Patent Japan

Friday, September 29, 2006

Business Method Patent

On September 28, 2006, Japan Patent Office released a report (available only in Japanese) on the recent trend in business method patent.

I remember the days when BM patent applications were beginning to flood in Japan after the State Street decision at the US Federal Circuit in 1998. The phenomenon is clearly illustrated in the first figure (yellow lines represent the applications for business-related inventions whose characterizing features are not business method, and blue lines are the ones for business method itself).

It should be noted however that the JPO's definitions of patentable subject matters regarding computer-implemented inventions are not so broad as in the US. This figure (blue lines are the number and the ratio of grant decisions, and red lines are those of refused decisions) evidently shows that most of the patent applications are rejected in this field – less than 10% has been allowed after 2003.

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