for patent documents pertaining to different types of GX technologies.

From a business perspective, this inventory allows a corporate enterprise to demonstrate its own competitive edge, or otherwise helps to develop a business or patent strategy in the context of GX.

We hope that the GXTI will become an effective tool for multiple stakeholders to analyze or further develop green technologies!

The 15th IP5 Heads of Office Meeting (28 June 2022)

The IP5 Offices held their 15th Heads of Office Meeting via videoconference hosted by the European Patent Office early June.

At the conference, the heads of the five IP offices exchanged their views on the role of IP aimed at addressing the SDGs. In this context, the JPO provided an introduction to the Green Transformation Technologies Inventory (GXTI), a technology category table to allow for an overview of climate control technologies, which received a positive response from other delegations.

They also agreed to launch a JPO-proposed project to collect materials on the examination practices of the IP5 Offices on AI-related inventions as the first task based on the legal aspects of the roadmap for cooperation in the field of new emerging technologies (NET) and AI.

Furthermore, they celebrated the 10th anniversary of cooperation between the IP5 Offices and IP5 Industry, reviewed the achievements over the past decade, and agreed to further reinforce cooperation between the Offices and Industry in this framework.

The JPO will continue to work with other IP5 members to promote worldwide IP initiatives.

Official Twitter account for overseas users (21 June 2022)

The JPO’s English-language Twitter account has been up and running for more than eight years.

Our official Twitter account provides updates on a selection of recent news, announcements or events released on our website as well as other relevant information concerning the JPO for the sake of stakeholders abroad.

Subjects of our tweets include introduction of new procedures, invitation to public symposia, and publication of official reports, to name a few.

Our account service supports overseas users to keep abreast of the latest developments on our policies or initiatives. Just follow our Twitter account!

Design examination: Part 2 (14 June 2022)

Design applications from overseas demonstrate an upward trend.

If you file an international design application designating Japan under the Hague System, the result of JPO’s swift and reliable examination will be stored and published on the WIPO website (International Designs Bulletin). This site serves as the official reference for multiple parties concerned, including IP offices of other designated Hague members, and your business competitors. Their reference to the database containing our work products will contribute to facilitated prosecution in other jurisdictions or prevention of infringements by third parties.

Since 2015, when Japan joined the Hague System, the number of design filings with the JPO from abroad has been on the rise, representing almost twofold growth in the past six years. So has the number of non-resident applicants.

Just try to make effective use of our design examination to assist your global business deployment!

Figure: Design applications from abroad
Figure: Design applications from abroad

Design examination: Part 1 (7 June 2022)

Let us showcase swift and quality service of our design examination.

The JPO works to provide speedy and high-quality design examination results as is the case with patent. Among our strengths here is the comprehensive database of design collection worldwide. Extensive searches over the database for prior designs help assure quality service, leading to the stability of design rights which is supported by the low invalidation rate per design registration (0.01% in 2020). Also, around 94 percent of the users responded that they were satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or neutral for our overall design examination quality (user satisfaction survey for our service in 2020).

While the JPO adopts substantive examination principle, conducting global retrieval, we also place an emphasis on maintaining swiftness. On average, the first action (FA) and total pendency in 2020 are 6.3 months and 7.1 months, respectively. In case of accelerated examination, the average FA pendency is 2.1 months.

Why do not you utilize our design examination service to support your business in Japan, protecting your innovative designs?

Enishi(in Japanese kanji)- Enishi - (31 May 2022)

The JPO publishes a bulletin for participants who finished our training programs

Human resources (HRs) development is integral in the effort to operate a viable IP system for developed and developing nations alike. Also, cultivating appropriate HRs takes steady work. It is in this context that we created a decade ago a communication magazine, ”Enishi(in Japanese kanji)- Enishi - “ to follow up our training programs for developing countries and share relevant information with the circle of the alumni, which we refer to as “IP Friends.”

This publication features, for instance, our initiatives for HRs development and contributions from IP Friends regarding recent status of IP-related policies or measures in their respective countries. As the serial is posted on our website accessible to anyone, we hope the contents will be found beneficial beyond the alumni society.

As is explained in its inaugural issue, the magazine title “Enishi” in Japanese means the bond, connection or emotional ties between individuals triggered by a predestined encounter. We wish the circle members further deepen their connections through sustained interaction.

Cooperation in Human Resources Development (24 May 2022)

The JPO supports human capacity building for developing countries in the field of industrial property.

Along with the international cooperation financed by Funds-in-Trust contributions for WIPO (posted on 18 May 2021) and in-depth training courses on the practical aspects of patent examination by our International Training Instructors (posted on 19 January 2021), the JPO also works proactively to provide human capacity building in the industrial property area through programs tailored to subject- or regionally specific needs of the participants.

Those activities are intended to assist growing nations to improve IP systems, thereby facilitating their business operations and economic development. For 25 years starting from 1996, more than 7,000 individuals from public and private sectors have completed our IP training programs.

The JPO will continue to cooperate with developing economies to foster human resources in IP field, which is vital for innovation.

Dialogue with Business Enterprises abroad (17 May 2022)

The JPO encourages closer relations with overseas users.

With reference to the previous communication (posted on 11 January 2022), we would like to inform that over the past six months, we held 25 business tables at the working-level with overseas stakeholders from 12 economies. In most cases, our IP attachés joined the meetings online according to their locations.

Overall feedback from the users was affirmative, among others, in terms of the appropriateness of our examination. Also, some commented that they take advantage of the speed and quality of our examination to obtain patents in other nations.

At the same time, while JPO's stringent examination received a positive assessment as a basis for stable rights, those present at some tables indicated the importance of providing reasonable examination results to the extent that predictability across different jurisdictions is secured. In this connection, we will continue our efforts to review the role of our services or make our practices more comprehensible to users abroad, for instance, by enriching relevant information on our site in English.

It was our pleasure that not a few participants considered such meetings as fruitful, learning about JPO's various user-oriented services. Our doors remain open to support your business. Again, if you are of interest, just submit the Request Form, clicking the link below.

JPO SEP Symposium 2022 (10 May 2022)

Online conference is organized next week to introduce the latest trends of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs)!

The JPO hosts SEP Symposium with the subtitle “latest global trends and the frontier of discussion” on Thursday the 19th of May.

In June 2018, the JPO released "Guide to Licensing Negotiations Involving Standard Essential Patents," aiming to facilitate negotiations between SEPs right holders and implementers. This Guide was planned to review as appropriate responding to changing situations and is now in preparation for revision. The panel discussion of the symposium will cover the issues in SEPs licensing negotiations as they relate to the amendment, including such points as claim charts and parties to negotiation in supply chain .

