Getting your Patent in Japan
With the highly developed economy in the world, Japan sets itself apart as the global center of a technologically advanced country. As per the data released by IMF and World Bank, Japan is the third-largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and fourth-largest in terms of purchasing power parity. It’s the world’s second-largest developed economy. With such huge economic power, Japan also plays a leading role in the organization such as G7 and G20. With an estimated GDP per capita of around $39,048 and with trillions in foreign exchange reserves, it is having one of the largest consumer markets in the world. This proves that Japan is an undisputed leader in terms of a technologically driven country. Having major hub of Multinational Corporation, there are various other major companies which are making their base in Japan. For all those, it becomes very important that the inventors and the companies must know the procedure for getting a patent in Japan.
[Image source- https://www.jpo.go.jp/e/system/patent/gaiyo/patent.html]
Procedure for Filing Patent in Japan
For initiating your invention for the grant of the patent, the applicant must apply the application with the relevant documents needed to substantiate the invention at the Japan Patent Office (JPO). As is followed by all countries regarding the priority filing, Japan also undertakes a similar procedure whereby the filing of the patent must be done at the priority so that any other inventor must not claim priority over your invention. So it is highly advisable to file the patent as soon as possible. Making your invention public will lead it to be prior art, thereby making the novelty requirement unaddressed.
After applying, the office at the JPO will check with all the necessary formalities and procedural requirements that need to be fulfilled. In case, there are any missing documents, the office will intimate the applicant regarding the same. After 18 months of the date of filing, the JPO will publish the content of the application in the Official Gazette. As followed in other countries, the examination of the patent application will be carried only when a request of examination has been filed by the applicant after paying the requisite fees. In case, if the request for examination has not been filed, the application will automatically be regarded as withdrawal and cannot be patented thereafter.
If the request for examination has been filed, then the JPO will carry out the substantive examination which will be done by an examiner of JPO. This examination will help to ascertain that whether the patent can be patented or not. Few requirements that the examiner will check are:
- Whether the claimed invention is based on a technical idea that utilizes a law of nature,
- Whether it has any industrial applicability,
- Whether the technical idea existed before the filing of the current application,
- Whether the claimed invention could have been easily invented by a person skilled in the art,
- Whether the application is the first to file,
- Whether the claimed invention is liable to contravene public order and morality, and
- Whether the descriptions in the specification conform exactly with the requirements for patentability.
In case, the application does not suffice any requirements, the notification for the refusal will be sent to the applicant who can submit either a written argument or an amendment. For a written argument the inventor can put the reasons as to how the invention differs from the prior art. In case, the applicant submits the amendment, it means the applicant accepts the refusal and will want to change the claims. With the submission of the arguments by the applicant, the examiner will determine whether to take the for the grant of patent and also will scrutinize the argument or amendment being put by the applicant and whether it negates the reason of refusal or not.
If the examiner is satisfied, the patent is granted. If not, then the grant of a patent can be refused. Such refusal can be appealed by the applicant to a collegial body of three or five appeal examiners. The body will scrutinize the appeal and will provide with the appeal decision. The appeal decision can be either for the grant of a patent or the refusal. In case of the final grant, the applicant’s patent right will come into effect and be entered into the Patent Register and the certificate of the patent will be awarded on the satisfaction of patent fees. Subsequently, the content will be published in the Patent Gazette.
Also, after the publication, if any person feels that the patent infringes his/her patent can file to the Commissioner of the JPO an opposition to grant of a patent within six months from the publication date of the patent gazette. This will again be examined by a collegial body of three or five appeal examiners who can decide on the validity of the patent. Also, even if the patent is registered, any interested party can file for the invalidation of the patent which will be again be examined by a collegial body of three or five appeal examiners. In case of dissatisfaction, the aggrieved party can appeal to the Intellectual Property High Court.
The strong experienced team at GPF has helped multiple clients in getting their patents registered in Japan.