For an invention to be patentable under Japanese law, the invention must have been “created.” Creation requires some sort of human intervention in the process of generating the invention. Therefore, simply discovering a natural product does not count as “creation” and natural products cannot generally be patented.
Plaintiffs who feel that their patent was denied improperly can appeal the rejection of a patent application through the Japan Patent Office rather than resort to the courts. This appeal must be made within three months of the rejection.
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.
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.