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Archived updates for Monday, November 14, 2005

Highlights of the JPO Annual Report for 2005

According to the 2005 Annual Report of the Japanese Patent Office, "because the amount of requests for examination exceeds that of the first actions, the number of applications waiting for patent examination continues to increase. In particular, the number of requests for examination in 2004 drastically increased to 330,000 (left) with the effect of the "bump of request", and as a result, the number of applications waiting for patent examination exceeded 600,000, and the waiting period for patent examination reached to be 26 months (below, left). The "bump of request" is expected to continue until 2008, and further extension of the waiting period is inevitable until then."

Meanwhile, of the domestic applications, the rate of decisions to grant a patent for basic application of the priority claims that aim for acquisition of rights outside Japan show a high value of close to 10 percent over the rate of decisions to grant a patent for all applications (bottom, center). Applications filed outside Japan are costly compared to domestic applications, as these involve other considerable expenses such as for translation services. Therefore, with regards to basic application of the priority claims, applicants most likely carefully studies whether there was a necessity to obtain rights and files only applications for important cases that truly required the grant of rights. This indicates that applicants possess the potential ability to judge whether an application really needs to be requested for examination or not. There is therefore a need to ask users to cooperate in doing with domestic applications as they would do with basic application of the priority claims, which is to file applications or request for examination only after having carefully assessed the necessity of receiving patent rights. "

In fact, according to the Intellectual Property Owerners Association, Japanese nationals filed 64,812 patent applications in the U.S. in 2004 while U.S. nationals filed 22,995 applications in Japan. "If true "patent worksharing" were implemented only between Japan and the United States," notes Professor Wegner, where all "home country" applications were examined at home, "this would result in saving the U.S. PTO the examination of nearly 65,000 patent applications per year."
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