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Japan Patent OfficeJPO Compiles the JPO Status Report 2016

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) hereby announces the release of the JPO Status Report 2016. The Report has been compiled with the aim of quickly communicating the JPO’s latest statistical information and the results of its policies to the public. It provides descriptions in Japanese and English together so as to serve as a tool for providing information to other countries.

1. Key points of Part 1: Trends of Intellectual Property with Facts and Figures

The global economy is changing at an unprecedented speed due to the digital revolution and globalization through innovation in information and communications technology. Companies are now shifting their efforts to focus more intensively on their core competencies in the management of their businesses in order to be more competitive in the global market, and therefore, their intellectual property (IP) strategies are also becoming more globalized and sophisticated.

The number of patent applications filed with the JPO, which was 318,721 in 2015, has been gradually decreasing since 2006, while the patent registration ratio (the ratio of the number of patent registrations to the number of patent applications) by filing year has been increasing. This may imply that applicants are being more carefully selective in their patent applications recently (see Charts 1 and 2). As for international trends in patent applications, 43,097 PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) international applications were filed with the JPO at their receiving office in 2015, while around 2.68 million patent applications were filed worldwide in 2014, both of which were record-high numbers (see Charts 3 and 4).

Regarding the number of other applications filed with the JPO in 2015, the number for patents was 29,903, and that for trademarks was 147,283.

Chart 1: Changes in the Number of Patent Applications

Chart 2: Changes in the Number of Patent Applications, Requests for Examinations, Patents Registered, etc. by Filing Year

2. Key points in Part 2: Results of Measures in 2015

In order to support the globalization and advancement of corporate IP strategies, the JPO has been making the following efforts including the development of IP infrastructure worldwide.

Realization of the world’s highest speed and quality in IP systems

The JPO is steadily making efforts to realize the shortening of the “total pendency period” to 14 months or less on average by FY 2023. In 2014, it established the Subcommittee on Examination Quality Management, which consists of external experts, to work on quality control. In addition, the JPO conducted a comprehensive revision of the Examination Guidelines for Patent and Utility Model in 2015, aiming to make them clearer and more concise so that domestic and foreign users of the Japanese patent system can more easily understand them.

Proactive communication of the JPO’s examination results to foreign IP Offices

The JPO has established connections between two systems: One Portal Dossier (OPD), which provides collective access to examination results from the EPO, JPO, KIPO, SIPO, and USPTO, and WIPO-CASE, a system which shares examination results provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Through these systems (in which 21 IP offices participated as of the end of 2015), the JPO is providing information on patent applications and examinations (dossier information) for nine million filings from the past 25 years.

Acceptance of applications for non-traditional trademarks

The JPO started accepting applications for non-traditional trademarks in April 2015. As of December 2015, 1,150 applications had been filed, and 40 non-traditional trademarks had been registered.

Accession to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs

In May 2015, it became possible for an applicant to file a single international design application which simultaneously applies for protection in multiple contracting parties by designating them in the application.

Revision of the Patent Act and Other Acts in 2015

Under the 2015 Amendment to the Patent Act and Other Acts, the employee invention system was reviewed and revised to realize a system that achieves a balance between ensuring proper incentives for researchers and strengthening corporate competitiveness; the patent fee schedule and other fee schedules were revised to promote the utilization of IP rights and to facilitate the international harmonization of the IP system; and domestic laws and regulations were updated to ensure compliance with the Patent Law Treaty and to the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks. The revision is to enter into force on April 1, 2016.

The report is accessible on the JPO web page (English)

The report is accessible on the JPO web page (Japanese)

Chart 3: Changes in the Number of PCT International Applications filed with the JPO as the receiving office

Chart 4: Changes in the Number of Patent Applications in the World

(Reference) Contents of the Report

  • Message from the Commissioner
  • JPO's Major Events in 2015
  • Part 1: Trends of Intellectual Property with Facts and Figures
  • Part 2: Results of Measures in 2015

 Release date

March 29, 2016

Division in Charge

Policy Planning and Research 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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