Patents - Patent litigation - Japan

In Japan, the Intellectual Property High Court (IPHC) established in 2005 has jurisdiction to handle intellectual property cases as second instance, and registered IP cases appealed against trial decisions of the Japan Patent Office (JPO) as first instance. Any lawsuits at first instance related to patents, utility models, rights to circuit design, and copyright for computer programmes must be filed with the Tokyo District Court or the Osaka District Court. A "pro-patent" trend has developed and the duration of intellectual property proceedings before District Courts in 2016 was 13.3 months, and 8.3 months for those before the IPHC.

Besides litigation before courts, the JPO provides the system of invalidation trial for determining whether a patent is valid. An invalidation trial may be filed by a person or an entity who has interest in determining whether a patent shall be invalidated, and discussions in the trial are implemented orally between the claimant and the patent holder. A final trial decision shall be rendered by the JPO, and it may be reviewed by the court (in this case, the IPHC shall examine the case at first instance). In addition to them, post-grant objection proceedings before the JPO are introduced by the amendment of the Patent Act in 2014. Any person or entity may request objection proceedings to the JPO within 6 months after the date of publication of a grant of patent. In this procedure, the discussion shall be exchanged in writing mainly between the patent holder and the JPO. A final objection decision shall be rendered by the JPO, and it may be reviewed by the court (Also in this case, the IPHC shall examine the case as first instance).

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