The forthcoming event will bring together a broad spectrum of experts from multiple regions. SEP-related initiatives in respective regions are introduced in the opening part. The presenters overseas include a senior official from the European Commission and a former Commissioner of the USPTO.

No prior registration is required. You can join the symposium as an audience via the link below (to the dedicated web page)!

Date and Time

Thursday, May 19, 2022

  • from 6:00 am to 9:00 am (Eastern Daylight Time: EDT)
  • from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm (Central European Summer Time: CEST)
  • from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 pm (Japan Standard Time: JST)

Overseas representatives in Sao Paulo (26 April 2022)

Our IP attaché in Sao Paulo works to build a stronger bridge between Latin American and Caribbean states and Japan.

It was in 2016 when our first expatriate staff in southern America began its duties. Our IP attaché is based at the overseas office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a major economic hub of South America halfway around the globe, covering all the countries in Latin America and Caribbean Region. The representative is dedicated to, among others, IP-related supports for local businesses which recognize the advantage of higher standards of IP protection or enforcement as well as dialogues with respective governments in the region which aspire to enhanced IP environment.

Here’s a message from Sao Paulo:
We are committed to creating new businesses using IP and promoting collaboration between Japanese and local companies. If you are interested in liaising with Japanese companies or entering the Japanese market, please feel free to contact us!

Overseas Representatives in Dubai (19 April 2022)

Our IP attachés in Dubai functions as a bridge with the Middle East and Africa region.

We have been posting our IP attachés in the Middle East since 2016. The representative is based at the overseas office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Dubai, the business center of the United Arab of Emirates. JETRO Dubai serves as the central office for the Middle East and Africa, especially its northern region. Leveraging the diversified network with local government agencies and experts, IP attachés have been proactively disseminating useful information, operating the Middle East IP Group (ME-IPG) and providing various IP consultation services. Those activities aim to assist the stakeholders in the Middle East, Africa and Japan to connect with each other for their business expansion.

Here’s a message from Dubai:
“With rapid growth expected in the post-COVID-19 era, the Middle East and Africa region is attracting a great deal of attention in Japan. If you are interested in Japan's intellectual property systems, laws & policies, or in the collaboration with Japanese companies, please feel free to contact us at any time. We are here to connect you with Japan! "

JPO Status Report 2022 (12 April 2022)

The JPO’s new Status Report has been released!

As introduced here a year ago (posted on 13 April 2021), the JPO publishes its Status Report every March. We uploaded the most recent version on our website on 30th of March this year. Except for the updated statistics, this year’s highlights of our measures or policies include:

-digitized operations or proceedings at the JPO in the with/post-COVID-19 era (e.g. “Digitalization of JPO”, page 6)

-enhanced public relations with stakeholders abroad (e.g. “Dissemination of Information on JPO’s Measures to Overseas Users”, page 128)

Just open the Report to the page of “Foreword” or “Contents”, for example, and check the latest status of your interest!

Enhanced PPH Program between the JPO and the USPTO (5 April 2022)

The JPO works with the USPTO to further improve the predictability of the examination timing on the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH).

The two Offices have been fully implementing the Japan-US PPH since January 4, 2008, based on the experience of one and a half years’ pilot program. With a view to making it easier for users to predict the timing of examination for the acquisition of a patent across the border, the pair has agreed to establish a target deadline for issuing office actions (OAs) for PPH applications. The foregoing target applies to subsequent as well as first OAs from the Office of later examination. The improvement has been effective as of January 1 this year.

We remain committed to leading the effort to promote the PPH as one initiator of this framework.

Invitation for Users’ Feedbacks on the Quality of Examination (29 March 2022)

The JPO welcomes users’ opinions for examination quality improvement!

Have you ever wished to extend your comments on our services, inter alia, file-specific examination results before us? We value customers’ input and make available a dedicated page (“Opinion Submission Form”) on our website to meet such needs across all relevant areas (i.e., patents, designs, and trademarks).

We will look carefully at your feedbacks and take them into consideration with the aim of enhancing examination quality at the JPO thereafter. In this regard, it is advisable to specify in the Form the application number(s) concerned to allow us to correctly understand what you have to say.

Your opinions will be dealt with in a confidential manner and won’t be shared with the examiner(s) in charge without your consent.

Just use the Opinion Submission Form from the link below. Your candid feedbacks are always welcome!

"Multi-Factor Reasoning" -the JPO’s Approach in the Determination of Inventive Step- (22 March 2022)

The JPO adopts "Multi-Factor Reasoning", MFR for short, for deciding on inventive step in patent examinations.

In Japan, the inventive step of a claimed invention is determined by considering whether it could be reasoned that a person skilled in the art easily arrives at the claimed invention based on the prior art. The examiner attempts the reasoning by assessing comprehensively multiple factors in support of the existence or non-existence of an inventive step.

The method is called Multi-Factor Reasoning (MFR). JPO patent examiners follow this approach in order to determine inventive step objectively, mindful of the significance of providing predictable examination results. To better explain the methodology, we have created a dedicated manga content.

The cartoon work is another tour de force! The JPO will continue its efforts to familiarize our MFR approach to overseas stakeholders.

(screenshot) Figure: Manga Patent Examination Guidelines,“Multi-Factor Reasoning” in the Determination of Inventive Step
Figure: Manga Patent Examination Guidelines,“Multi-Factor Reasoning” in the Determination of Inventive Step

New Requirement on Claim Dependency (15 March 2022)

The JPO introduces a new rule on multiple dependent claim(s) depending on other multiple dependent claim(s) (hereinafter “multi-multi claim(s)”) effective as of the 1st of April, 2022.

With a view to encouraging international harmonization as well as reducing examination workloads and the burden of monitoring third party applications, the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Patent Act and that for the Utility Model Act were amended to regulate the use of multi-multi claims in patent and utility model registration applications respectively.

The revised Ordinances will come into operation coming month, and multi-multi claims will no longer be acceptable for patent and utility model registration filings on and after April 1, 2022.

Please be advised that if a patent application filed after the implementation of the new regulation includes multi-multi claims, for example, the applicant or its representative(s) will be notified of reasons for refusal for the violation of Article 36(6)(iv) of the Patent Act (Ministerial Ordinance Requirement on Statement of Claims).

Just follow the link below for further information. If you have any inquiries, please feel free to contact us.

Trilateral Symposium on IP & Environmental Issues (8 March 2022)

The JPO hosts Trilateral online Symposium entitled “Contribution of Patent System towards Carbon Neutral” next week!

The Trilateral Offices- (the JPO, the EPO and the USPTO) -will hold a joint conference on IP and carbon neutral technologies on Thursday the 17th of March.

