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User Satisfaction with Examination Increased Results of the FY2016 User Satisfaction Surveys on Examination Quality

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) has been conducting User Satisfaction Surveys on Examination Quality of patent, design and trademark applications every fiscal year. As for the FY2016 survey, the results found that the ratio of scores 4 or above on a 1-5 scale with all three types of examination concerning the overall quality of examination they experienced, showing an increase from the previous fiscal year.

The JPO will continue to strive to improve examination quality.

1. Background to the survey

The JPO has been endeavoring to improve the examination quality level to satisfy the users’ needs, as part of efforts to support global business corporate development and contributing to promoting innovation.

As an essential element in achieving this goal, the JPO needs to appropriately ascertain such users’ needs and expectations. To this end, the JPO has been conducting the surveys targeting users.

2. Outline of the surveys results

(1) Patent examination


Figure 1: Year-on-year changes in the overall quality of patent examination

Key point of the survey results

The JPO also asked respondents to evaluate each process of patent examination and found that they gave particularly high scores on the process involving the descriptions provided in notifications of reasons for refusal and other documents. Moreover, the survey results uncovered that a number of the respondents provided high scores for the processes involving the judgements of inventive steps, the judgements of description requirements concerning the specifications and the scope of claims, basically showing an improvement from the previous fiscal year.

Remaining Challenges

The JPO should continue to strive to maintain and improve the quality of prior art search efforts, including searches for patent documents in foreign languages and for non-patent literature.

(2) Design examination


Figure 2: Scoring results concerning the overall quality of design examination

Key point of the survey results

The JPO also asked respondents to evaluate each process of design examination and found they gave particularly high scores to the processes involving communication.

Remaining Challenges

The JPO should continue to strive to maintain and improve the quality of examination, especially in relation to the descriptions of the notifications of reasons for refusal and uniformity of determination.

(3) Trademark examination


Figure 3: Scoring results concerning the overall quality of trademark examination

Key point of the survey results

The JPO also asked respondents to evaluate each process of trademark examination and found they gave particularly high scores to the satisfactory explanation and concise wording in notifications of reasons for refusal.

Remaining Challenges

The JPO should continue to strive to maintain and improve the quality of examination involving judgements of distinctive features, uniformity of decisions between examiners, and other steps.

The JPO will strive to improve efforts related to the timing of the surveys, the selection of survey target entities and other elements, and will continue to endeavor to ascertain users’ needs.

Reference: Overview of the survey method

The surveys concerning patents, designs, and trademark 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.
Patent: Between July and September 2016, questionnaires were distributed to 732 users, concerning 2,738 applications, and the responses were collected. The response rate was approximately 90%.

Design: Between July and September 2016, questionnaires were distributed to 334 users, concerning174 applications, and the responses were collected. The response rate was approximately 80%.

Trademark: Between July and September 2016, questionnaires were distributed to 400 users, concerning400 applications, and the responses were collected. The response rate was approximately 80%.

Note: For the reports on the FY2016 User Satisfaction Surveys on Examination Quality, visit the following websites:

Appendices

Release date

March 29, 2017

Division in Charge

Quality Management Office, Administrative Affairs Division, Patent and Design Examination Department (Physics, Optics, Social Infrastructure and Design), 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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