Japan Patent Attorney

A Japanese patent attorney (benrishi) is an attorney who has a qualification for representing clients in obtaining intellectual property rights such as patents and in procedures relating to patent law and practice before the Japan Patent Office (JPO). Registration as a patent attorney in Japan is administered by the JPAA (Japan Patent Attorneys Association). A […]

Examination Procedure

When a patent application is filed with the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the formality section of the JPO examines if the application meets the formality requirements. When the application does not meet the formality requirements, a formality examiner requests an applicant to amend the application. After 18 months from a filing date, the JPO publishes the patent application.  All the patent applications […]

Patent Protection in Japan

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry promotes structural reform of the Japanese economy and encourages an environment that brings forth new industries. One of the important policies of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is the protection of intellectual property rights. The Japan Patent Office examines patents, utility models, designs and trademarks. The […]

Court System in Japan

In Japan, the Japanese Patent Office and the courts are the government agencies charged with the handling of patent rights. The Japanese Patent Office examines patent applications seeking protection through intellectual property rights, and handles trials concerning invalidation with regard to intellectual property rights granted by the Patent Office. The courts handle litigations relating to […]

Statutory Subject Matter

Invention An invention that receives a patent is ‘a high level creation from technical ideas that utilize natural law’. Inventions can be classified into those for articles (including computer programs) and methods. Method inventions include inventions for methods of manufacturing articles and inventions of methods for other uses (Article 2, all items of Paragraph 3, […]

Industrial Applicability

An invention that is granted a patent must be industrially applicable (Article 29, Main Section, of the Japanese Patent Law). Industrial application is the ability for the invention to be used in general industry. ‘Industry’ is interpreted to have a wide meaning, and includes endeavors other than manufacturing, such as mining, agriculture, fishing, transportation and […]


Article 29, Paragraph 1, of the Japanese Patent Law  is quoted below: Article 29 (Conditions for Patentability) 1. An inventor of an invention that is industrially applicable may be entitled to obtain a patent for the said invention, except for the following: a. inventions that were publicly known in Japan or a foreign country, prior […]

Inventive Step

Article 29, Paragraph 2, of the Japanese Patent Law  is quoted below. Article 29 (Conditions for Patentability) 2. Where, prior to the filing of the patent application, a person ordinarily skilled in the art of the invention would have been able to easily make the invention based on an invention prescribed in any of the […]

Novelty with Whole Content Approach

The content of an invention described in the specification or drawings, including content outside the scope of the claims, is disclosed by the patent being laid open or published in a patent gazette. Even with an application filed before a prior application is laid open or published in a patent gazette, when the content is […]

First to File

Article 39 of the Japanese Patent Law is quoted below: Article 39 (Prior application) 1. Where two or more patent applications claiming identical inventions have been filed on different dates, only the applicant who filed the patent application on the earliest date shall be entitled to obtain a patent for the invention claimed. 2. Where […]