In the upcoming event, representatives from companies in Japan, Europe and the United States will address the development and diffusion of carbon-neutral-related technologies through the strategic use of IP.  Also, panelists from business enterprises, the Trilateral User Groups and the three Offices will discuss the contribution of IP with a view to achieving the target of carbon neutrality.
Through this program, you might rediscover ways to make IP a driving force towards the challenging goal.

No prior registration is required. You can join the symposium as an audience simply by clicking the Zoom invitation link below!

Date and Time

  • Thursday, March 17, 2022
    • from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (EDT)
    • from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (CET)
    • from 9:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (JST)

Overseas Representatives in New Delhi (1 March 2022)

Our IP attachés in New Delhi work for the effective IP protection in India and Southwest Asian countries.

Among the five locations of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in India, our IP attachés have been stationed at its New Delhi office since 2013. JETRO New Delhi is engaged in activities related to IP protection in India and its neighbors, namely, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives. Our representative in the capital district of India collects and delivers IP-related information and works to improve the environment surrounding IP systems in those economies, thereby assisting business activities both in Japan and the territory in charge.

Here's a message from New Delhi:
"India is a country with one of the most attractive markets, and it is also a nation where anything is a challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused expatriate employees to return to their homeland, making it difficult to gather reliable information. Since we are here in New Delhi, please feel free to contact us if you have any inquiries concerning IP. We support your business both in Japan and South Asia!"

Overseas Representatives in Seoul (22 February 2022)

Our IP attachés in Seoul are connecting IP businesses in Japan and South Korea.

Since 1999, our IP attachés have been stationed at the Seoul Office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to support Japanese companies doing business there through the preparation and publication of various materials, the activities with the Korea Intellectual Property Group (IPG), and the provision of various IP consultations. IP trends in Korea are full of dynamics with frequent systemic revisions and active utilization of IT. JETRO Seoul delivers such ever-changing IP information to Japanese and Korean stakeholders.

Here’s a message from Seoul:
We are the liaison with Japan in South Korea. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any IP related questions concerning the two economies.

”Hantei” (Advisory Opinion) for Essentiality Check (15 February 2022)

"Hantei" by the Trial and Appeal Department (TAD) is also available for the facilitation of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) licensing!

With the advancement of Internet of Things (IoT), it has become increasingly necessary for businesses in diverse industries to comply with information and telecommunications standards, leading to significant changes in the environment surrounding Standard Essential Patents (SEPs), among others, their licensing issues.

These days disputes occur not infrequently as to whether the patented invention subject to licensing negotiation is a SEP. By conducting essentiality check, the TAD’s advisory opinion “Hantei” would greatly contribute to facilitating the dispute resolution between the parties concerned. Here again, a patent administrative judge panel with a high level of technical expertise delivers an official opinion on the essentiality from a fair and neutral perspective in an expeditious manner.

If you are of immediate interest to this essentiality check, just contact our TAD following the link below!

HANTEI (ADVISORY OPINION) (8 February 2022)

Trial and Appeal Department (TAD) makes available “Hantei” for providing an advisory opinion relating to a conflict over Industrial Property Rights (IPRs)!

When a right holder of IPRs wants to know whether the products of another party fall within the scope of its own rights such as patents, the holder can request our Trial and Appeal Department (TAD) for an official opinion.

Likewise, a party other than right holders can also demand a TAD's advisory opinion when the party wishes to confirm if goods being planned to launch or in production infringe on the IPRs of others.

When a request for “Hantei” is filed, a panel of administrative judges with a high level of expertise issues a determination from a fair and neutral perspective in a swift manner (in as soon as three months).

You can utilize ”Hantei” effectively for pre-empting potential disputes over IPRs!

The New JPO Key Features (1 February 2022)

"The JPO Key Features" on our web page has been updated!

As posted here last June, this digital resource is a concise guide with graphic illustrations to various benefits, measures and policies available at the JPO. For overseas users, we have recently renewed the website by enriching the content. The new version incorporates an expanded Facts & Basics section containing further actionable information on designs, trademarks, and trials/appeals, not to mention patents. It also showcases our continuous initiatives on Standard Essential Patents (SEP) and AI/IoT.

Figure 1: Designs: Features and Advantages
Figure 1: Designs: Features and Advantages

Figure 2: SEP (Standard Essential Patents)
Figure 2: SEP (Standard Essential Patents)

Just follow the link bellow and check the latest developments!

Case Examples of Collective Examinations (25 January 2022)

Actual cases are added to the page of the “Collective Examinations for IP Portfolio Supporting Business Strategy (CEIP)”!

The JPO offers “Collective Examinations for IP Portfolio Supporting Business Strategy (“Collective Examinations” for short),” where an examiner team conducts examination of a group of multiple applications.  The prosecutions are tailored to coincide with the cross-sectional business development, which will be effectively supported by a plurality of relevant IP rights (posted on 9 March 2021).

Recently, a couple of successful cases of the Collective Examinations have been added on our website.  The examples simply illustrate how users take advantage of our measures for their new business projects, acquiring a combination of IP rights concerned (patents, designs, and trademarks) in a swift and timely manner.  We hope you will find such for-instances informative.

JPO is dedicated to supporting your business deployment in Japan with an inclusive IP portfolio.

Departure from Conventional, Signature-Controlled Procedures for Overseas Users (18 January 2022)

The JPO has eliminated most of the signature requirements for proof of identity, maintaining a small portion to ward off severe damage caused by falsification.

Responding to the rapid development of social digitalization posed by current pandemic, and also in order to enhance our stakeholders’ convenience, the JPO has been promoting the digitization of administrative procedures in line with the government policy.

As a consequence, signature by foreign users, having being required previously, is no longer applicable before the JPO on most occasions. Meanwhile, only some procedures (e.g. change in the name(s) of applicant(s), transfer of rights) still need your signing to verify the identity. As of this year, its authenticity is to be confirmed by any of the prescribed means. Make sure to check the details following the link below.

The JPO will go ahead with digitization toward more user-friendly environment.

Changes in Procedures for Confirming Identification of Signature (Effective from January 1, 2022)

Dialogue with business enterprises (11 January 2022)

The JPO is pursuing opinion exchange with a wide range of businesses.

As part of our efforts to create a more user-friendly environment, the JPO has been holding working-level meetings with individual companies or industry groups. These business tables permit us to share any developments on IP rights system in Japan as well as JPO's various measures and policies. They also give us an opportunity to hear directly what our users have to say.

In this connection, we are now inviting firms or organizations, including overseas entities, who wish to exchange thoughts with us, for example, regarding IPR acquisition in Japan. Such a communication will bring a better understanding of our institutions and user-oriented services.
Please fill out and submit the Meeting Request Form, following the link below.

