IP Laws & Practices

IP Laws & Practices

About Japanese Practices

Law & RulesOutline of Patent Law Amendment in 2021

A bill of a revision of the Japanese Patent Law was passed by the Diet on May 14, 2021, and the revised Patent Law was promulgated on May 21, 2021.

1. Outline of Main Revisions (1) Amicus Brief system is newly introduced. The new system allows courts to broadly call for opinions from third parties as Amicus Curiae, in patent infringement litigations.

(2) The conditions to restore the rights which have been forfeited due to the lapse of the due date are dramatically relaxed. This revision applies to several procedures, such as, submission of translation when entering the Japanese national phase, claiming priorities, and filing a request for examination. The lapsed procedures can be restored if the lapse was just unintentional, like in the U.S. Only a short statement is required, and no evidence is necessary. However, fee for the restoration of JPY 297,000 (about $2,700) is required to be paid.

(3) The patentee is not required to obtain a consent from non-exclusive licensees for correcting or abandoning a patent.

(4) The interested parties are allowed to attend oral proceedings in an invalidation trial via a video conference system without physically appearing before the JPO.

(5) The structures of patent and other fees are revised, by which annuities will be increased. The specific amounts of annuities will be prescribed by the Cabinet Order later.

(6) The patentee is exempted from surcharges of annuities if it fails to meet the due date for the payment of the annuities, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, or other similar reasons.

2. Enforcement Date The revised law shall be enforced from the date determined by the Cabinet Order within a period not exceeding 1 year on items (1), (3) and (5), 2 years on item (2), and 6 months on items (4) and (6), from the day of promulgation.

For more details, please refer to METI’s website below: