Japan Patent Office

Japan Patent Office

The Japan Patent Office (JPO; 特許庁 "Tokkyochō") is a Japanese governmental agency in charge of industrial property right affairs, under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The Japan Patent Office is located in Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda, Tokyo and is one of the world's largest patent offices.

The Japan Patent Office's mission is to promote growth of the Japanese economy and industry by administering the laws relating to patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks. (Copyright affairs are business of the Agency for Cultural Affairs.) In 2005, the Japan Patent Office received 427,078 patent applications, 11,386 utility model applications, 39,254 design applications, and 125,807 trademark applications; it registered 122,944 patents, 10,573 utility model rights, 32,633 design rights, and 97,939 trademark rights in the same year. [http://www.jpo.go.jp/shiryou_e/toushin_e/kenkyukai_e/kenkyukai_e_list.htm]

For more than 30 years, the Japan Patent Office has been notorious for its slow patent examination. Applicants can expect to wait approximately 30 months to receive a first examination letter from JPO after they request it. Also, some applicants have criticized JPO for the brevity of examination rejection letters, often charging that they are so perfunctory that the stated reasons for refusal cannot be made out.

The JPO cooperates with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) as one of the Trilateral Patent Offices.


The Japan Patent Office is headed by a commissioner and consists of seven departments: [http://www.jpo.go.jp/shoukai_e/soshiki_e/sosikie.htm]
* General Affairs Department
* Trademark, Design, and Administrative Affairs Department, in charge of examining trademark right applications, design right applications and formalities check of all applications including patent applications
* First Patent Examination Department, examining patent applications related to applied physics, optics, and architecture
* Second Patent Examination Department, examining patent applications related to machinery
* Third Patent Examination Department, examining patent applications related to chemistry, pharmacy, and biotechnology
* Fourth Patent Examination Department, examining patent applications related to electronics, telecommunication, and information technology
* Appeals Department

The commissioner of the JPO is appointed from higher officials of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and generally changes in at most two years. The present commissioner is Makoto Nakajima (中嶋 誠 "Nakajima Makoto"), succeeding in September 2005 Hiroshi Ogawa (小川 洋 "Ogawa Hiroshi") who had been in the place since July 2004.


During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate discouraged inventions in order to preserve stability of the feudal society. In fact, Tokugawa Yoshimune, the eighth shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty, decreed in 1721 the "Ban on Novelty" (新規御法度 "shinki gohatto"), which was intended to prohibit everything novel, especially clothing of rich design.

In 1868, the Tokugawa shogunate ended and a new reformist government took its place (the Meiji Restoration). The government studied the Great Powers and adopted a national policy of catching them up in various government areas. Industrial property rights were recognized as a means for achieving the policy.

The first patent law in Japan was thus established in 1871, though it was abandoned in the next year. Today, the founding date of Japanese patent law and of the Japan's patent office is considered to be April 18, 1885, when the "Patent Monopoly Act" (專賣特許條例 "senbai tokkyo jōrei") was enacted. In 1899, Japan acceded to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Takahashi Korekiyo was the first commissioner of the JPO.

The first patent was granted for Hotta Zuisho (堀田 瑞松), a lacquerware craftsman, on 1885-08-14. The patent granted to him was for an anticorrosive paint containing lacquer, which effectively prevented ship bottom from corrosion.

In 1978, Japan acceded to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). In 1980, the JPO adopted the International Patent Classification, discarding its own patent classification.


The Japan Patent Office (JPO), the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) are sometimes referred to as "Asian Trilateral Offices". Fact|date=January 2008

See also

* Japanese patent law
* F-term, a patent classification used by JPO
* Intellectual Property High Court

* Trilateral Patent Offices
* European Patent Office (EPO)
* United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

External links

* [http://www.jpo.go.jp/ Japan Patent Office]

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