Here's a comment from a participating corporation:
We had no idea that the JPO offers such wide-ranging measures and supports. We are thinking of using the services hereafter.

The JPO invites companies and organizations to participate in our opinion exchange!
Let us know your thoughts, comments, suggestions, and concerns on Intellectual property (IP).

JPO-EPO Joint Study on Computer-Implemented Inventions (4 January 2022)

The Comparative Study on Software-related Inventions made by the JPO and the EPO has been updated.

In recent years, research and development have been actively conducted especially in the fields of IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and 3D printing. Given that "computer-implemented inventions" (CII) are core to these technologies, it is of great interest to provide our users with a better understanding of what to expect when filing CII-related patent applications.

Reflecting such a situation, last November, the JPO and the EPO launched the latest version of the comparative study report which they jointly published in March 2019. The report aims to provide applicants and practitioners insights into the similarities and differences of approach taken in working practices at the respective offices on software-related inventions, including AI fields.

Updated contents worth noting are as follows:

  • A new sub-section concerning sufficiency of disclosure/enablement requirement and case examples thereof
  • Enriched case examples concerning inventive step focusing on AI-related inventions

The JPO will continue to align with its partner offices to enhance the predictability when applications pertinent to new emerging technologies are dealt with.

Overseas Representative in Hong Kong (21 December 2021)

Hong Kong freshly became part of a list of the hubs for our IP attaché!

In September 2019, Hong Kong office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) opened an IP Department, creating a newest hub on the globe with our IP attaché. Hong Kong is the gateway between China and the world economy. In the rapidly developing Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Great Bay Area, the attaché supports the promotion of win-win cooperation between Japanese and local companies by conducting research and offering information on IP and innovation trends.

Here’s a message from Hong Kong:
“We would like to build a network with those who are interested in collaborating with Japanese companies and IP professionals who can support Japanese businesses in Hong Kong and its neighboring area. Please feel free to contact us.”

Overseas Representative in Beijing (14 December 2021)

Our IP attaches in Beijing have served as the focal point in China for more than two decades!

Since late 1990s, the Beijing office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has been functioning as a hub with our IP attaches to provide a variety of supports for Japanese companies doing businesses there, while coping with the rapidly “Changing China.” The major achievement of the JETRO Beijing activities would be highlighted by continuous and dedicated initiatives of the China Intellectual Property Group (IPG), which consists of over 250 Japanese companies marketed in China. At the same time, JETRO Beijing has been delivering IP information for Japanese and Chinese stakeholders alike, for example, government officials, IP lawyers and private enterprises. Through these efforts, JETRO Beijing has been promoting business development in both economies.

Here´s a message from Beijing:
“The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic globally hampers unrestricted business traffic, leading to affect the deep grasp on the ongoing IP development in Japan and China. For the support of users in both countries, we, JETRO Beijing, put more efforts into continuously delivering the latest and hottest IP information through networking with key persons in the government and private sector. If you have any IP related questions concern ing the two economies, please do not hesitate to contact us!”

Region-wide Training Program for the ASEAN Member States (7 December 2021)

The JPO provided an inaugural patent training program for the ASEAN IP Academy (ASEAN IPA).

Late October, the Global Patent Academy (GPA) of the JPO offered a kickoff training course online under the “Train the Trainers Program for Patent Managers and Trainers” designed by the ASEAN IPA. This IPA was launched in September as a virtual platform to provide customized IP training for the ASEAN Member States.

The kickoff program gathered 23 patent managers and trainers from the ASEAN IP Offices. The topics discussed included Operations Management, Quality Management and Human Resource Development.

Here is the opening remarks of Mr Looi Teck Kheong, Head of Competition, Consumer Protection and IPR Division (CCPID) of the ASEAN Secretariat:
"The JPO is one of our Dialogue Partners and has always been among the first to provide support for our IPR initiatives."

Patent Examination Guidelines in Manga (30 November 2021)

The JPO has released the world's first Manga explaining AI/IoT examination guidelines.

Patent examination guidelines are so technical that they are often incomprehensible to non-expert especially when applied to emerging technologies like AI/IoT. It is in this context that we wished to revise such prejudice and provide "Examination Guidelines in Manga: AI/IoT Edition," aiming at bringing our examination practice closer to the people. This Manga version is designed to facilitate everybody including non-specialist to learn the basics with interest simply by following the stories.

We hope that our guidelines will become more familiar to you. If you are interested in filing patent applications in Japan, for instance, just try reading the cartoon!

Figure: Manga Patent Examination Guidelines
Figure: Manga Patent Examination Guidelines

Judicial Symposium on Intellectual Property (16 November 2021)

The JPO co-hosted Judicial Symposium on Intellectual Property/TOKYO 2021 online late October with other organizations in judicial field.

The Symposium has been held annually since 2017. The theme of the three-day event this year was “IP Dispute Resolution in Asia.”

Day three, JPO part of the program, was commenced by remarks by Commissioner MORI, followed by a keynote lecture by Mr. KATSURA, Director-General of the Trial and Appeal Department (TAD). As for this part, focus was placed on the determination of inventive step on AI and IoT related inventions. Administrative judges from five Asian countries gave presentations in that connection. They also participated in a panel discussion using a hypothetical case along with a panelist from Japan.

TAD remains committed to enhancing predictability regarding IP institution and practices in the quasi-judicial field across national boundaries.

Overseas representatives in Singapore (9 November 2021)

Singapore has become another regional base in ASEAN for our IP attache.

Our IP attache in Singapore started its duties at the local office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in 2016. Until then, the Bangkok representative had covered the entire ASEAN. Currently, our expatriate staff there is in charge of Singapore and its neighboring economy, Malaysia, plus the marine region of ASEAN, namely, the Philippines, Brunei and Indonesia. Besides ASEAN, he also takes care of Oceanian region including Australia and New Zealand. He is helping the residents or legal entities in his territory to expand their business by investing in Japan or to collaborate with Japanese companies, utilizing sophisticated IP system in Japan.

Here's a message from Singapore:
"ASEAN countries are now having unlimited emerging potential for future development and especially Singapore has become a hub for global economic activities. If you are interested to know about Japanese IP system, and you want to expand your business into Japan and then emerging ASEAN and global markets, we are willing to support you, so please let us know!"

Overseas representatives in Bangkok (2 November 2021)

Our IP attaches have been stationed in ASEAN for a quarter-century.

