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Annual Technical Report 2011 on Patent Information Activities submitted by Japan (CWS/ATR/PI/2011/JP)


Where URLs are requested below, it is preferred that either URLs which are likely to remain stable over time (three years or more) are provided, or home (main) page URLs are provided with a short explanation of how to access the corresponding information.

The term "patent" covers utility models and Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs). Offices which issue design patents should report their design patent information activities in their Annual Technical Reports on Industrial Design Information Activities.


I. Evolution of patent activities

Changes experienced in terms of application filings and grants with respect to the previous year

(1) Patent
In 2011, the number of applications was 342,610 (down 0.6 % from the previous year) and the number of registrations was 238,323 (up 7.0 % from the previous year).

(2) Utility model
In 2011, the number of applications was 7,984 (down 8.0 % from the previous year) and the number of registrations was 7,595 (down 11.4% from the previous year).

Trends or areas experiencing rapid changes with respect to the previous year

In 2010, the number of patent applications in the following technical fields has significantly increased compared to the previous year.
"G21 Nuclear Physics: Nuclear Engineering" (up 20% from the previous year)
"C21 Metallurgy of iron” (up 19% from the previous year)

In 2010, the number of patent applications in the following technical fields recorded significant declines from the previous year.
“ F03 Machines or engines for liquids (for liquids and elastic fluids F01; positive-displacement machines for liquids F04); wind, spring, or miscellaneous motors; producing mechanical power or a reactive propulsive thrust, not otherwise provided for” (down 27.0 % from the previous year)
“E06 Doors, windows, shutters, or roller blinds, in general; ladders” (down 16% from the previous year)

Note: IPC classes with 500 or more applications in 2010 were examined.

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide statistics related to patents
Please refer to IX.2 (English) for the English version of the Japan Patent Office Annual Report.

II. Matters concerning the generation, reproduction, distribution and use of primary and secondary sources of patent information

Publishing, printing, copying (main types of publications of the Office in the field of patent information, etc.)

The Japan Patent Office (hereinafter referred to as the “JPO”) published the following patent documents in 2011:
- Published Unexamined Patent Applications: 259,701 issues
- Published Japanese Translation of PCT International Publication for Patent Applications: 30,971 issues
- Published Registered Utility Model Applications: 7,545 issues
- Patent 244,900 issues
- Decision on Appeal/Trial in Patent: 15,497 issues

Main types of announcements of the Office in the field of patent information

Nothing in particular

Mass storage media used (paper, microforms, optical storage, etc.)

In December 1990, the JPO began accepting patent applications and utility model applications filed by floppy disk (Floppy disk application was abolished in 1999) or on-line (electronic application). The JPO electronically edits the collected data acquired from the electronic applications (including paper-based applications converted into electronic data) and compiles them and publishes the Patent and Utility Model Gazettes.

The Patent and Utility Model Gazettes contains mixed-mode type data, composed of text data and image data, thus text search using text data is also available.

In July 2003, the JPO changed the domestic application forms of patent and/or utility model to conform to the PCT international application form and internationally standardized the electronic formats (use of XML forms).

a) Published Unexamined Applications
Since January 1993, the JPO has been issuing Published Unexamined Applications in the form of CD-ROMs.

Since January 2004, the format of Published Unexamined Applications was changed from SGML to XML and the media was changed from CD-ROM to DVD-ROM.

On average a single volume of Published Unexamined Applications on DVD-ROM includes about 5,900 issues and was issued 51 times in 2011.

Published Unexamined Applications on DVD-ROM enable a search using 16 items as search keys, including document numbers, IPC, the name of the applicant and the title of the invention.

b) Patent Gazette (Published Examined Patent Applications/ Patent)
Between January 1994 and March 1996, the JPO issued “Published Examined Patent and Utility Model Applications in the form of CD-ROMs. From May 1996, “Patent and Registered Utility Model Specifications”in the form of CD-ROMs which includes the post-grant registered patent and the utility model

From July 2004, the format of Patent Gazette was changed from SGML to XML and the media was changed from CD-ROM to DVD-ROM.

