Patent Japan

Monday, July 10, 2006

From Archives - Revised Patent Law

On March 7, 2006, the draft bill to amend the Design Law, which had been submitted to the 164th regular Diet session, was approved by the Cabinet. Accompanied by this bill, the Patent Law was also revised on the following points.

(1) The time limit to file divisional applications is to be extended. Under the current law, divisional applications can not be filed once grant decisions are made. The revised provision will give applicants the chance to file them during 30 days after the receipt of grant decisions. This could, theoretically speaking, give patentees a strong weapon, as they can “pursue” a prospective infringer, by continuing to file divisional applications with different claims.
(2) New amended claims raising new issues can not be submitted after the first rejection. This means that applicants are required to file a new application as division, when they wish to claim different inventions. The new statute says that amended claims must satisfy the requirement of unity of invention with original claims, which interpretation will be probably issued later on JPO Examination Guidelines.
(3) In the case of foreign language -English- applications, the time limit to file their translations is to be extended to 14 months after the filing date. Now, this period is only two months.

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