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.
However, there is an exception to this general rule. Creating a new organism through an artificial process would be protected under Japanese patent law. Furthermore, using a machine or chemical to separate a good microorganism from its naturally occurring environment could also be considered patentable.
If you have questions about what types of creations can be patented, please contact our office for a legal consultation.