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Summary of Main Subjects of Bill for the Act for Partial Revision of the Patent Act, etc.

On March 11, 2014, the Cabinet decided to approve the Bill for the Act for the Partial Revision of the Patent Act, etc. and the Bill was submitted to the Diet on March 13. Major issues of the Bill are summarized below.

Asamura Patent Office, p.c. will observe closely the Diet deliberations of the Bill and follow up with further details when the Bill passes the Diet as well as before it takes effect.

(1) Regarding certain periods entitled for applicants to take actions

Relief measures will be taken for applicants to be entitled to extend certain periods for taking actions according to those under the Patent Act, the Utility Model Act, the Design Act, the Trademark Act, and the Act on International Applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty when they have compelling reasons (e.g. following disasters) or the like. This improvement includes periods associated with actions for priority declarations.

It should be noted that specific guidelines for the reasons for relief measures are not announced and extra caution should be applied.

(2) Regarding the Patent Act

A possibility of opposition to a granted patent will be created. The system is very close to the one dismantled in 2004. Following this, the provisions for the invalidation of the granted patent will also be revised.

(3) Regarding the Design Act

A chapter dedicated for cases based on “the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs” will be created to provide for simultaneous filing of a design application with multiple offices overseas in one procedure.

This revision will take effect under the condition of ratification of the Geneva Act.

(4) Regarding the Trademark Act

Certain trademarks such as colors and sounds will be added to the coverage. (The specific details will be provided in the cabinet order.

Also, eligible entities concerning the regional collective trademarks, which are limited to cooperative associations and other bodies, will be expanded to include associations of commerce and industry, chambers of commerce and industry, and specialized non-profit corporations (and equivalent abroad entities).
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