A single volume of the Patent Gazette on DVD-ROM includes an average of about 4,800 issues and it was issued 51 times in 2011.

Patent Gazette on DVD-ROM enables a search using 22 items as search keys, including document numbers, IPC, the name of the applicant and the title of the invention.

c) Publications of registered utility model applications using the Internet
Publications of registered utility model applications which had been recorded and published in DVD-ROM publications of unexamined applications and have been changed to gazette publication once a week using the Internet since January 2006. This makes it possible to download gazettes for free 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. In addition, in order to meet the needs of the long-term storage of the original gazettes data published via the Internet, the JPO prepares and makes available, one week after the publication of the original gazettes, DVD-ROMs titled "Information on Publication of Registered Utility Model Applications" which contains exact reproductions of the original Published Registered Utility Model Applications which have been published through the Official Publication via the Internet.

A single-volume of the Published Registered Utility Model Applications includes an average of about 200 issues and it was issued 50 times in 2011.

Word processing and office automation

Refer to the third section of the paragraph.

(New) techniques used for the generation of patent information (printing, recording, photocomposing, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), etc.)

The JPO has been utilizing OCR for the efficient conversion of paper-based documents into electronic data. In the conversion process, the following systems are implemented to secure the accuracy and quality of data: inspection system for checking the converted data in both manual and automatic manner, examination system for checking the document format, and syntactic analysis for identifying the text which need to be edited.

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide access to online publication of patent documents and gazettes, and to other primary and secondary sources of patent information, including patent publication servers and download of bulk patent data

The website of information on patents/utility models is as follows: (Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL))

The website which only provides information on registered utility model application is as follows: (Gazettes using the Internet)

III. Matters concerning abstracting, classifying, reclassifying and indexing of technical information contained in patent documents

Abstracting, reviewing, translating

a) Abstract
From December 1, 1990, the JPO requires applicants filing patent application and utility model application to submit an Abstract in addition to filing documents. The Abstract is inserted into the front page of a Gazette together with the bibliographic matters such as the name of the applicant, the title of the invention. Although the Abstract is prepared by the applicant, in order to enhance its utility as the front-page database, the JPO checks whether the content of the Abstract is appropriate, and if it is found inappropriate, the Abstract is modified by the office.

b) Production of and Use of Secondary Documents
1) Production of English Abstracts of Publication of Unexamined Patent Application in Japan
Patent Abstracts of Japan (hereinafter referred to as the “PAJ”) consists of English abstracts, with a representative drawing, of published unexamined patent applications filed by Japanese applicants and has been issued since 1976. The JPO has been sending PAJ to the foreign patent offices since its first issue.

Since April 1995, for the publications of patent applications issued from October 1994 onwards, PAJ has been issued in a mixed mode CD-ROM format instead of the conventional paper booklet form. The PAJ CD-ROM is produced with the MIMOSA software that was jointly procured by the Trilateral Patent Offices (EPO, JPO, and USPTO). Currently the PAJ is sent to 87 foreign patent offices and public institutions.

PAJ issued in the paper booklet form (from 1976 to 1993) were subsequently sorted into 69 technical fields and published by IPC section on 99 CD-ROMs.

Starting from the April 1998 issue, all applications by both Japanese and foreigners have been issued in PAJ.
In February 2012, the existing SGML data format was changed into an XML-based data format.

The PAJ/CD-ROM is sold to the general public, and can be used to create in-house database or to provide information services to a third party.

2) Production of PAJ/INDEX CD-ROM
The PAJ/INDEX CD-ROM contains bibliographic data, and abstracts of PAJ, and the disk number of the corresponding PAJ/CD-ROM.

