On 4th April 2009, the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) introduced a new initiative permitting the deferral of examination fee payments for the examination request procedure. As of June, 2010, 15,716 applications have used this new system (see here for full article).
All clients wishing to obtain a patent right in Japan must file a Request for Substantive Examination within 3 years of PCT International filing date or, where the application is based on a Paris Convention Priority, within 3 years of filing the application in Japan. Failure to request examination within the time limit results in the Patent Application being deemed withdrawn.
Under the existing system the Official Fees have had to be remitted along with the request form. With the new system however, the period for requesting examination remains at three years with the possibility of deferring payment of the official examination fees for up to one year. The 3 year period then, is effectively extended by 1 year allowing the applicant 4 years in which to deliberate whether to pursue a Japanese Patent.
In order to confirm support of this initiative, the APA is offering Japanese Request for Examination?attorney fees at no charge. Further important details about the scheme are provided below -
• For all applications for which Substantive Examination is requested, fee payments are deferrable for up to one year.
• If the request is withdrawn during the period Examination fees are deferred, fees will not be required.
• For those clients who elect to request the examination procedure at the time of National Phase filing, the APA is offering no charges for Request for Examination attorney fees in Japan.
• This initiative is expected to run for 2 years from April 2009.
• The exemption of attorney fees is conditional on also utilizing the APA’s services for National Phase filing and intermediate processing for the application for examination.
• Examination fees can be deferred after a simple procedure with the JPO, which the APA can assist you with.
Source: Ministry of Economy, Tade and Industry (Japan)