04.Life cycle of Patent (From Paten Application to Expiration): We will explain about Lifecycle of Patent in an easy-to-understand manner with illustrations. (IPdash Tokyo intellectual property firm/ Patent Attorney Hisamitsu TOMEBA)

This is the 4th part of our seminar, “Intellectual Property in Japan (Patent right)”.
We will explain about “From Patent Application to Expiration” in an easy-to-understand manner with slides.

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When does a patent right start?
When does a patent right end?
In this part, the Life cycle of a patent will be explained.

This part explains about 1.Expiration date (Lapse date) of a patent right, 2. Registration date, and 3. Application date (Filing date).

Application date is important as a start point.

This part explains about 1.Lapse date of a patent right, 2. Registration date, and 3. Application date (Filing date). Application date is important as a start point.

This is a total picture of this part.

1.Expiration date, 2. Registration date, and 3. Application date will be explained respectively.
Each date depends on an application date (filing date of a patent application).



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The term of a patent right expires after a period of 20 years from the filing date of the patent application to Japan patent office(Article 67). Please note that it is NOT from the date of Patent Registration.

1.Expiration date (Lapse date) of a patent right.

The term of a patent right expires after a period of 20 years from the filing date of the patent application.
Please note that it is NOT from the date of Patent Registration.

That is, expiration date of patent depends on the date of application.

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Expiration date is explained first because this is easy to understand.

In the next slide, beginning of a patent right is disclosed.
This slide is slightly difficult.

Duration of a patent right starts from the registration date of patent. Please note that it is NOT uniformly determined from the application date.

After an application (filing), applicants need a “Request for examination of application”.
That is, the examination of a patent application shall be initiated after the filing of a request for examination.

The request should be done within three years from the application date (filing date). (This “within” three years is a point).

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After a decision to the effect that a patent is to be granted (i.e. patent OK), applicant must pay a first patent fee.
After the payment, Japan Patent Office make a “Registration of establishment of a patent right”.

Then, at this “Registration of establishment”, duration of a patent right starts.

In the other word, beginning date of patent right (Registration date) depends on not only application date, but also request date for examination.

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By the way, according to the patent administrative annual report by Japan Patent Office(2019 version), average of the examination period is 14 months.

Patent application is laid open after a lapse of one year and six months. The date of application open has no relation to the duration of a patent right.

Patent application is laid open as a publication after a lapse of one year and six months.
The publication date of application has no relation to the duration of a patent right.

With disclosure of the invention, third party can utilize the invention.
For example, an improved invention can be expected to be developed.


That’s all for the 3 kinds of date (Expiration date, Registration date, and Publication date) based on an application date (a filing date of the patent application).

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Next, We would like to discuss about when the period of request for examination more deeply.

Next, we would like to discuss the timing about “request for examination of application”.

For example, when 3 years have been approaching from the application, you can request for examination, considering the importance of the invention.

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In the next, we assume the case that an applicant request for examination earlier.
What happens to the start of a patent right?

The sooner you request for examination, the earlier you can obtain a patent right.

If you request for examination earlier (ex. 3 years to 1 year), you can obtain a patent right earlier.

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You can request for examination at the same time as the application. This is important for Intellectual Property strategy. Because it is useful when you need a patent right as soon as possible.

As mentioned above, you can request for examination within three years from the application date (filing date).
It means that you can request for examination at the same time as application.

In this case, you can obtain a patent right much earlier.

For example, in the competitive field such as AI, software, etc., it may be considered that someone exercise their patent right as soon as they acquire the right.
Therefore, the timing of request for examination is important from a viewpoint of IP strategy.

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Summary: The duration of a patent right shall expire after a period of 20 years from the filing date of the patent application to Japan Patent Office (Expiration Date). The duration of a patent right starts from a registration date of establishment (Registration Date). Patent application is laid open by Japan Patent Office after a lapse of one year and six months (Publication Date). The timing of request for examination should be decided strategically.

I’d like to wrap up with a summary of this part.
1. The duration of a patent right shall expire after a period of 20 years from application (Expiration Date).
2. The duration of a patent right starts from a registration date (Registration Date).
3. Patent application is laid open after a lapse of one and a half year (Publication Date).
4. The timing of request for examination should be decided strategically.

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That’s all for Part 4 (From Patent Application to Expiration).

IPdash Tokyo Intellectual Property Firm (Japan)

(To Part 03) (To Part 05)

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