The JPO has been publishing the PAJ/INDEX CD-ROM quarterly since April 1997. The information stored on each PAJ/INDEX CD-ROM is accumulated based on a 3-month period and covers not more than a one-year period. The PAJ/INDEX CD-ROM is also sent to the foreign patent offices and public institutions that currently receive the PAJ/CD-ROM.

3) Foreign patent documents
The JPO prepares coded data of the Japanese abstracts of US patent specifications, the publication of US patent specifications and the publication of EPO patent specifications. The data is stored electronically and used for search purposes.

Since October 2004, the services from 1) to 3) above have been operated by the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (hereinafter referred to as the “INPIT”).

Classification1, preclassification2 (if applicable), and reclassification3 activities; Classification system used, e.g., International Patent Classification (IPC), other classification (please indicate whether or not patent documents are classified by your Office and, if so, which classification is used)

In 2011, the number of applications classified by the JPO applying the International Patent Classification was: about 300, 000 when the application was laid open, about 250,000 when the Patent Gazette was issued, and about 10,000 when the registered utility model gazette was issued.

The JPO positively participated in the activities for the revision of the IPC, and sent their delegates to IPC-related WIPO meetings for aggressive activities.

Coordinate indexing (domestic deep indexing systems, keyword indexing)

The JPO continued the indexing of ICIREPAT types in the alloy field.
1) System name and symbol Alloy AL
2) Storage media Magnetic disk, variable block
3) Development stage Indexing is continued
4) The number of indexed documents, year and origin: about 121,000 documents by 2011 of Japan.

Hybrid system indexing

An F-term derived by reorganizing or subdividing the IPC for each predetermined technical fields from a variety of technical standpoints (purpose, usage, structure, material, manufacturing method, processing method, control means, etc.) is assigned to each document and used as search keys.

Bibliographic data and full-text processing

Full-text retrieval is provided with the comprehensive system including (1) ~ (4) below.
(1) A technology which divides about 1TB of full text data into the input text by n characters and realizes high-speed full-text retrieval by creating index with a document number including each string and an appearance position of string (n-gram index system)
(2) Register XML documents using the function the relational database (HiRDB) has and realizes high-speed full text retrieval including different notation retrieval, neighborhood retrieval and broad NOT retrieval function (High-speed full-text search technology)
(3) A technology which minimizes the effect of failure on operations by enabling automatic and instant system switching to a spare server at the time of disorder and using about 3% of the full-text search server as a spare server (Effect dispersion stand-by less)
(4) A system structure which allows easy response to the increase in search load with flexible expandability by modularizing power source and cooling fans attached to each server (blade server)

IV. Search file establishment and upkeep

File building

a) F-term Analysis
The search file is classified into about 2,600 themes (technical fields). At present, about 1,800 themes are analyzed by F-terms and can be used in search.
b) Making F-terms Available to the General Public
The JPO has made all the F-terms of the usable themes available to the general public via the Internet through the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT). The F-term is available to the general public and users can conduct the F-term search through the use of the Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) of the INPIT.


Updating of the Search File
The search file used by the examiner is continuously renewed so that it is up-to-date. To the search files, Japanese patent documents (publication of patent applications, publication of registered utility model, etc.) are added in accordance with the JPO's internal classifications (FI) developed by subdividing the IPC.

Storage, including mass storage media

The search indices file used by the examiner is stored in an electronic form on RAID. In addition, document index information are stored on memory.

Documentation from other offices maintained and/or considered part of the available search file

The text data and the image data of the EPO, the USPTO, WIPO, SIPO and KIPO, as well as the image data of major European countries are stored, and searches of IPC, ECLA, USPC, etc. are possible.