Given the strong economic ties between ASEAN and our country, we currently locate plural hubs with our representative(s) in the region: one in Bangkok, and another in Singapore. Since the Bangkok office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has been one of the biggest among the organization's overseas offices and served as a coordination center in Asia, we started stationing our IP attache in the capital of Thailand in 1996. Now we have two expatriate staff there. Their advantage is that they work as a complementary pair of a patent and a trademark expert, respectively. They basically take care of the continental ASEAN, in concrete terms, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Their main activities include strengthening cooperation with IP-related government bodies through training or seminars and publishing ASEAN-wide research papers on IP.

Here's a message from Bangkok:
"We are happy to collaborate with local governments and companies in ASEAN. For example, we collaborated with Department of Intellectual Property Thailand and the local companies such as True Visions for IP public awareness activity in Thailand last year. If you are interested in Japanese IP system or collaboration with JETRO Bangkok, please contact us!"

WIPO Assemblies 2021 (26 October 2021)

JPO Commissioner delivered a General Statement at the WIPO grand conference early this month.

The 62nd series of meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO were convened in Geneva from October 4 to 8 .
During the opening session, a General Statement video* delivered by Mr. Mori Kiyoshi, Commissioner of the JPO, was broadcast on behalf of the Government of Japan (GOJ). In his statement, Commissioner Mori expressed support for WIPO’s Medium-Term Strategic Plan (MTSP), along with his expectations that the global IP ecosystem is developed by WIPO through its enhanced user-friendliness and strengthened support for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and startups.

He also expressed his strong expectation for WIPO to contribute to the resolution of global challenges by utilizing IP, such as the response to COVID-19 in cooperation with its Member States and other UN agencies, and the WIPO GREEN initiative.

With such expectations in mind, he made a statement that GOJ will continue to support WIPO through voluntary contributions, which it has been making for more than 30 years, and through cooperation with the WIPO Japan Office.

As our Commissioner mentioned in his concluding remarks, the JPO will continue to work closely with WIPO and other partners to co-create an inclusive, balanced and vibrant global IP ecosystem.

Super Accelerated Examination (19 October 2021)

Do you know JPO's super-fast-tracked examination?

In addition to the ordinary “accelerated examination” previously introduced on this page (posted on 29 September 2020), the JPO offers the “super accelerated examination,” which allows for more swift prosecution.
Stated differently, applicants have three tracks to choose: regular, fast and super fast.

Applications from overseas are also eligible for the fastest track if they meet two requirements: First, they are filed with both at least one foreign IP Office and the JPO. Second, they are "working-related," which means that the inventions pertaining to the applications have already been commercialized or are planned to be commercialized within two years.

No additional fees are required. Under this super-fast track, the average FA pendency for FY2020 is 0.9 months, and the total pendency is 2.8 months.

Follow the link below for more information!

PPH over the fifteen years: Part 3 (12 October 2021)

PPH entered a new growth stage.

The predominant feature of the development over the second half period is twofold.

First, collaboration in multiple members. In 2014, the Five IP Offices launched an IP5 PPH, a program for a plurilateral Highway access among themselves. Also, Global PPH (GPPH), another plurilateral program, was established covering 17 Offices, including JPO. In both programs, the members worked together toward the utmost utilization of search/examination results among the Offices and also the enhanced benefits for the applicants using the Highway.

Second, further regional expansion. PPH arrangements between JPO and Offices of emerging economies have been intensified. Examples of new partners on bilateral basis are EGYPO (Egypt) in 2015, IP VIET NAM (Vietnam) in 2016, INPI (Brazil) in 2017 and IPO (India) in 2019.

This year, JPO started PPH pilots with INPI (France) and OMPIC (Morocco), respectively. Currently, a total of 55 IP Offices are implementing PPH, out of which 46 Offices are JPO partners (as of April 2021).

To achieve further development of the system, we are not just working to extend the total route length, but to improve its connectivity or effectiveness for the sake of participating Offices and global users as well.

We will continue our efforts as one of the founding members and also as the Secretariat of GPPH.

PPH over the past fifteen years: Part 2 (5 October 2021)

The Highway system became geographically diversified.

PPH gained ground in many parts of the globe as its benefits became widely acknowledged in reducing workloads in examination/search using outcomes of an Office of earlier examination.
Following the preceding partners mainly from Western economies, IP Offices in Asia joined the network when JPO started the bilateral programs with IPOS(Singapore) in 2009 and with SIPO(current CNIPA, China) in 2011, respectively.
In 2012, SIC(Colombia) became the first PPH participating Office in South America.
By the end of 2013, almost the midcourse of the past decade and a half, a total of 31 IP Offices got on the Highway system, out of which JPO formed the partnerships with 26 Offices.

Next week is the last segment of this series!

PPH over the past fifteen years: Part 1 (28 September 2021)

This year marks the quindecennial anniversary for the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program!

We are going to explore the development of PPH in three segments starting from this week.
The first bilateral agreement named Patent Prosecution Highway, an international examination cooperation scheme, came into operation between USPTO and JPO in 2006 based upon the latter’s proposal (posted on 20 Oct. 2020). Within the subsequent three years, JPO entered into partnerships with other IP Offices, for instance, EPO, DKPTO (Denmark), DPMA (Germany), KIPO (South Korea) and UKIPO (United Kingdom). The transborder high route thus began to expand, while our partners also endeavored to make prosecution traffic smoother on bilateral basis. This was how the Highway developed in its early days.

Next week we'll talk about the next phase of PPH.

Overseas representatives in New York (21 September 2021)

Our IP attaches in New York are connecting IP businesses in Japan and the US.

Among our IP attaches all over the world, those in New York belong to the biggest overseas office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). It enables them to actively engage in the support of Japanese businesses targeting the US market and the US businesses vice versa, in the fields of IP. Furthermore, JETRO New York has built close relationships with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as well as IP lawyers and corporations in the US. As a secretariat of the US IP Study Group, they are offering networking opportunities between the two countries’ businesses through their monthly seminars.

Here’s a message from New York:
“Despite the challenges under the pandemic, we are trying hard to maintain our liaison role between Japan and the US by vigorously hosting and participating in online and in-person meetings and events. Feel free to reach out to us if you are interested in Japanese IP system and measures, and networking with Japanese businesses. We are happy to give you a 30-minute virtual briefing!”

The JPO Quick Reads’ first Anniversary (14 September 2021)

Tomorrow we will mark the first anniversary of the launch of this webpage, the JPO Quick Reads.

To refresh the memories of readers from the inauguration issue, the very first heading was “Speedy Examination at the JPO.” Since then, we have endeavored to deliver actionable information, among others, concerning our current status, initiatives or revisions to relevant laws, bearing in mind the benefits of overseas stakeholders with more emphasis on the examination-related aspect.

Just for your reference, top three topics of interest to the website audience over the past year are:

If you began to visit this particular site rather recently, we would suggest checking the contents from the links above.

