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Cabinet Decision on the Bill for the Act of Partial Revision of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, etc.

The Cabinet approved the Bill for the Act of Partial Revision of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, etc. On February 27, 2018, the bill will be submitted to the ongoing 196th ordinary session of the Diet.

1. Purpose of the bill

As the fourth industrial revolution advances, innovations in information technologies, such as IoT and AI, are dramatically evolving and this is causing the existing sources of business competitiveness to shift to new sources including data and data analysis, as well as products and business models using such data and data analysis. To address this situation, Japan needs to develop environments in which businesses are encouraged to utilize data and to create new value added from the achievements in the development of information technologies (e.g., big data), in the fields of intellectual property and standardization. Japan decided to take necessary measures to this end.

2. Outline of the bill

The major measures under the bill are as follows:

(1) Partial revision of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act

  • The revised act considers the wrongful acquisition, use or provision of data that is protected by management system (e.g. IDs and passwords managing method) and provided to limited users as an act of unfair competition, and the Act is to provide civil remedies to victims, e.g., rights to file a demand for an injunction or enjoy special treatments for compensation.
  • The revised act aims to expand the target range of acts of unfair competition relating to technological restriction measures, to newly cover the act of providing services of circumventing such measures for users, in addition to the provision of devices used to circumventing such measures.

(2) Partial revision of the Industrial Standardization Act

  • The revised act is to newly entitle data, services and management systems as targets of standardization under the Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) and to change the JIS’s official name in Japanese from "Nihon Kogyo Kikaku" to "Nihon Sangyo Kikaku" (both terms translate to Japanese Industrial Standards in English so there is no need for an English language revision) while also changing the official name of the act in Japanese from "Kogyo Hyojunka Ho" to ;"Sangyo Hyojunka Ho" (both terms translate to Industrial Standardization Act in English).
  • The revised act is to allow private associations with expertise to establish new JIS without being reviewed by the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee.
  • The revised act is to raise the upper amount of the fine for unauthorized labeling of the JIS mark by companies and entities from the current 1 million yen to 100 million yen. 

(3) Partial revision of the Patent Act, etc.

  • The revised act is to introduce a new system under which all SMEs are entitled to enjoy a halving of patent and other fees so as to develop environments in which SMEs can smoothly and strategically utilize intellectual property.
  • The revised act is to enrich the procedures of legal disputes involving intellectual property, such as allowing courts, in issuing an order for document submissions, to decide on the need of the documents in a private procedure, and introducing the limitation to the disclosure of the documents containing trade secrets related to the Hantei System (advisory opinion on the technical scope of a patented invention) by the Japan Patent Office.
  • The revised act is to stipulate the provisions for: expansion of the period regarding the exception to lack of novelty of inventions etc., introduction of a system for credit-card payment of patent and other fees, introduction of a new system for providing services involving the online exchange of priority documents for design applications, and improvement of the trademark application procedures. 

(4) Partial revision of the Patent Attorney Act

  • The revised act is to stipulate new practices of patent attorneys that such attorneys provide intellectual property-oriented support to businesses in utilizing data and preparing proposals for new JIS and other standards.

Release date

February 27, 2018

Division in Charge

Information on the revision of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act:
Intellectual Property Policy Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau
Information on the revision of the Industrial Standardization Act:
Technical Regulations, Standards and Conformity Assessment Policy Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau
Information on the revision of the Patent Act:
Legislative Affairs Office, 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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