If a patented invention needs approval from a safety agency before it can be marketed, does any extra time get added to the length of the patent?

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Certain patented inventions may require approval from a government agency, such as those regulating consumer products, medical devices or food, before they are allowed to be sold to the public.  This period of waiting for approval unfairly cuts into the patent term and lowers the profit an inventor can expect to make.  Therefore, patents in this situation may be extended for a further period of up to five more years.

Under normal circumstances, a patent in Japan will last for 20 years.  While this may seem like a long time, the extra five years can make a big difference in terms of establishing a product in the marketplace.

If you have questions about the term of a patent right in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.