We will continue to work toward a friendlier page for overseas users and keep you updated on the JPO’s progress. Don’t miss it!

Handbook for Trial/Appeal System in Japan (7 September 2021)

Have you ever consulted the book of reference to our Trial and Appeal System?

As previously introduced on this page (posted on 26 January 2021), our Trial and Appeal Department (TAD) is making available a handbook on our website.

TAD plays two major roles: acting as the upper instance of examination, and contributing to an early settlement of IP disputes.
Designed to familiarize applicants or stakeholders with those functions, the brochure sums up the trial/appeal system in Japan as concisely and plainly as practical, for instance, under such headings as follows:

  • What can be done with the trial and appeal system?
  • What is the role of the TAD?
  • Efforts towards the improvement of reliability of trial and appeal decisions
  • Dissemination of information overseas and international exchange

TAD continues to be committed to soundly fulfilling its roles “for appropriate acquisition and exercise of industrial property rights”, as the subtitle on the front of the book reads.

IP5 Trial and Appeal Boards High-Level Meeting (31 August 2021)

The JPO hosted a Conference of Leaders of IP5 Trial and Appeal Bodies early June.

At the online meeting chaired by Director-General KATSURA of the Trial and Appeal Department (TAD) of the JPO, the participants from the IP5 Offices and WIPO had an active dialogue as the first step toward specific cooperation among the IP5 in the trial/appeal area. Suggested ideas include, but are not limited to, providing the public with important decisions, holding user seminars, and exchanging statistics. It is expected that the high-level talks in this area will be organized on a regular basis, deepening the discussions.

TAD will continue to join forces with the IP5 counterparts in the quasi-judicial field, mindful of the interests of global users as well.

JPO-MyIPO Patent Examination Training Program (24 August 2021)

JPO offered training for patent examination to the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO).

As previously referred to on this page (posted on 19 January 2021), a group of our experienced colleagues with the title of International Training Instructor are contributing to capacity building for patent examiners in emerging economies, including ASEAN members. Those Instructors constitute the forefront of our Global Patent Academy (GPA), if you like.

Last month, the GPA held a patent examination online training program for MyIPO, with a focus on two specific technological areas. MyIPO and JPO have been working closely on fostering human resources, and need-based training courses have been provided on a yearly basis since 2014. GPA Instructors are committed to supporting the development of examination systems in Malaysia.

Here are words from Mr. Kamal Kormin, Assistant Director General (Technical, Science & Technology) of MyIPO, who participated in the closing session of the program this time:
“We are in the midst of upgrade our patent examination quality towards the patent quality management. This training was tremendously beneficial to the participants. We hope that this training program will continue in the future with the possibility to explore different technology fields. ”

Oral Proceedings for Trials/ Appeals using Video-Conferencing System (17 August 2021)

The revised Patent and other Acts introduce online oral hearing in trials/appeals.

In trials for invalidation of patents, for instance, oral proceedings have been conducted while parties concerned appear in the Trial Court on our premise. After the effective date of the revised article, however, the parties may attend via video conference at the discretion of the chief administrative judge, insofar as they participate within the confines of our country.

The renewed approach conforms with the recent trend of digitization and networking in socioeconomic activities and enables both parties’ oral allegations to be heard by the administrative judge panel even in the midst of pandemic like the COVID-19.

The amendment is scheduled to come into force in October. The Trial and Appeal Department (TAD) is proceeding with the preparations for the implementation!

Partial Revision of the Patent and other Acts (10 August 2021)

The bill to amend Patent and other Acts was passed into law and promulgated in May.

The epidemic of the COVID-19 led society to revolutionize the nature of socioeconomic activities as seen in the rapid development of digitalization, remote work and contactless services. To address changing situations, the Patent Act and Other Acts were revised noting following perspectives: (i) to develop new procedures viable in pandemicity, (ii) to review the protection of IPRs in digitized society, and (iii) to strengthen the foundation of IP institution.

The amendments include among others:

  • - Introduction of oral proceedings for trials/appeals by video conferencing [point (i)]
  • - Exemption from surcharges for expiring prescribed period due to a disaster, etc. [point (i)]
  • - Relaxation of requirements for reinstatement of rights [point (ii)]
  • - Review of the fee structure for patent fees, etc. [point (iii)]

Just click the link below for further information. Supplementary explanation on the new form of oral proceedings for trials/appeals will follow next week.

Revision of the Design Act in Japan (3 August 2021)

The Design Act has been revised, and designs for graphical user interface, building and interior have been newly registered.

The government of Japan fundamentally amended the Design Act in 2019 in order to allow applicants to protect their outstanding designs that contribute to promoting innovations and establishing brands. In this respect, the amendatory law came into force in April last year, additionally covering designs for graphic image not stored or indicated on articles, building and interior as those subject to protection under the statute.
Since it came into operation, two building designs, two interior designs and one graphic image design have successfully been registered for the first time in Japan.

Just click the link below and look the freshly publicated designs under the updated legislation.

For an overview of the revised Design Act:
Pamphlet ( Revision of the Design Act in Japan -Contributing to innovation and branding- Revised in 2019 (PDF:6,206KB) )

Examination Guidelines for Design

Overseas representatives in Düsseldorf (27 July 2021)

The JPO's first IP attaché was stationed in Düsseldorf, Germany.

We have been dispatching our IP attachés worldwide for nearly half a century. It was in 1974 when our first expatriate staff started his business at the Düsseldorf Office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). JETRO Düsseldorf serves as a JPO’s contact point for European IP offices and users. At the same time, it collects information on IP trends in Europe, taking advantage of its geographical strength, located in almost the center of continental Europe and within two-hour flight distance to any major cities in the region.

Here’s a message from Düsseldorf:
“Two ex-patent examiners are here to serve you! Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to hear about JPO’s measures and policies including practices of examinations and Trials/Appeals!”

Mission, Vision and Values (20 July 2021)

The JPO has redefined its Mission, Vision and Values (MVV).

MVV is a profession of an organization’s aspirations, duties to be fulfilled, and course of actions.

We have recently revised our previous version after thorough and inclusive discussion, mindful of the rapidly, dynamically changing social landscape and the evolving IP environment, and with a view to administering IP policies going with the times.

The renewed Mission among others is described as follows:
- To achieve a society in which ideas are respected and each individual is encouraged to ignite creativity.

Our MVV serves internally as a banner toward a fully aligned office. It also acts as a vehicle to communicate our goals to all stakeholders involved in IP, soliciting partnerships to that end.

We are committed to making continued efforts to set our purpose in place. Just check it out from the link below, including the Statement, and tell your impressions!

