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A law partially amending the Japan Patent Law etc. (Act. 63 of June 8, 2011)

A law partially amending the Japan Patent Law etc. (Act. 63 of June 8, 2011) was enacted and promulgated on May 31, 2011.  The law will come into effect within a period of time not exceeding one year as from June 8, 2011.

The amendments are as summarized below.

1.      Prohibition of demanding a Trial for Correction once a suit against a trial decision to invalidate the patent has been lodged before the Tokyo High Court (Article 126 of the Patent Law) [1]
Notes: i) Demanding a Trial for Correction after having lodged a suit against a trial decision for invalidation is prohibited while providing the patentee with an opportunity to file a “Demand for Correction” in the trial for invalidation proceedings at the Japan Patent Office.  The opportunity enabling the patentee to file a “Demand for Correction” is provided by the Japan Patent Office by way of issuing a prior notice of a decision to invalidate the patent if the collegial body of trial examiners has reached the position of decision for invalidation.
            ii) New course of proceedings (Trial for Invalidation ð Suit against a trial decision to invalidate the patent ð Reopening Trial for Invalidation) under Article 126 of the Patent Law as amended is illustrated as follows.

Related Articles as revised or newly established: Article 134bis, 164bis, and 181 of the Patent Law

2.      Restriction on the assertion in action for a Retrial[2] (prohibition of taking up again a dispute that has been dealt with) (Article 104quarter of the Patent Law)
Notes: In the case where after a final and binding judgment in an infringement suit for a patent right has become conclusive, the infringement retroactively turns into non-infringement in the event, e.g., the decision for invalidation of the patent right, on which patent right said suit was lodged becomes final and conclusive or the decision in a trial for correction becomes final and conclusive, it is prohibited for a party who was a party in the infringement suit before the court to demand a retrial to dispute the judgment as concluded based thereon.
ï Exception to Act 338(1)(viii) of the Code of Civil Procedure

3.      Assertion of invalidation of a patent right made by way of defense by a defender in a patent infringement suit when it is recognized that a patent right as used in the suit should be invalidated by a trial for invalidation of registration of extension of term (Article 104ter of the Patent Law)
Notes: In a suit for the infringement of a patent right or an exclusive license, if a defender asserts the invalidation of the patent right by way of defense and said patent is recognized as one that should be invalidated by a trial for invalidation of registration of extension of term[3], a patentee or an exclusive licensee may not exercise his/her right against the adverse party (in other word, the defender can assert the exercise of the patent right or the exclusive license to be dismissed).

4.      Limitation of persons affected by “not twice for the same (ne bis in dem)” principle as the effect of a final and conclusive trial decision (Article 167 of the Patent Law)[4]
Notes: i) The persons affected by “not twice for the same” principle as the effect of a final and conclusive trial decision are limited to the parties to, and the participants in a trial for invalidation.
ii) The time when “not twice for the same” is effective, is changed from “when a final and conclusive trial decision has been registered” to “when a trial decision has been made final and conclusive”.

5.      Trial for Correction / Demand for Correction by each claim or by each group of claims (Article 126 of the Patent Law)
Notes: A Trial for Correction and a Demand for Correction may be demanded and filed by each claim.  As for a group of claims consisting of an independent claim and its dependent claim(s), the Trial for Correction and the Demand for Correction must be demanded and filed by each group.

6.      Duly countering the parties of a non-exclusive license (Article 99 of the Patent Law)[5]
“A non-exclusive license shall also have the effect against anyone who has acquired the patent right or the exclusive license or the exclusive license on such a patent after its occurrence.”

Notes: After the amendment, it is possible for a non-exclusive licensee to counter third parties without registration of the non-exclusive license.
(However, please note there are some cases where a proof of the date of occurrence of a non-exclusive license is required.)
Before the amendment, countering third parties is not possible unless the non-exclusive license is registered.

