FAQ

November 21, 2016

What type of information goes into a Japanese patent application?

When drafting a patent application one of the most important points is the scope of the claims which describes the invention the patent will cover.  Drafting the claims too narrowly can lead to a patent that only protects a very specific invention, allowing others to make slight changes to the invention and avoid patent infringement.  However, drafting the scope too wide may result in the patent application being rejected or later overturned in court.  It is important to reach the right balance of these two approaches to provide the maximum protection for the invention.
November 2, 2016

How do you license a patent in Japan?

One of the most effective ways to successfully monetize a patent is to license it to another party.  In exchange for a royalty or set fee, a third party can make or sell products that include the patented invention.  There are two main types of licenses in Japan: Exclusive Licenses and Non-Exclusive Licenses.
October 13, 2016

Is it possible to patent an invention that is already known to others?

One of the main requirements to obtain a patent is that the invention not be known to the public.  This prevents people from patenting inventions that are not special and unique to the inventor.  Therefore, it is important to keep an invention secret until you’ve had a chance to discuss patenting it with an attorney.
September 14, 2016

Is it possible to search for registered patents in Japan?

Access to patent information isn’t just important for inventors looking to protect their inventions but also for companies looking to license new technology.  Therefore, the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training runs an online search tool called the Patent Licensing Information Database that freely allows the public to search for information about registered patents.  There is no fee to use the service and no registration is required.