V. Activities in the field of computerized and other mechanized search systems

In-house systems (online/offline)

a) Patent and Utility Model Search System (F-term search system)
In December 1999, a patent and utility model search system, based on a distributed computing system, was put into operation. This system integrated (clustered) not only the conventional F-term search system and a system to search computer-software related non-patent literature (CS literature), but also a foreign patent document search system using the EPO internal classification (ECLA) and the United States patent classification (USPC). Multiple search keys, such as F-term, FI, free word, CS term, ECLA and USPC, can be inputted simultaneously; thus an examination environment, enabling a seamless search of various documents, such as domestic patents, foreign patents, non-patents, was created. This system enables referencing by linking patent family documents, citing documents, and cited documents. Furthermore, the text data of prior to laying-open specifications is stored and is available for search.

A full text search in Japanese and English is also available by the use of text data of domestic patent gazettes collected through the paperless system and text data of foreign patent gazettes.

In addition, in January 2005, a new terminal incorporating 2 screens, one ordinary high-resolution LCD for performing search work and one super high-resolution LCD for displaying documents such as Patent Gazettes and the like, was introduced.
b) Search System for Appeal/Trial and Court Decisions (J-term search system)
Appeal/trial and court decisions are accumulated in the form of electronic data with a search index, called “J-term”, and searching and screening for the appropriate appeal/trial and court decisions are conducted by using “J-term”.

In addition, a full-text search service is available for appeal/trial and court decisions issued after January 2000.
c) DNA Search System
This is a system introduced in January 1998 for searching gene-related information, and enables a homology search, which searches for a sequence utilizing homology in respect of nucleotide sequences and amino acid sequences, and a keyword search, which utilizes bibliographic data.
a) LiqCryst
The JPO stores to the PC a database of liquid crystal materials, provided in CD-ROM format by the University of Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany, thereby enabling a search.

This system enables database searches for various optical properties of lens systems shown in the documents in the public domain which are published by the Optical Research Associates based on the conditions established by said optical properties.

External databases

The examiners of the JPO use the following external databases for searches. Any database listed below can be used online from a PC in the JPO.

A website for searching the issues of Nature, a journal containing papers on science and technology, and related journals.

b) JDreamⅡ
A scientific and technical document search system, provided by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

c) STN
A search system for the database of the science and technology field which is mainly used for searching CAS-related databases.

d) Science Direct
A searchable internet website provided by Elsevier that provides access to more than 2,000 journals in the field of science, technology, medicine and social science published by the Elsevier Group, and bibliographic databases such as EMBASE, Compendex and reference works, etc..

e) IEEE Xplore
A searchable internet website provided by IEEE/IEE that provides access to their publications including magazines and minutes, IEEE standard, etc.

A searchable internet website provided by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for searching their scientific association journals.

g)Phama Business
A searchable internet website provided by Nikkei Business Publications Inc. for searching biotechnology-related articles published in the “Nikkei Biotech” magazine.

A searchable internet website provided by the New Glass Forum for searching a glass composition characteristic database.

i) Science
A searchable internet website for searching biotechnology-related information published in the “Science” magazine.

j) ProQuest
An internet search site provided by PQIL Limited for searching economy and finance-related documents.

k) Scopus
A searchable online bibliography providing access to approximately 19,000 academic journals covering a wide range of technological fields.

l) G-Search
A searchable internet website for enabling search for full text articles on general newspapers, industrial journals and specialty magazines.

m) NRI Cyber Patent Desk 2
A searchable internet website enabling search for abstracts of company technical journals and enabling concept-based search.

n) SHOKU-Net
A searchable internet website for searching articles in various fields concerning foods.

o) Scitation
A searchable internet website provided by AIP for searching journals titled "Journal of Applied Physics," "Applied Physics Letters," "Review of Scientific Instruments," etc.

p) I-Chu-Shi WEB
An online bibliographic database that indexes periodicals on medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and other related areas.

q) Dialog Web
An on-line information search system provided by Dialog Limited that provides access to over 500 varieties of commercial-use information databases on patent, medical, pharmaceutical, science, technology, humanity & enterprises etc from around the world.

r) APS Journals
A searchable website that provides access to all journals published by the American Physical Society.

