Does the Japanese patent litigation system involve large amounts of discovery?

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Patent litigation in America usually involves many months of discovery with lawyers pouring over emails, faxes, technical documents and notes looking for the “smoking gun” piece of evidence. This process is designed to ensure that all evidence is available at trial and the correct verdict is reached. However, it also greatly increasing attorney’s fees as teams of lawyers bill hours churning through documents.

Japan does not have a discovery system nearly as elaborate or permissive as America’s. At the start of the lawsuit the suing party will send a letter to the infringing party informing them that they are being sued and they should keep all relevant evidence. In cases where the defendant is uncooperative the court may either issue an order to preserve evidence or conduct proceedings to have the judge view potential evidence before deciding whether it is relevant to the case. This keeps costs lower for the parties and speeds up the lawsuit.

If you have any questions about enforcing IP rights in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.