The 14th IP5 Heads of Office Meeting (13 July 2021)

The JPO hosted the IP5 Heads of Office Meeting online late June.

At its 14th Meeting, the heads discussed, aside from the following issues, a key role intellectual property rights play in solving social challenges, which have been drawing global attention in recent years in the context of achieving SDGs.

They agreed on the roadmap for IP5 cooperation in the fields of New Emerging Technologies/Artificial Intelligence (NET/AI) and confirmed the launch of new projects designed to harmonize patent prosecution procedures and practices.

Also, they reaffirmed future cooperation among the Offices in the post-pandemic era.

The JPO will continue to join other IP5 members in leading the worldwide initiatives in the area of intellectual property!

International Symposium on IP and Green Technology (6 July 2021)

The JPO held the "International Symposium on Intellectual Property - Initiatives to Solve Environmental Issues through WIPO GREEN" online!

Last month, the JPO hosted the first international web-based conference on WIPO GREEN as it relates to the previous topic of this page (posted on 11 May 2021). This symposium aimed to contribute to solving environment matters through the effective use of intellectual property and was live-streamed in four languages (English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean).

In the panel discussion, under the theme of "Challenges and Future Development of WIPO GREEN," the panelists discussed the initiatives, current status, challenges, and future development of WIPO GREEN from various perspectives based on their concrete and practical experiences.

The JPO will continue to strive to improve the climate to help find solutions for social issues utilizing WIPO GREEN!

IP attaché (29 June 2021)

IP experts from the JPO are stationed around the world.

Quite a few JPO staff who are well versed in IP rights systems are seconded to a couple of government-affiliated organizations which work to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and abroad, locating hubs in major economies. Our expatriate experts, as IP attachés, assist the overseas stakeholders to understand IP systems in Japan and also act as liaisons between the IP Offices in charge and the JPO. At the same time, they collect and research a wide range of relevant information on IP-related institutions or practices at the places of their assignment, retaining the services of local law firms.

Our IP attachés are more than happy to serve you!

The Step-by-step Guide (22 June 2021)

“The Step-by-step Guide” has been created to address user feedback indicating that the JPO website could be made friendlier for customers abroad to get to the information they want.

For the benefit of overseas users, we have added new web pages to organize helpful links to key procedural information on the prosecution with the JPO, broken down by the administrative jurisdictions (patent, utility model, design and trademark). It simply refers to the proceedings for obtaining industrial property rights in Japan, including filing, fees, examinations and registrations, outlined in time sequence.

Just feel free to suggest any items to add you'd consider useful on our site!

JPO Digital Pamphlet (15 June 2021)

We have released "JPO Digital Pamphlet," an animated introductory video featuring our strengths and history.

The video highlights the JPO’s three key advantages (speedy & quality examination, user-friendliness and global network) with numbers to illuminate them. It also covers the chronology of the intellectual property system in Japan since its inception (the enactment of the Trademark bylaws in 1884), showcasing some of the era’s iconic technologies of Japanese origin.

Just click the link and watch the five-minute video clip to learn more about the JPO!

The JPO Key Features (8 June 2021)

“The JPO Key Features” on our web page simply sheds a spotlight on the benefits of filing applications in Japan for the sake of overseas users.

It is designed to present the principal advantages of prosecuting applications with the JPO and also to familiarize applicants residing overseas with our well-regarded measures or initiatives. Its content is arranged by subject, for example, but not limited to:

  • Speedy & Quality Examinations
  • Global IP Portfolio
    (e.g. Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH))
  • IP rights in line with Business Strategy
    (e.g. Collective Examinations for IP Portfolio Supporting Business Strategy, Communication with Examiners)
  • Quick response to Business Circumstances
    (e.g. Examination Case Examples to AI and IoT related technologies)

Figure: Speedy & High Quality Examinations
Figure: Speedy & High Quality Examinations

We will continuously work to make our service more user-friendly and keep you updated with our progress.

Outsourcing Prior Art Searches (1 June 2021)

The JPO achieves efficient and quality patent examinations in collaboration with nine registered search organizations.

The registered search organizations (hereinafter, “the organizations”) are independent entities for outsourcing prior art searches, authorized by the JPO Commissioner, where a number of engineers or scientists with years of R&D experiences in industry or academia retrieve prior arts as searchers with regard to the patent applications filed under the Japanese Patent Law.

Each searcher completes a search report for an individual application through oral discussion with a relevant patent examiner. In other words, JPO patent examiners and searchers from the organizations jointly create prior art search results.

Such reports prepared by searchers , covering around two-thirds of the overall applications awaiting first actions (as of fiscal year 2020), help examiners significantly reduce their workloads in understanding complex technical contents of respective patent applications and, where necessary, supplementing prior art searches.

Outsourcing prior art searches continues to be a key measure to enhance productivity in our examinations even amid the COVID-19.

Patent Examination responding to the COVID-19 (25 May 2021)

Patent examination at the JPO has not been prolonged despite the COVID-19 crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the operational environment of patent examination, for instance, enhancing the teleworking policy for examiners. The JPO maintains its examination speed even after the COVID-19 outbreak by upgrading its in-house developed support system for telecommuting patent examiners. Applications where PPH or accelerated/super-accelerated examinations are requested remain on the right track.

Also, the JPO started to deliver an improved service aiming at smoother communication, by allowing online interviews between applicants and examiners using a web application even while examiners are working from home.

The JPO will continue its every effort to maintain the prompt examinations even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funds-in-Trust Japan Industrial Property Global (FIT Japan IP Global) (18 May 2021)

Japan, together with WIPO, supports the institutionalization of IP systems in developing countries.

The government of Japan (GOJ), through the JPO, has been making voluntary contributions to WIPO since 1987, creating a trust fund for cooperation in the field of Industrial Property (IP). When the supporting area was expanded in 2019, it was rearranged as “Funds-in-Trust Japan Industrial Property Global (FIT Japan IP Global)”. Over the past 34 years, GOJ has contributed a total amount of approximately 85 million CHF and provided assistance to more than 80 countries.

Human resources development and technical assistance activities under the FIT Japan include:

  • sending about 400 experts to 38 countries
  • inviting over 1,800 of personnel as trainees from over 60 countries
  • awarding scholarships to about 200 dedicated learners in the IP field
  • digitizing over 400 thousand items of paper documents for advancing IP information systems

In recent years, Japan has supported branding projects for traditional local products in Africa to achieve the sustainable development using IP. Cases of Taita basket in Kenya and Chobe basket in Botswana are examples of good practice, where JPO and other relevant bodies helped local people acquire and leverage collective trademarks.

Japan will continue to render assistance to developing countries for the IP systems consolidation and capacity building in close liaison with WIPO.