7.      Claim of a transfer of a patent right which patent has been granted contrary to the provision concerning Joint Applications or to Misappropriated Application. (Article 74 of the Patent Law)
Notes: i) A person who shall be entitled to have a right to obtain a patent may claim a transfer of all or part of the patent right to a patent rightholder (a person who plagiarized other’s invention and filed it as its inventor was he/she or a third party, and so on).  (Before the amendment, a claim of a transfer was allowed on the basis of the patent rightholder’s unjust enrichment.)
ii) The transfer shall be effective retroactive to the time when the patent right was registered.
iii) Protection of a patent rightholder etc. without knowledge[6] by granting a statutory non-exclusive license (Article 79bis of the Patent Law)
iv) A person who may demand a Trial for Invalidation of a patent right which patent has been granted contrary to the provision concerning Joint Applications or to Misappropriated Application, is limited to a person who shall be entitled to have a right to obtain a patent (Article 123(2) of the Patent Law).
v) A person other than a person who shall be entitled to have a right to obtain a patent may assert the invalidation of a patent right by way of defense in a patent infringement suit even if the ground for invalidation concerns either being contrary to the provision concerning Joint Applications or Misappropriated Application (Article 104ter (3) of the Patent Law).
vi) The status of prior application is admitted to Misappropriated Application (deletion of Article 39(6) of the Patent Law[7]).

8.      Expansion of a case which the exception of lack of novelty of invention shall apply to (Article 30(2) of the Patent Law)

originating from the action of a person who has a right to obtain a patent”

Notes: Those originating from the action of a person who has a right to obtain a patent are:
Ÿ Presentation at a study meeting no matter how the presentation is made orally or in writing (which study meeting does not need the designation as being held by a scientific body, by the Commissioner of the Patent Office.);
Ÿ Distribution / sales of product etc.;
Ÿ Appearance on a press conference / TV or Radio programs;
Ÿ Publication of the contents which was explained behind closed doors, by other media
(In the case of the application claiming an internal priority right, the old law applies to the invention that refers to the basic application before the new law comes into effect.)

9.      Others
Ÿ Expansion of the reduction or exemption system of the official fees etc.
After the amendment: Person to be applied “an individual or a corporation who is short of funds”
ï Before the amendment: “a person who is short of funds”
After the amendment: Period of reduction or exemption “1st year up to 10th year” (regarding the reduction or exemption of annuities)
ï Before the amendment: “1st year up to 3rd year”

Ÿ Reduction of design registration fee for 11th to 20th year
After the amendment: “16,900 JPY / year”
Before the amendment: “33,800 JPY / year”

Ÿ Reconsideration of remedies[8] for applicants and patentees
After the amendment: (provided that such delay was) caused by “justifiable reasons”
Before the amendment: “reasons outside his/her control”
i) Expiration of period for submitting the translation of an application in foreign language (Article 36bis (4) of the Patent Law)
ii) Restoration of patent right by late payment of annual fees (Article 112bis (1) of the Patent Law)
iii) Expiration of period concerning International Applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (Article 184quarter, Article 184novies and Article 184undecies of the Patent Law)

Ÿ Trademarks
Ÿ Abolishment of the provision that prohibits the registration of a new trademark for one year after the extinguishment of other person’s trademark right which trademark is identical with the new trademark (Article 4(1)(xiii) of the Trademark Law)
Ÿ Amendment of the provision that concerns a mark at the exhibition held by the Government etc. (Article 4(1)(ix) of the Trademark Law) (elimination of “(an exhibition) has been designated by the Commissioner of the Patent Office”, that is, the designation by the Commissioner of the Patent Office is not mandatory.)

