Recent Situation in Japan | Firm & Japan Patent Office:
We sincerely hope that you, your colleagues and family are safe and well during the global Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.
In view of the ongoing challenges, we would like you to know that we have completed our firm’s system transition to home working. Now all of our colleagues, including patent attorneys, administrative staffs, and accountants, are able to work remotely, and they come to the office only if deemed necessary. Meanwhile, our head office continues to be open and one patent attorney works in the office every day so that we reassure our clients that business continues as usual.
We actually anticipate that there is a possibility that the Government of Japan will declare a state of emergency very soon, and in that case, it is highly probable that a lockdown will be issued in Tokyo, and also in Kanagawa where our head office is located. However, even if the lockdown is issued tomorrow, on April 1st, we believe we will be able to deal with the difficult situation, that is, to close our offices immediately and to provide our services as usual including submitting documents before the Japan Patent Office through our protocols and infrastructure remotely.
For your information, as of March 31, 2020, the Japan Patent Office announces that they remain open as usual for all procedures. Please see below link: https://www.jpo.go.jp/e/news/koho/covid19.html
We are keeping a watch on various developments that are taking place in Japan in this trying time and will keep you informed accordingly. If we can assist with any IP matter in Japan, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
We hope you are safe and healthy during this time.
Update on April 6, 2020 | Japan Patent Office Announce:
As of April 3, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) announces that they still remain open as usual for all procedures.
Meanwhile, the JPO announces on April 6 that, even if the applicant fails to submit required documents before the deadline due to the Coronavirus-related cause, it is possible to get permission for the late filing as a remedy by explaining the situation.
Please note that a request for the permission must be filed within a predetermined additional deadline from the time the cause disappeared. For example, (i) annuity/registration fee must be paid within 14 days, (ii) a request for examination must be filed within 2 months, (iii) PCT-related documents must be filed within 6 months, etc.
For more details, please see below link at the JPO website: Handling of Procedures Affected by COVID-19 Coronavirus
Update on April 6, 2020 | Preparing for State of Emergency:
Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Abe, is now preparing to declare a state of emergency tomorrow, April 7 (Tue). The declaration could last for about 1 month and would be applied to Tokyo and Osaka, as well as surrounding prefectures including Kanagawa, where our offices are located.
Update on April 7, 2020 | State of Emergency Declared:
Government of Japan finally declared state of emergency today. It comes into force at the hour of 0:00 am of April 8 (Wed), Japan time.
At our firm, only one patent attorney still comes to the office every day and all of the other colleagues completely shifted to home working. We believe that we are able to continue to provide our services as usual.
However, due to the unreliable postal services, please be informed that we might change our practices regarding the Power of Attorney (at the filing stage) and the Certificate of Patent/Trademark (at the registration stage). We will provide you with detailed information for each case.
The state of emergency is currently planned to last until May 6 (Wed). For your information, in Japan, we will have a holiday week (“Golden Week”) soon, and most of the offices including the Japan Patent Office will be closed on April 29 and May 4-6.
This is a tough situation, but we hope things get better soon.
Update on April 8, 2020 | Japan Patent Office Announce:
As of April 8, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) announces that they still remain open as usual for all electronic and postal procedures. They halt the services over the counter, but patent attorneys usually do not utilize them.
Update on April 16, 2020 | Japan Patent Office Announce:
As of April 16, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) announces that they still remain open as usual for all procedures.
For more details, please see below link at the JPO website: Application Procedures relation to the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
If you wish to get permission for the late filings regarding certain procedures, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Update on April 24, 2020 | Japan Patent Office Announce:
On April 24, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) added a postscript (only in Japanese as of April 28) regarding the procedures to get permission for the late filing of some documents after the deadline already lapsed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The important points compared to the normal permission are the following:
- Certificate is not required; and
- Chance of success is expected to be high.
For more details, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update on May 4, 2020 | State of Emergency Extended:
Government of Japan extended the state of emergency from the originally planned date of May 6 to a new date of May 31.
Update on May 14, 2020 | State of Emergency Lifted:
Government of Japan lifted the state of emergency for 39 among the 47 prefectures ahead of its planned expiration of May 31. Urban regions including Tokyo, Osaka, and Kanagawa still remain under the state of emergency.
Update on May 25, 2020 | State of Emergency Lifted:
We are pleased to announce that the Government of Japan finally lifted the state of emergency for all of the 47 prefectures!
Update on July 16, 2020 | Japan Patent Office Announce:
The Japan Patent Office (JPO) added Q&As confirming that the late filing procedure may also be applied to a response to the Provisional Refusal under the Madrid Protocol.
In normal procedures, if you receive a provisional refusal from the JPO against your international registration, you will have to file an argument and/or an amendment within 3 months. However, you might get permission for the late filing even after the 3 month period by submitting a written statement explaining the reason why you could not timely file the documents under the Coronavirus disruption. Please be informed that a Power of Attorney can be filed later.
Update on July 30, 2020 | Second Wave of Infections:
It’s been almost two months since the Japanese government lifted the state of emergency due to the Coronavirus. However, we are surely experiencing the second wave of infections. At our firm, we have decided to maintain the framework where only one patent attorney works in the head office and the other colleagues work from home on the principle that the health is above everything else, which we believe leads to the clients’ benefit.