Patent Japan

Thursday, July 13, 2006

From Archives - Implementation Plan for Patent Examination

Major points of “Fiscal Year 2006 Implementation Plan for Accomplishing Medium-to-Long-Term Plan Designed to Promote Prompt Patent Examination Process” issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry are as follows;

Goal:
- the number of first actions to be increased from 245,000 (FY2005) to 296,000 (FY2006),
- the waiting period for first actions to kept 25.7 months (FY2005) to 28.0 months (FY2006).

Specific Actions:
1) for strengthening the examination system, the number of examiners will be increased by 110, including fixed-term employees,
2) for the upgrading efficiency, the number of outsourcing prior art searches will be increased by more than 4,000 applications,
3) responding to users’ needs, first actions will be issued within 9 months for all acceralated examination,
4) upgrading Intellectual Property Digital Library, such as upgrading text search function for prior art search,
5) propelling the international cooperation for examination, such as Patent Examination Highways on a trial basis.

You will find it that this plan is quite ambitious, when you look at the increase ratio of first actions (more than 20%, from 245,000 (FY2005) to 296,000 (FY2006)). Also you may wonder why the waiting period for examination will be extended despite of the increased number of examination. It is simply because application backlog is skyrocketing.

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