Era Name Impact on Japanese Application/Publication Numbers

New era “Reiwa” starts in Japan from May 1, 2019

The government of Japan has decided to make “Reiwa” the new era name, to be used from May 1, replacing the current era name of “Heisei”.

Does the change of era name have an impact on the patent and/or trademark application/publication numbers?

As you may have noticed, Japanese Unexamined Patent Laid Open Publications are sometimes numbered as “H07-456789”, “S50-1234567”, etc. In such cases, “H” means the current era “Heisei” and “S” means the previous era “Showa”. “Heisei” started on year 1989 and “Showa” started on year 1926. Therefore, in the above two cases, “H07-456789” shows that the application was published in 1995 and “S50-1234567” shows that the application was published in 1975.

However, the Japan Patent Office no longer use the era name for the publication numbers after 2000 (Heisei-12), and therefore, we will not see the new era name “Reiwa” or “R” on patent/trademark application/publication numbers.

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