Patent Japan

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New Patent License Registration System

On December 13, 2006, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry asked for comments on a new registration system of patent comprehensive licenses.

Under current Japanese law, when licensors transfer patent rights or they go bankrupt, licensees are protected only on the condition that their license contracts are registered at Japan Patent Office. However, comprehensive license contracts are widespread in practice which do not identify the patent numbers, or which are not registered for keeping secret to competitors.

Therefore, in order to protect licensees of those patent license contracts, METI proposed a new registration system, which will not require specific patent numbers for registration, and will be disclosed only when disputes should arise.

Comments will be accepted until January 11, 2007.

Monday, December 18, 2006

International Standard Strategy

On December 6, 2006, Strategic Council on Intellectual Property issued a 39-page report called "International Standard Comprehensive Strategy."

It recognized the importance of the strategy for acquiring international standards, considering market globalization, the establishment of WTO/TBT (Technical Barrier to Trade), increase of patent-related international standards, and so on.

The report (available only in Japanese) is composed of five chapters, namely;
(i) change of awareness of industry;
(ii) strengthening of national level activity;
(iii) human resource development;
(iv) strengthening of partnership with Asian countries; and
(v) contribution to fair rulemaking.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


On November 25, 2006, Korean Intellectual Property Office released a new version of K-PION (Korean Patent Information Online Network), which provides the records of prosecution history at KIPO in English by machine translation. This system is available at patent offices worldwide, including USPTO, EPO and JPO.

JPO already offers the same system, under the name of AIPN (Advanced Industrial Property Network) for other patent offices.

See my previous blog for related information.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Trade and Economy Meeting between TW and JP

On November 29 and 30, 2006, the Trade and Economy Meeting was held in Taipei between Taiwan's East Asian Friendship Association and Japan's Interchange Association.

The summary of the Meeting was as follows.
(i) Requests from Taiwan
(a) Agreement for IP Protection
Japan responded that it would be difficult to conclude an inter-governmental agreement, and that it is appropriate to deepen cooperation under the present frameworks.
(b) Patent Filing in Chinese
Japan responded that it will consider it, taking into account the ratification of Patent Law Treaty.
(ii) Requests from Japan
(a) Alleviation of Patentees' Burden of Proof for IP Infringement
Taiwan responded that it will consider presumption of negligence, abolishment of patent marking requirement, etc, at the time of patent law revision.
(b) External Examiners
Taiwan responded that it will decrease them to 80 in 2007.

Monday, December 11, 2006

JPO's Agreement with Thailand's DIP

On November 30, 2006, it was uploaded on the website of Japan Patent Office that the memorandum of agreement was exchanged between the Commissioners of JPO and of Department of Intellectual Property of Thailand.

Based of the memorandum, the following measures are confirmed.
(i) Applicants can request preferred examination in case that a third party is involved in claimed inventions;
(ii) applicants can also request it in case that examination results in foreign countries are provided; and,
(iii) third parties can submit evidence after the publication.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Commissioners' Meeting among CN, KR and JP

On December 4, 2006, the Commissioners' Meeting was held in Beijing among State Intellectual Property Office (China), Korean Intellectual Property Office and Japan Patent Office.

The points to have been discussed are
(i) electronical exchange of priority document (already available between KIPO and JPO) ;
(ii) dissemination of patent document in English (already available in KIPO and JPO) ;
(iii) enhancement of exchange of statistical data; and
(iv) symposium on the support for small and medium enterprises to be held in Japan.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Commissioner's Meeting of Korea and Japan

On November 27, 2006, the Commissioners' Meeting was held in Tokyo between Korean Intellectual Property Office and Japan Patent Office.

Main topics to be discussed were as follows.
1) Patent Prosecution Highway
It was announced that the Patent Prosecution Highway (see the same scheme with US) will start on April 1, 2007, between KIPO and JPO.
2) Examiner's Meetings
It was agreed to have patent examiner's meetings in some technical fields.
3) Cooperation among KR, CH and JP
It was agreed to explore the cooperation among KIPO, SIPO and JPO, such as the exchange of search and examination results.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Commissioners' Meeting between China and Japan

On November 22, 2006, the Commissioners' Meeting was held in Tokyo between China and Japan.

Main topics to be discussed were as follows.
1) Chinese Patent Law Revision
Japan requested (i) the clarification of patent infringement criteria, (ii) the clarification of administrative intervention in patent enforcement proceedings, etc.
2) China's National IP Strategy
China announced that it will compile the National Intellectual Property Strategy next year, after hearing public comments.
3) Work Sharing
Japan proposed to start the exchange of search and examination results between SIPO and JPO.
4) Access to Chinese Patent
China announced that it has a plan to offer patent document dissemination system by way of automatic translation in 2008.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

B+ Group Meeting

On November 20 and 21, 2006, the Meeting of the B+ Group (developed countries) was held on the issue of patent harmonization, as mentioned yesterday.
Experts were gathered from 24 countries and 2 organizations to have a working group meeting on patent harmonization. It was agreed that a treaty text will be drafted based on the outlines proposed by the Chairperson, while the request for amendment would be taken note.

The Outlines of the Treaty
1) First-to-File
Draft Treaty: First-to-File
(Current JP & EP: First-to-File)
(Current US: First-to-Invent)
2) Grace period
Draft Treaty: Twelve months, Automatic
(Current JP & EP: Six months, Declaration required)
(Current US: Twelve months, Automatic)
3) Secret Prior Art
Draft Treaty: Destroys Novelty & Inventive Step, without Self-Collision
(Current JP: Destroys Only Novelty, without Self-Collision)
(Current EP: Destroys Only Novelty, with Self-Collision)
(Current US: Destroys Novelty & Inventive Step, without Self-Collision)

It is scheduled that a plenary session on this matter will be held in May or June 2007, at the Commissioner level.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Trilateral Conference

From November 13 to 17, 2006, the trilateral conference among European Patent Office, United States Trademark and Patent Office, Japan Patent Office, and as an observer World Intellectual Property Organization was held in Tokyo. The Summary of the meeting is posted on JPO's website.

Following the Conference, a meeting of the developed countries on patent harmonization was held on November 20 and 21. On this meeting, the text of the patent harmonization treaty was discussed at the working level. I will summarize the discussion results later on this blog.