An Internet search website for searching life-science, chemical/material, information, engineering, medical, physics journals published by Springer

t) JJAP Online
An on-line internet search site of the JJAP (Japanese Journal of Applied Physics) published by the Japan Society of Applied Physics.

u) Colour Index
A searchable internet website for searching information on colorants and pigments.

v) Chemical Documents Library
An on-line Internet search site for full-text searches and inspection of the” Chemical Handbook,” the “Experimental Science Course,” and the “Standard Chemical Term Dictionary” edited by the Chemical Society of Japan as well as searches of compounds based on the “Chemical Handbook: Basic Edition; Revised 5th Edition; CD-ROM.

w) CiNii
A searchable internet website covering about 2.8 million papers from academic and association journals published in Japan and abroad, which are owned by the NII (National Institute of Informatics).

x)ACS Publications
An online journal website providing access to the journal articles published by the ACS (American Chemical Society).

y) GeneCards
A searchable integrated database on information on human genes, such as the genetic structure, function, expressivity, SNPs of genetic disorders and related journal articles.

z) Medical Online
A searchable internet website of medical, dentistry and pharmaceutical journal articles published by Japanese academic associations and publishers.

aa) Wiley Online Library
An electronic journal website which contains about 1,400 journals in fields of medicine, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, etc.

ab)Annual Reviews
An Internet website which allows you to browse reviews published each year by Annual Reviews and written by major scientists mainly in the fields of biotechnology, medicine and physics

ac) Oxford Journals
An online document database provided by Oxford University Press which contains documents related to life-science and pharmaceuticals

ad) Technical Disclosure Web
A website for searching articles that appeared in the "Technical Disclosure" journal published by the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation.

ae) Optics InfoBase
A website for accessing journals published by the OSA.

af) Merck Index
An online database of chemical substances provided by U.S. Merck Index. With entries on about 11,000 compounds, the website enables access and searching for physical properties, uses and selected literature references.

Administrative management systems (e.g., register, legal status, statistics and administrative support)

a) An electronic application and file wrapper system
The JPO has been using an electronic application and file wrapper system since December 1990. This system improves the efficiency of administrative works by computerizing application filing, formality/substantive examinations, dispatch, registration, gazette publications, and requesting for inspection of files, requesting for certification. The whole content of the application are stored in an electronic file, processed and managed. Currently, to improve the efficiency of drafting by linking the drafting system with the search systems and that of examination by implementing electronic approval, and for faster gazette publication and for the separate management of each application, the following subsystems are operating;

(1) Filing system (electronic application filing)
(2) Formality check system (automatic formality check, formality-check-related drafting, approval and time management, etc)
(3) On-line dispatch system (on-line notification to applicants)
(4) On-line viewing system (online request and viewing)
(5) Examination-related administrative work system (substantive-examination-related drafting, approval and management, etc)
(6) System for appeals and trials (appeals-and-trials-related drafting, approval and management, etc)
(7) Gazette system (issuance of gazette in electronic form, approval and management, etc.)
(8) Registration clerical work system (registration to establishment rights, management of the original patent register, etc.)

Owing to the introduction of these systems, an applicant can file a patent application or a utility model application via on-line from a personal computer. Moreover, a paperless system related to the appeal (including reconsideration by examiner before appeal) and to the domestic administrative procedures of a JPO-designated PCT international application has been put into place. In April 2004, the electronic filing of PCT international applications was launched.

In October 2005, in addition to the conventional electronic applications through ISDN lines, the acceptance of electronic applications utilizing the Internet, as well as 24 hours a day, 365 days a year full-time acceptance of all electronic applications was introduced. Furthermore, in January 2007, the PCT international application via the internet was introduced. Through the Internet application, not only high speed and high capacity communication using the currently widespread broadband has become possible, but also the exact authentication of personal identification and the prevention of a falsification of documents through the use of electronic certificates and communication security through the use of encryption methods have been achieved.

