The Japan Patent Office released an annual report 2019 on the situation of Japanese patent applications. We have picked up some of the topics which we think are of interest to our clients.
Trends in numbers of Japanese patent applications and PCT applications
In 2018, 313,567 patent applications were filed in Japan. The number of Japanese patent applications is broadly flat from the year of 2015.
Meanwhile, the number of PCT international applications filed before the Japan Patent Office is consistently on the rise, and in 2018, 48,630 PCT applications were filed, which was the record-high.
Patent Examination in Japan is very quick
The Japan Patent Office sets a goal to be achieved by Year 2023: 1) First Office Action within 10 months; and 2) Final Decision (Grant or Rejection) within 14 months. In order to achieve the goal, the patent examination at the JPO is getting quick. According to the annual report 2019, it was almost achieved in 2018, 9.3 months until a fist office action is issued and 14.1 months until a final decision. Please note that, as to item 2), cases where second office actions are issued and applicants extend term for reply are excluded.
Trends in Biotech Patent Applications in IP5
The number of patent applications in the field of biotechnology drastically decreased in 2016 (based on priority date) in Japan, US, Korea, and EP. On the other hand, in China, the number of patent applications in most fields increased in 2016, while it decreased in biotech field only slightly though. The number of applications in China is far more than the total of those in the other countries.