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  5. Oral Proceedings for Trials for Patent Invalidation Can Now Be Attended Online

Oral Proceedings for Trials for Patent Invalidation Can Now Be Attended Online

October 1, 2021

Starting from today, the demandants and other parties involved in trials such as those for patent invalidation will be able to attend the oral proceedings online via a web conferencing system. This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and make it easier to attend from remote places.

1. About oral proceedings

Trials such as those for invalidation are conducted to resolve disputes over the validity of patents and other rights. A panel of three administrative judges examines the case through oral proceedings. In these proceedings, both the demandants and the holders of the patents attend the court of the Japan Patent Office and orally present claims, evidence and technical information about the validity of the rights before the panel. The proceedings are also held publicly to ensure they are fair.

2. Background to the revision

Until now, both the demandants and the rights holders have had to physically attend the trial court. This needed to be improved to enable the demandants and other parties involved to take part in the oral proceedings without having to come to the trial court in person, reducing concerns about COVID-19. Improved convenience would also bring the process more into line with digitalization and other structural changes in society.

To this end, the 204th Ordinary Session of the Diet enacted the Act on the Partial Revision of the Patent Act and Other Acts. Starting from October 1, 2021, the Chief Administrative Judge will be able to allow demandants and other parties involved to attend oral proceedings online via a web conferencing system.

3. Outline of the revision

(1) Online attendance at oral proceedings (Article 145 of the Patent Act)

A new paragraph (Paragraph 6) has now been added to Article 145 of the Patent Act to enable the Chief Administrative Judge to allow demandants and other parties involved to do the procedures on the day of the oral proceedings through a web conferencing system if they wish to do so.

The article has also been updated with the addition of Paragraph 7 ruling that demandants and other parties involved who took part in oral proceedings via a web conferencing system are deemed to have been there in person.

(2) Online attendance in evidence investigations (Article 151 of the Patent Act)

The new Paragraphs 6 and 7 of Article 145 of the Patent Act have applied mutatis mutandis to Article 151 of the Act. The Chief Administrative Judge can also allow demandants and other parties involved to do the procedures for evidence investigations or evidence preservation through a web conferencing system just as they can for oral proceedings.

Division in Charge

Trial and Appeal Policy Planning Office, Trial and Appeal Department, Japan Patent Office

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