Japan's new patent rules
Kenji Sugimura of Sugimura International Patent & Trademark Attorneys summarises recent changes in patent practice in Japan
There have been various changes to the Japanese patent laws
since 2006. They have been designed to: increase the
possibility of licensing intellectual property; accelerate the
patent examination process; harmonise the Japanese patent
system with the systems of other countries; promote
user-friendliness of the patent system in Japan; and clarify
the scope of patentable subject matter in the medical
In 2008, Japanese patent laws were revised to recognise
provisional exclusive licenses and provisional non-exclusive
licenses during the patent application phase. A registration
system for such licenses was also created.
These new provisions allow a patentee to license
intellectual property even before the issuance of a patent.
Where a licensee registers a provisional exclusive or
non-exclusive licence, the licensee can protect its rights to
the provisionally licensed technology against a third party
even before the issuance of a patent.
This means a patentee now has the ability to...
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