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Japan Patent Office User Satisfaction with Examination is Increasing (Results of the FY2015 User Satisfaction Surveys on Examination Quality)

In surveys of satisfaction with the overall quality of the examination of patent, design, and trademark applications, around 90% of respondents scored their experience with all three types of examination as 3 or above on a 1-5 scale.

Regarding satisfaction with patent examination, the ratio of scores 4 or above on a 1-5 scale has been increasing annually since the survey began in FY2012, and exceeded 50% in FY2015.

In addition, looking at changes in the impression of design and trademark examination, a substantially larger number of respondents stated that their impression had changed for the better than stated that it had changed for the worse.

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) will continue to strive to sustain and enhance the quality of examination.

1. Survey Background and History

The JPO aims to carry out high-quality examinations that are trusted worldwide, in order to support companies’ global business development and contribute to promote innovation.

To achieve high-quality examination, it is essential to gain an appropriate understanding of the needs and expectations of users of the industrial property rights system and reflect these in the JPO’s own initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of examination. Based on this awareness, the JPO conducts annual user satisfaction surveys concerning patent examination (since FY2012) and trademark examination (since FY2014). In FY2015, it newly introduced a survey concerning design examination.

2. Outline of Survey Results

(1) Patent examination

  • The survey also asked about satisfaction with each procedure in the patent examination process. Respondents gave a high score for “Description/explanation on the notice of reasons for refusal”, which is presumed to have contributed to the improvement in overall satisfaction.
  • On the other hand, many respondents cited “Prior art searches that include patent documents in foreign languages” as an area in which further efforts for improvement should be made, so the JPO will tackle this as a key issue.

(2) Design examination

  • The survey also asked about satisfaction with each procedure in the design examination process. Respondents gave a high score for “Communication” by examiners with users.
  • On the other hand, a comparatively high proportion of respondents cited dissatisfaction with “Prior design searches,” so the JPO will tackle this as a key issue.

(3) Trademark examination

  • The survey also asked about satisfaction with each procedure in the trademark examination process. Respondents gave a high score for “User-friendly wording/explanation on the notice of reasons for refusal.”
  • On the other hand, a comparatively high proportion of respondents cited dissatisfaction with “Judgments concerning distinctiveness,” so the JPO will tackle this as a key issue.

Reference: Overview of the Survey Method

The surveys concerning patents, designs, and trademarks all asked the subjects to rate overall examination quality and the quality of individual applications (randomly selected sample cases for the patent and trademark surveys, and cases selected by the respondents themselves for the design survey) on a 1-5 scale. In addition, a question about changes in the subjects’ impression of overall quality was added to this year’s surveys. The survey concerning patents was divided into a survey on national applications filed with the JPO and a survey on PCT applications (international applications based on the Patent Cooperation Treaty).

  • (Patents) Between August and November 2015, questionnaires were distributed to a total of 718 users concerning 2,759 applications, and the responses collected. The response rate was about 90%.
  • (Designs) Between September and November 2015, questionnaires were distributed to a total of 329 users concerning 144 applications, and the responses collected. The response rate was about 80%.
  • (Trademarks) Between September and November 2015, questionnaires were distributed to a total of 400 users concerning 400 applications, and the responses collected. The response rate was about 70%.
  • Ref. 1: Overview of the analysis of user evaluation of examination quality
  • Ref. 2: JPO examination quality management system and the flow of patent examination procedures

*FY2015 User Satisfaction Survey report URLs:

Release date

June 10, 2016

Division in Charge

General Coordination Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, Japan Patent Office
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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