At the end of March 2009, the said electronic application through ISDN line was abolished to integrate it into the internet application.

In 2011, the ratios of online electronic filing was 97.8% for patent and utility model, 99.2% for appeals, 99.8% for the national procedures of a PCT internal application, and 92.9% for PCT international application.

b) Other administrative procedure systems
The following systems, which have been in place prior to the introduction of the electronic application system, have been operating successfully.

(1) Application-related administrative system
This system provides computerized central management for application-related administrative work, including the management of various progress information, the extraction of applications for which gazettes are to be published and the preparation of various statistical tables. (The management of patents and utility models, and designs and trademarks filed prior to the electronic application system.)

(2) A file wrapper administrative work system for the INPIT
This system provides computerized central management for administrative work data, relating to disposed file wrappers kept in the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT), and performs duties, such as the management and storage of file wrappers, lending and returning a file wrapper by using terminals.

Since January 2007, the INPIT has taken over the system operation from the JPO.

Equipment used (hardware, including the types of terminal and network used, and software), carriers used

a) The hardware used
① Central processing unit (overall management host): 1 set
② Central processing unit (office processing host): 1 set
③ XML management server: 1 set
④ Record file server: 1 set
⑤ XML Official Gazette server: 1 set
⑥ PCT-RO server: 1 set
⑦ Server for paperless appeals and trials: 1 set
⑧ Acceptance server: 1 set
⑨ Server for exchange of priority certificates among Trilateral Patent Offices: 1set
⑩ Peripheral server for patent and utility model formality/examination: 1 set
⑪ Patent, utility model and design document server: 1 set
⑫ DNA search server: 1 set
⑬ Search server for examples of appeals and trials and court decisions: 1 set
⑭ Design search server: 1 set
⑮ Trademark basic master server: 1 set
⑯ Trademark pronunciation search server: 1 set

Existing online thesauri; their structure, presentation and usefulness for computerized searches

Since December 1999, the JPO has been operating a patent and utility model search system enabling a full text search function by utilizing the data collected through a paperless system. The collected text data includes domestic patent gazette, foreign patent gazette, and non-patent literature. This search function supports the use of thesaurus dictionaries.

By the use of the thesaurus dictionary, a user can search a synonym, a related word, a superordinate word, and a subordinate word, and perform Japanese-English and English-Japanese translations of the search word. When performing a full text search, the burden on the user such as producing and inputting of a search query can be reduced, and the improvement on the accuracy and the efficiency of the full text search can be realized because the words searched, displayed, and translated by the thesaurus dictionary can be easily converted into the search query.

The types of thesaurus dictionaries loaded onto the present patent and utility model search system and the functions using the thesaurus dictionary are as follows:

(Thesaurus dictionaries contained)
a) Common dictionary (synonyms)
A dictionary which contains synonyms of general words
b) Common dictionary (different notation word)
A dictionary which contains words with different notation of general words
c) Science and technology word dictionary (Japanese version)
A dictionary which contains technical words in Japanese created by the Japan Science and Technology Agency
d) Science technology word dictionary (English version)
A dictionary which contains English technical words created by the Japan Science and Technology Agency
e) Compound dictionary
A dictionary which contains similar words to chemical compounds

f) Theme dictionary
A dictionary prepared by theme, and having technical terms of the technical field registered therein by the user. This dictionary can be freely edited by the users themselves, and the edited contents can be commonly used by all users.

(Available functions)
Search query input assist function
A function used in inputting the search query of a full text search.

This function can automatically produce a search query, whereby by inputting a search keyword, candidates of synonyms, subordinate and related words are displayed in a tree-form, and the selected words from the candidates can be input simultaneously in the search query. Furthermore, a series of all of these procedures can be performed automatically. Moreover, a search query which designates areas of documents to be searched can be input.

