Are business methods covered under Japanese patent law?

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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.

The exception to this rule is business methods that require some software or other physical invention as part of the business method.  If the business method requires some sort of interaction with a patentable invention in an original manner, both can be protected together.

If you have a question about patenting a business method in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.