The Japan Patent Office (JPO) has published new figures and updates on current legal changes. We take a look at the statistics of current patent applications in Japan and briefly summarize the update of the Japanese Trademark Law:
Patent applications in Japan declining
Let us first look at the statistics of the patent applications received at the JPO: with 318 721 applications in 2015 the trend of the declining number of patent applications is confirmed. Compared with the year 2014, however, the relative proportion of applications examined has increased.
In all, 71.5% of the audited applications patent protection were granted. Comparing the statistics with the rate from 2010 (about 55%) a clear increase can be seen. This suggests that the Japanese are preparing their patent applications better, or that the JPO has become somewhat milder.
A total of 21,858 cases were filed against the 66,599 rejection decisions. Approximately half of the complaints were re-examined by the JPO’s investigators, 6,639 of which were filed and still granted.
|Patent Application Cases||344 598||342 610||342 796||328 436||325 989||318 721|
|Examination Cases||222 693||238 323||274 791||277 079||227 142||235 809|
Reintroduced Patent opposition procedure is used in many cases
On April 1, 2015, the opposition proceedings against patents, following its abolition in 2004, were reinstated in Japan. The following table provides statistics on the objections raised by the Japanese Patent Office for the period between April 2015 and December 2016. Approximately half of the objections were examined. In 55 cases the patents were completely or partly deleted.
|Cases||Ongoing Trials||Revocations||Maintained (after correc-tion)||Maintained (no correction)||Dismissals||Withdrawals|
Revision of the Japanese Trademark Law
On 1 April, new revisions to the Japanese Trademark Law audit guidelines came into effect. Affected are mainly the subjects of Article 4, in which trade marks for which no trade mark registration can be obtained are regulated. For example, according to current court decisions, the following is clarified in the legal text:
- Types of trademarks that violate public order and morality
- Trademarks representing names or pseudonyms of famous persons
Furthermore, the basis for the assessment of the similarity of the marks as regards the pronunciation, concept and similarity as well as trade marks which may cause confusion about the origin of goods or services have been clarified and updated.
Accelerated check of trademark applications
Moreover, the Japanese Patent Office has announced that the usual examination time of four to six months may be shortened to 2 months as an accelerated test in the following cases:
- Basic registrations of international registrations based on the Madrid Protocol
- Applications seeking protection for goods / services and listed in the appendix to the Implementing Regulations of the trademark law
- Applications seeking protection for goods / services listed in the directives for the examination of similar goods / services
Protecting your Trademark against others
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Text: Esaki & Associates Newsletter May 2017
Pictures: JPO / Twitter