by R. Enomori

[1] Under the existing Patent Law (i.e., Patent Law amended in 2003), a patentee may demand a Trial for Correction at the Japan Patent Office simultaneous with or within 90 days after a suit against a trial decision to invalidate his/her patent was lodged at the Tokyo High Court.  The purpose of demanding the Trial for Correction is to correct voluntarily the specification or drawings of his/her patent which constitute the basis for the decision by the Japan Patent Office for invalidation.  In a case where the patentee has demanded or intends to demand a Trial for Correction for his/her patent on which the lawsuit has been lodged, the court may reverse the trial decision by their ruling in order to remand the case to the trial procedure at the Japan Patent Office, if the court recognizes that the case should appropriately be reconsidered during the trial proceedings for invalidating the patent in question.  This sending the case back from the High Court to the JPO leaves room for so-called “playing catch” between the High Court and the Japan Patent Office which is time/money-consuming.  In the Amendment as enacted on May 31, 2011, to avoid such “playing catch”, demanding a Trial for Correction after having lodged a suit against a trial decision for invalidation is prohibited while providing the patentee with an opportunity to file a “Demand for Correction” in the patent invalidation trial proceedings at the Japan Patent Office.
[2] Retrial is a special method of objection where some parties etc. as concerned who are dissatisfied with the final and conclusive judgment in a patent infringement suit before the Court, may demand the revocation of that judgment and a retrial in the infringement matter before the Court.
[3] Article 104ter of the Patent Law was amended to contain a phrase “invalidated by a trial for invalidation of registration of extension of term of a paten right” in addition to “invalidated by a trial for patent invalidation”.  This means that the defense can be made without a decision of a trial for invalidation of registration of extension of term of the patent right from the Japan Patent Office.
[4] The law before amendment provides “When a final and conclusive trial decision in a trial for patent invalidation or in a trial for invalidation of registration of extension of term has been registered, no one may demand a trial on the basis of the same facts and the same evidence.”  The limitation of persons (“no one”) affected by “not twice for the same” as the effect of a final and conclusive trial decision holds even a person not party to the invalidation trial.  This means the elimination of an opportunity for a third party to demand a trial for invalidation.  To protect the rights of the third party, the law was amended to limit the effect (“not twice for the same”) of a final and conclusive trial decision so that persons other than the parties to, and participants in, the invalidation trial may demand a trial.  The law after amendment reads, “When a trial decision in a trial for patent invalidation or in a trial for invalidation of registration of extension of term has been made final and conclusive, the parties thereto, and participants therein, may not demand a trial on the basis of the same facts and the same evidence”.
[5] Under Article 99(1) of the Patent Law before amendment, the registration of a non-exclusive license gives the licensee a right to claim his/her position as a non-exclusive licensee to a person who acquires a patent right subsequently after a licensee obtains a non-exclusive license for the same patent right.  The licensees dislike disclosing the information to the public such as the amount of the consideration and the name of a non-exclusive licensee, although the disclosure of such information is mandatory for the entries of the registration as one of items of registration.  From the legal side, to make it easy to use a system for registering a non-exclusive license, the revision was made in 2008 to the Patent Registration Order (Article 45(1)) for the limitation of items that the registration for a non-exclusive license must contain such as the elimination of the amount of the consideration from the necessary items for registration.  By the revision, among the items registered in a non-exclusive license registration, the name and address of licensee, and the scope of license will be kept secret to the parties other than “certain persons concerned”.  Therefore, the third party may look at such limited matters and assume “some license has been set” at most.
[6] A person who has already acquired the patent right or the exclusive license on such a patent, or the non-exclusive license on such a patent or on such an exclusive license without knowledge of a fact that the patent falls under the requirements for claiming the transfer before the registration of a patent transfer
[7] Article 39(6) (deleted) “A patent application or a utility model application filed by a person who is neither the inventor nor the creator nor the successor in title to the right to obtain a patent or utility model registration shall, for the purposes of Subsections (1) to (4), be deemed not to be a patent application or a utility model application.”
[8] Remedies for failure to comply with the formalities or deadlines in procedures for patents and patent applications

ACTA:Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (模倣品・海賊版拡散防止条約)に続く:The Transpacific Partnership Agreement(環太平洋連携協定)

ACTAAnti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (模倣品・海賊版拡散防止条約)に続く:The Transpacific Partnership Agreement(環太平洋連携協定)

模倣品・海賊版拡散防止条約のインクが乾かないうちに、USTR: Office of the United States Trade Representative(《米》連邦通商代表部)はすでに別の通商協定の交渉に入っている。即ち、The Transpacific Partnership Agreement(環太平洋連携協定)である。この協定はモノとサービスにおける通商をカバーするだけでなく、知的財産権(IP)についての規定が含まれている。現在TPPの交渉参加国はオーストラリア、ブルネイ、チリ、マレーシア、ニュージーランド、ペルー、米国とベトナムである。



米国事業連合(U.S. Business Coalition)がTPP用に作成したペーパー(米国研究製薬工業協会 Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America、米国商工会議所、米国映画協会 Motion Picture Association of Americaにより起草された)がインターネット上でリークされているが、そのペーパーにはコンテンツの所有権者がUSTRACTAでの現状の保護以上に広範な知的財産権の保護条項をTPPに含めるように迫っている記載がある。

