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Japan Patent Office US-JP Collaborative Search to be More User-Friendly A service for filing a request for the US-JP Collaborative Search Pilot Program concerning applications before publication will also be available for applicants

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have been striving for the US-JP Collaborative Search Pilot Program (US-JP CSP) since August 1, 2015. To make the program more user-friendly, both offices decided to relax the requirement for filing a request for the US-JP CSP from August 1, 2016, and thereby, applicants will be able to file a request for the US-JP CSP concerning their patent applications that have not been publicized yet, a new service that was not permitted for applicants before. This effort will enable applicants to file a request for the US-JP CSP, cutting down the time they have to wait for before publication of applications, and to acquire patent rights in a more accelerated manner both in Japan and the U.S.

1. Outline of the US-JP CSP

The US-JP CSP is the world’s first effort for searching prior art concerning patent applications filed in both Japan and the U.S. In this program, patent examiners in the JPO and the USPTO conduct their own searches and share search results along with their opinions, and then the examiners in each office independently, but simultaneously, announce the initial examination results at an earlier stage.

Since the inauguration of the program on August 1, 2015, 34 requests have been filed (as of July 21, 2016), and the JPO and the USPTO have been collaboratively advancing the examination of related applications steadily.

To make the program more user-friendly, both offices decided to remove the requirement that target applications for the US-JP CSP should be publicized, and thereby, applicants will be able to file a request for the US-JP CSP before publication of their applications.

2. Advantages for Japanese companies to be brought about by the relaxation of the requirement

When applicants intended to enjoy collaborative prior art search concerning their applications filed in both Japan and the U.S., they were not able to file a request for the US-JP CSP until 18 months had passed from the filing date of the application in the first country and the application publication. To overcome that challenge, both offices decided to relax the requirement and allow applicants to file such request whenever they have filed their applications in both of the countries. By doing so, applicants will be able to file a request for the US-JP CSP at least six months earlier than the publication date of their applications.

Through the utilization of the US-JP CSP, which has now become more user-friendly, Japanese companies and other entities will be able to ascertain the timing of patent examination as well as those of acquiring patent rights with higher predictability. In addition, they will also be able to win more robust, stable patent rights in an accelerated, simultaneous manner both in Japan and the U.S., taking into the results of the collaborative prior art search by Japan and U.S. patent examiners. This effort is expected to contribute to Japanese companies and other entities to promote smoother international business development.

3. Implementation timing of the relaxed requirement

The JPO and the USPTO will apply the relaxed requirement to a request for the US-JP CSP filed from August 1, 2016.

Release date

July 28, 2016

Divisions in Charge

  • Examination Policy Planning Office, Administrative Affairs Division, Patent and Design Examination Department (Physics, Optics, Social Infrastructure and Design), JPO
  • International Policy Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, JPO
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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