Patent law in Japan covers inventions that “utilize the laws of nature.” This qualification makes Japanese patent law unique and means that inventions that the products of a person’s mind, rules to a game or scientific laws cannot be patented. Therefore, business method patents, which are designed to protect an intangible business idea, are generally not recognized in Japan.
Determining whether a debtor is a real, registered company is an important first step when collecting a debt. Many individuals who have never incorporated their business will still print business cards with a business’s name and logo in order to seem more like a reputable company. However, searching the list of registered companies in Japan provides a quick and effective way to determine whether the debtor is a real company or just an individual pretending to own an incorporated business.
The Japan Legal Support Center (JLSC, also known as Houterasu, (法テラス) is public corporation providing legal aid loans to low income individuals. The JLSC was established under the Comprehensive Legal Support Act passed in 2004. Qualifying individuals can make inquiries to local law firms regarding civil, divorce or criminal legal issues or a variety of other potential legal problems and have their legal fees prepaid as a loan from the JLSC.
Similar to a lawsuit in court, parties to an arbitration are allowed to have legal counsel represent their interests to the panel of arbitrators. However, while legal representation in litigation is limited to attorneys licensed in Japan, there is no rule in the Arbitration Act preventing foreign lawyers from representing clients in an arbitration.