1)    一時的なコピー(Temporary copies:
米国事業連合のペーパーではTPP参加国に一時的なコピー(temporary copies)に対する保護規定を含めることを強く求めている。一時的なコピーとはインターネット上のウェブページ、音楽やその他のコンテンツにアクセスする際に行われるコピーを意味する。加えて、コンテンツを再生する過程でコンピュータがバッファーにデータをコピーするがそのようなトランジェントなコピーはどのように使われようと(映画を観たり音楽を聴いたり)そのコピー自体は価値がない。それらを著作権の保護に値するとみなしてコンテンツの所有権者が何ら制約なく追加の使用料を請求できるようにする。

2)    デジタルロックの無効化(Circumvention of digital locks):
ペーパーではTPP参加国にデジタルロックの無効化(circumvention of digital locks)防止を強く求めている。著作権に関する世界知的所有権機関条約(WIPO Copyright Treaty)、実演及びレコードに関する世界知的所有権機関条約[5]WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty “WPPT”)は条約加盟国にこの義務を課す最初の国際協定であった。これらの条約を基に米国国内においてデジタルミレニアム著作権法Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)が制定された。DMCAによる反無効化条項により生じる弊害はこれまで多く報じられてきた。簡単に言えば、DMCAは一方でデジタルロックを破ることを禁じることで著作権侵害を防ごうとしておきながら、他方では正当な使用も禁じてきた(例えば、購入したDVDLinuxで動くコンピュータ上で再生する為にそのDVDのデジタルロックを破ることを禁ずるということ)。

3)著作権の保護期間(Copyright terms):
ペーパーは、より長い著作権の保護期間をTPPに強く求めている。現行の米国での著作権の保護期間は著作者の死後 70年とされている。知的財産権の国際的な取決めのベースラインとなっているTRIPs協定は著作権の保護期間を著作者の死後 50年とすることを求めている。ペーパーでは全てのTPP参加国はこの最短期間よりも保護期間を長くすべきと示唆している。しかし、この長さの商業上のライフスパン(賞味期間)を有する作品はほとんどない。たとえば、書籍は著者の死後70年も経たないうちに内容が時代遅れになる。同様に、音楽や映画も著作権の保護期間が終わるよりもずっと前に商業的なアピール性を失っている。著作権者は商業上のライフスパンが終わってしまった(賞味切れ)の作品については関心がない。作品はそれと認識されなくなり、その作品に関心を持つ歴史家・教育者・ドキュメント作者たちがいて、著作権者に使用許可を求めようにも著作権者を探しようもない場合は珍しくない。これらの人々は、適正な著作権の保護期間の見直しは是とするが、その期間の延長は是としない。

3)    法定損害賠償(Statutory damages):
ペーパーは、米国法定損害賠償制度(U.S. statutory damages regime)と見かけの上では類似する法定損害[6]に関する条項を含めることをTPPに強く求めている。この従前の制度の下では過度に大きな損害賠償につながるケースが多いことが指摘されている。この制度は結果として、フェアユース(fair use[7])を拠り所とする使用を思いとどまらせ、数百万ドルの訴訟の恐れをして、イノベーションの息の根を止める結果となっている。









