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Sometimes having an exclusive patent right isn’t enough to discourage others from producing infringing copies. In these circumstances, sometimes a forcefully worded letter drafted by a lawyer can help resolve the issue. However, sometimes the patent right holder will need to enforce his or her patent right in court.

All patent enforcement cases are heard either in the Osaka or Tokyo district courts. This can be somewhat burdensome for patent holders who live far from these two major metropolitan areas but centralizing the IP related disputes in two main courts allows for a high degree of continuity of decisions and specialization by the judges and staff who work on these cases. In this way, judges and staff can build up experience with the sometimes technical and complicated issues presented by intellectual property enforcement litigation. However, the Japanese practice of rotating judges into new positions every few years somewhat negates the benefit of having a specialized court to hear these cases.

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