WIPO GREEN (11 May 2021)

Do you know WIPO GREEN, an initiative designed for sustainable development?

WIPO GREEN is an online platform for green technology exchange launched in 2013 by WIPO, who intends to contribute to achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a specialized agency of the UN. The platform is realized in response to a proposal by the Japan Intellectual Property Association (JIPA), a non-profit, non-governmental organization representing industries and IP system users in Japan. Through its online database and regional activities, WIPO GREEN connects environmentally friendly technology seekers and providers.

Over 120 organizations have joined the international network as partners, offering support and advice on its endeavors.

At present, a total of 29 partners from Japan, the largest number in the world, have participated WIPO GREEN. The JPO became its partner on February 19, 2020.

We will work together with WIPO, WIPO Japan Office and other partners to support activities of WIPO GREEN and continuously strive to facilitate the green technology diffusion across the globe.

* Numbers indicated above is as of April, 2021.

World IP Day (27 April 2021)

April 26 is the World Intellectual Property (IP) Day.

On April 26, 1970, the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) entered into force.
WIPO’s member states designated the day as World IP Day in 2000. The JPO has been enhancing its cooperative relationship with WIPO for over 45 years. The Funds-in-Trust Japan Industrial Property Global is one of such examples. Under the scheme, the JPO has provided assistance to more than 80 countries by welcoming trainees and sending its own experts. In addition, the JPO participates as a partner in WIPO GREEN to promote environmental technologies. Furthermore, the JPO, in collaboration with WIPO Japan Office, contributes to making the IP system more user-friendly across the world.

The JPO will continue to cooperate with WIPO to support your global business.

Invention Day in Japan (20 April 2021)

On April 18, 136 years ago, the patent system was institutionalized in Japan.

On April 18, 1885, the Patent Monopoly Act (the predecessor of the current Patent Act) was enacted, and the patent system in Japan started. Commemorating this, in 1954, April 18 was marked with white stone as Invention Day to raise public awareness of industrial property right system. The past 136 years have witnessed a variety of technological innovations and inventions, making our lives more comfortable and prosperous. The JPO will continue to contribute to the development of industry by inspiring the creativity of inventors through proper granting of the industrial property rights.

On this occasion, take some time to learn about the industrial property right system exploring the future.

JPO Status Report 2021 (13 April 2021)

The JPO Status Report 2021 carries information on the statistics and the achievements of the JPO’s various measures for the year 2020.

The JPO publishes its Status Report in March every year. It is designed to introduce its initiatives along with the latest statistical information on intellectual property (IP) in Japan and abroad. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the JPO measures and policies, including its efforts and outcomes as to the examination speed and quality, as well as its approach toward harmonizing the IP system or practices globally in cooperation with other offices.

You will get the picture of what we are today.

Search System for Patents using AI (6 April 2021)

The JPO has developed a system for searching patent documents worldwide using AI.

With patent applications rising globally, about three million more patent publications are added annually to the documents subject to prior art search. The JPO has developed a system called “ADPAS” for patent documents retrieval with the aid of AI technologies (patent registered). Through this system, over 30 million patent documents from around the world have been classified by Japanese retrieval index (FI and F-term). Now JPO examiners can conduct a collective search of such abundant foreign documents across linguistic borders.

The JPO will continue to improve ADPAS and provide efficient and quality patent examination results.

The One Portal Dossier (OPD) (30 March 2021)

Need to check respective prosecution histories of a family of patent applications?

Dossier is a collection of documents containing information on a patent application and its prosecution. The One Portal Dossier (OPD) offers a one-stop service for electronically accessing dossier information of entire family applications among the IP5 offices (CNIPA, EPO, JPO, KIPO and USPTO) and also PCT international applications. The JPO played a leading role in the establishment of the system. It helps streamline the examination process by enabling IP5 examiners to cross-reference dossier information. In order to benefit users, such information has been accessible to the public worldwide as well.

Go to the J-PlatPat website and try OPD retrieval!

Japan Platform for Patent Information (J-PlatPat) (23 March 2021)

Japan Platform for Patent Information (J-PlatPat) makes available a one-stop search service for intellectual property publications.

National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT), an independent administrative agency associated with JPO, provides a platform named “J-PlatPat” as a free online retrieval service for intellectual property information. On its website, you have access to publications from all administrative jurisdictions under the JPO (patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks) by a simple keyword/number search or a more advanced search. You can also check the prosecution history of individual applications, including trial/appeal proceedings. Such information is available in English through machine translation for the convenience of overseas users.

Visit the J-PlatPat and use the intellectual property information efficiently!

PPH Portal Site (16 March 2021)

Have you had a chance to explore our PPH Portal site yet?

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 operates the PPH Portal site providing statistical information such as average pendency and grant rate of PPH applications. The site also provides easy access to the PPH procedural guidelines of participating IP Offices. Through the portal, you can efficiently obtain information from more than 50 Offices worldwide.

If you're considering using PPH, make sure you check it out!

PPH Portal

  • Figure1: IP Offices Participating in the PPH (As of Jan. 2020)
    Figure1: IP Offices Participating in the PPH (As of January 2020)
  • Figure2: Effect of the PPH
    Figure2: Effect of the PPH

Collective Examinations for IP Portfolio Supporting Business Strategy (9 March 2021)

Your new product/service relates to a number of inventions, designs and trademarks, doesn’t it?

In normal examination process, respective applications are examined separably, making it difficult for you to be notified of examination results of multiple applications collectively. Under the “Collective Examinations for IP Portfolio Supporting Business Strategy (hereinafter referred to as Collective Examinations),” however, a team of JPO examiners handles a group of various applications pertaining to your inventions and also designs/trademarks as well, where indicated. Through close communication within the team, examinations will be conducted concurrently taking account of the input on your business strategy to be supported by the whole applications. The collective examination allows you to smoothly develop your business, ensuring timely acquisition of reliable rights.

Why not request the collective examination to build a strong IP portfolio?

Interviews with Examiners (2 March 2021)

JPO examiners proactively conduct interviews to facilitate communication with applicants.

Interviews with examiners can be requested at any phase of the prosecution free of charge. In 2019, roughly a total of 4,000 interviews were performed.

To meet user needs, the video conferencing system is also available, allowing applicants and patent attorneys to participate using their own PCs from their homes/offices. Such online interviews are effectively utilized in response to the situation with the COVID-19 as well.

You can consult with our examiners from your office/home!

International Search Reports by the JPO under PCT (16 February 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!

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 (9 February 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 (2 February 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 January 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 January 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 January 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:

Archive

[Last updated 27 September 2022]

Contact Us

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