Japan IP News


Content of Revisions

The Japanese Patent Law has been revised in May this year to abolish the Opposition system while revising the Invalidation Trial Procedure and to largely raise the official fee for the Request for Examination while reducing the annuities. Further, the condition for unity of invention will be made clear. The abolishment of the Opposition system and the clarification of the unity of invention will be effective on January 1, 2004 and the revision of the official fees will be effective on April 1, 2004.

  1. Abolishment of Opposition System & Revision of Invalidation Trial Procedure:
    1-1) By the revision of the Japanese Patent Law in May this year, the current Opposition system has been completely abolished and no opposition is possible from the next year. At the same time, the Invalidation trial system has been amended so as to open a route for any person to request the invalidation trial for an existing patent at any time even after the expiration of the patent.
    1-2) Even a person without any interest regarding the subject patent can request the invalidation trial at any time on the basis of any invalidation reasons except that the person should have an interest with respect to the subject patent in case the invalidation reason relates to the ownership of that patent.
  2. Revision of Correction Procedure of Patent:
    2-1) A correction trial cannot be requested for a patent while an invalidation trial is pending for the same patent. This is the same as the current correction procedure.
    2-2) A request for correction is allowed either only within a prescribed period from a request for an invalidation trial or from a notice of an invalidation reason, or 90 days from raise of an Appeal at the Tokyo High Court against the invalidation trial decision. This is different from the current procedure since the revised procedure limits the time period allowing the request for correction.
    2-3) An amendment is allowed for an invalidation reason raised by a requestor for that invalidation trial even when such amendment causes a change of gist of the invalidation reason. This is new since such amendment is not allowed under the current invalidation trial procedure.
  3. Clarification of Unity of Invention:
     A plurality of inventions can be claimed as far as those inventions have a certain technical relationship with each other. Under the current standard of unity of invention, those inventions having the same object are allowed to claim in the same patent application. The JPO says that this revision complies with the PCT practice.
  4. Revision of the Official Fees:
    The Official Fees will be changed as seen from the followings:
    Fees(JPY) Current Fees
    (Until March 31, 2004)
    Revised Fees
    (From April 1, 2004)
    Basic filing ¥21,000 ¥16,000
    Request for Examination ¥84,300+¥2,000n ¥168,600+¥4,000n
    1st-3rd annuities ¥13,000+¥1,100n ¥2,600+¥200n
    4th-6th annuities ¥20,300+¥1,600n ¥8,100+¥600n
    7th-9th annuities ¥40,600+¥3,200n ¥24,300+¥1,900n
    10th-25th annuities ¥81,200+¥6,400n ¥81,200+¥6,400n
    *Where n = a number of claims.