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.
Winning a copyright infringement action in Japan usually entitles the copyright owner to money damages from the infringing party. The three main types of damages awarded in copyright infringement cases are: damages based on the unlawful profit, damages based on the lost profit and damages based upon a reasonable license fee. Which type of damages a copyright owner chooses to pursue can have a big impact on the amount of money recovered in successful litigation.
Copyright infringement is when a party other than the copyright owner makes an unauthorized reproduction of the copyright. While this issue may seem fairly straightforward, it is important for the copyright owner to collect the necessary evidence before pursuing a claim. The copyright owner should be able to show that the infringing party knew about the copyright, the infringing work is similar and that the infringing party profited from the unauthorized use of the copyright.
Although the patent application process weeds out most fraudulent applications sometimes patents are granted to the wrong person by mistake. This may be the result of a misunderstanding or someone acting with a bad motive. In either case, inventors who feel that that a patent was granted incorrectly may bring an action in court to invalidate it.