Partial revision of the Japanese Patent Law

December 09, 2014
The Act on the Partial Revision of the Japanese Patent Law and Other Laws has been promulgated on May 14, 2014.  The Laws (except for provisions for regional collective trademarks and relating to new Design Law) is expected to be enforced from early 2015.

Here we provide a brief overview of partial revision of the Japanese Patent Law.

1. New Opposition System

A new opposition system against grant of patents will be introduced by revision of the Japanese Patent Law.  Before the revision, anyone may file a request at any time for Trial for patent invalidation.  In order to stabilize patent rights earlier, the opposition system is to be created and the demander of invalidation trial will be restricted only to “interested persons”.

Here is a table showing the overview of Opposition against grant of patent and Trial for patent invalidation.

2. Enhancement of Relief Measures

The Patent Law is to be revised to take relief measures so that applications can be recovered by extending certain periods such as the time limit for filing a divisional application/a converted application due to exceptional unavoidable circumstances such as disasters.  The time limit such as requesting for priority and requesting for the substantial examination can also be remedied if there is an unavoidable reason.

These measures will also be applied to the same cases covered by the Utility Model Law, Design Law, Trademark Law and Law on International Applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

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