When someone is trying to patent something in Japan that is not unique or for some other reason should not be patentable, third parties are allowed to intervene in the patent application process to argue against granting the patent. These interventions can even be filed anonymously and, if successful, will prevent the granting of a patent for products that are not unique or not patentable for some other reason.
While Japan’s Design Law provides much of the same protection as other intellectual property laws around the world, it also has a few unique elements that provide protections not found in other countries. For example, since 2006, the Japanese Design Law also protects the design of screens for cell phones, DVD recorders and other electronics that are not normally subject to protection in other countries.
Most owners of copyrights will be interested in the civil penalties associated with unjust enrichment based upon their work. However, Japanese law also authorizes criminal penalties in certain circumstances of copyright infringement.
Not all unauthorized uses of copyrighted material can be the basis for a infringement litigation. Some types of behavior that would otherwise be infringing are allowed under the Copyright Act. For example, use of copyrighted material in schools for educational purposes is generally allowed under the Copyright Act. Therefore, if a teacher copies passages out of a novel to create homework for his or her students, the copyright owner cannot sue the teacher for infringement.