(translation and annotation by R. Enomori)
By Rashmi Rangnath on January 4, 2011

[1]これまでは、1995年に発行された、WTOにおけるTRIPS協定(知的所有権の貿易関連の側面に関する協定:Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights)があった。TRIPS協定は、国際的な自由貿易秩序維持形成のための知的財産権の十分な保護や権利行使手続の整備を加盟各国に義務付けることを目的とした多国間協定で、WTOの規定によって加盟各国は協定の内容を各国の法律に反映させなければならない。協定に違反した場合、WTOの中の紛争解決機関(DSB)に提訴し、違反措置の是正を求めることが可能で、是正が勧告された場合、応じないと制裁措置をとることができる。このTRIPS協定によって、現在、模倣品や海賊版の輸入は禁じられているのだけれど、再犯の防止策や輸出に関する国際的な取り決めはなかった。そこで、2006年に、日本と米国が、模倣品・海賊版への対処を支援するための複数国間の新たな条約、いわゆる模倣品・海賊版拡散防止条約(ACTA)を提唱し、2006年から2007年にかけて、カナダ、EU、日本、スイス、米国間でACTA に関する予備的な議論を実施。20086月には、オーストラリア、カナダ、EU及び27加盟国、日本、メキシコ、モロッコ、ニュージーランド、韓国、シンガポール、スイス、米国で交渉が開始され、2011101日付で日米など8カ国が署名し、今後各国で批准などの手続きが進み、来年中に協定が発効する見通し。
[2]DRMDigital Rights Management】デジタルデータとして表現されたコンテンツの著作権を保護し、その利用や複製を制御・制限する技術の総称。具体的には海賊版の制作を防ぐために音楽とか電子書籍とかにつけるプログラムのこと。アマゾンの電子書籍をソニーの端末で読めるように、ユーザがDRMを外して電子書籍のフォーマットを変えること(アクセスコントロールの私的利用目的での回避)を違法とするデジタル・ミレニアム著作権法(DMCA)がある。本来正当なものとして認められるべき著作物へのアクセスまで阻害され規制されるとなると、必然的に企業や大学等における研究・技術開発まで不当に阻害されることになるとの畏れが指摘されている。
[3] デジタルミレニアム著作権法Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).. WIPO(世界知的所有権機関)で締結された「著作権条約」「実演・レコード条約」に基づき制定されたもので、デジタル化された情報の著作権のあり方などを規定。
[4] コンテンツ産業(Content Industry)とは文書・音声・映像・ゲームソフトなどの情報の内容に関する産業
[6] 米国著作権法第504条侵害に対する救済/損害賠償および利益:著作権者は侵害者に対して、「現実的損害および利益」又は「一の著作物に関して当該訴訟の対象となる全ての侵害(一人の侵害者は単独で責任を負い、二人以上の侵害者は連帯して責任を負う) につき、750 ドル以上30000 ドル未満で裁判所が正当と考える金額の法定損害賠償」の支払いを選択できる。
[7] 著作物の使用(複写等)において著作権侵害に当らないとする諸条件。米国著作権法上の規定。
[8] 裁判手続きなしに、プロバイダーにネット接続のフィルタリング、切断、停止を実施させる。処罰対象とされる海賊行為の中身の精査はしない。





















R. Enomori


米国特許「先願主義」への転換と、環太平洋戦略的経済連携協定(TPP:Trans-Pacific Partnership、またはTrans- Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement)の弁理士業/特許事務所にもたらす影響(一つの私見)

米国特許「先願主義」への転換と、環太平洋戦略的経済連携協定(TPPTrans-Pacific Partnership、またはTrans- Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement)の弁理士業/特許事務所にもたらす影響(一つの私見)


『オバマ米大統領は16日、米特許法の改正法案に署名、同法が成立した。1952年以来の抜本的な改正で、先に発明した人に特許を与える「先発明主義」から、出願した日を優先する「先願主義」へと制度がかわる。2013年春から適用される見通しだ。』( 20110916日)

『米国や豪州など9か国による環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)の第8回交渉会合が15日、10日間の日程を終えて閉幕した。閉幕後の記者会見で、ベトナムのチャン・クオック・カイン首席交渉官(商工省副大臣)は、「日本が、11月の首脳会議後に参加するのには少し問題がある」と述べた。「各国はすでに本質的な交渉を行っている」ため、大枠合意後に日本が加わった場合、「交渉の経緯を一から説明するのは難しい」と指摘した。その上で同交渉官は、「野田政権から、何か情報を得られると期待している」と述べ、日本が早期に意思表示することを促した。』((読売新聞) 20110916日)









4カ国で始めたTPP合意書では第12章でサービスから金融と航空を除外しているが、方向性をうたう第1章では金融を含むすべての領域の自由化を主張し、合意分野の拡大を奨励している。(中略)TPPに参加すれば、農産物だけでなく、近い将来、金融、医療、法律などのサービスも意に反して輸入増加せざるをえなくなる。これまでは「要望」だったものが法的拘束力のある「協定」となるのだ。(産経ニュース【今日の突破口】ジャーナリスト・東谷暁 ちょっと待てTPP 2011.1.5から抜粋)』









R. Enomori