In Japan, the a patent application merely starts the process of obtaining a patent for your invention and inventors should be aware that there are additional steps to the process after the application is filed. Specifically, one of the most important steps following the application is filing a patent examination request in Japan.
The Japan Patent Office will not examine a patent without being requested to do so and if the applicant does not submit a request within 3 years of filing his or her application the application will be considered withdrawn and no patent will be granted.
For international applicants the request must be submitted within three years of the international filing date, rather than the date of the Japanese patent application. It is important to have the advice of counsel when making patent applications to ensure that no important dates or procedures are missed unnecessarily.