VI. Administration of the industrial property office library, and information products and services available to the public (relating to facilities, e.g., for lodging applications, for assisting clients on searching procedures, for obtaining official publications and registry extracts)

Planning, administration, automation, security, buildings

The JPO Library, as a branch library of the National Diet Library, is provided on the first basement of the JPO office building and is operated in the following manner.
1. Users
- JPO staff and general users
- 9:30 to 18:00

Collecting, acquisitions, preparation

The following are collected: Materials concerning IP right legislation and the peripheral laws inside and outside of Japan, related materials necessary for understanding IP rights, related materials necessary for study of IP rights, and reference materials for general administration.

As of the end of 2011, the library contains 40,000 volumes.

Collection management, preservation

The books are labeled and stored with a storage number and classification data, and the bibliographic information is inputted in the library system constructing a database for the books.

Interlibrary lending, resource sharing, networks of patent libraries in the country

Interlibrary lending of books etc. has been conducted among the National Diet Library and the branch libraries of each ministry and government offices.

Furthermore, the JPO is participating in the “Distributed Type Comprehensive Data System” which permits a batch data retrieval from the database of the books held by all the branch libraries by using the Kasumigaseki WAN (an inter ministry wide area network linking the LANs of each ministry and government offices (in-house Local Area Network)), which was constructed by the National Diet Library.

Information services available to the public (including computerized services and search files contained in libraries remote from your Office and patent information posted by your Office on the World Wide Web)

a) Providing IP rights information via the Internet

The JPO has been providing the Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) service since March 1999. This service is accessible through the Internet and covers 84. million items of IP information by using document numbers and classifications as search keys. This service was transferred to the INPIT as of October 2004, and has been operated there since.

The main patent information related services provided by the INPIT are as follows;

(1) Simplified Search for beginners (patent and utility model)
This search method is for beginners who are not familiar with IP information. Patent and utility model gazettes on CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs and online (Published patent applications, the Japanese translation of PCT international applications, domestic republications of PCT international applications and Registered Utility Model Applications) issued since 1993 can be referred to by keyword searches.

(2) Patent/utility model gazette database search
Various patent and utility model gazettes (including the publications of patent applications, examined applications and registrations), published from 1885 onwards can be searched by using the document number. Download and printing of the Official Gazettes on a document-by-document basis has become possible since March 2006. An English version is available.

(3) Search for patent/utility model documents by reference numbers
Searches for patent/utility model gazettes published since 1921 can be made by using the reference number. An English version is available.

(4) Gazette text search
Running a general search or entering document numbers enables access to publications of unexamined patent/utility model applications issued in January 1993 and thereafter, patent/utility model gazettes issued in January 1994 and thereafter, and publications of registered utility model applications issued in July 1994 and thereafter. Starting from March 2006, each document from the publications was also made available in PDF format for separate downloading and printing. In March 2007, Japanese abstracts of U.S. patent descriptions and descriptions of unexamined patent applications were added to the documents subject to search and the number of columns to input search items was increased. In March 2008, full-text search was made possible in the gazette text search service. In November 2009, Japanese abstracts of European descriptions were added to the documents subject to search. In March 2010, the NOT operation function was added and a principal applicant and a right holder of gazette became subject to the list screen of search results. In March 2012, Japanese abstracts of machine translated Chinese utility model documents were added to the documents subject to search.

(5) Front page searches for the publication of patent applications
Running a general search or entering document numbers enables access to the front pages of the publications of unexamined patent applications issued in January 1993 and thereafter.

(6) Patent classification searches
In October 2006, the conventional IPC searches and FI and/or F-term Retrieval were integrated and made available as a patent classification search service. Various patent/utility model gazettes published from 1885 onwards can be searched by using FI and F-terms as well as facet and IPC used within the JPO.
An English version of the FI and/or F-term search is also available.

(7) Patent map guidance
A list of reference is available for IPC, FI, F-term descriptions and F-terms. An English version is also available. Explanations of additional F-term codes have been available in the English version services since March 2004. In October 2011, an IPC-FI concordance search (a function to identify FI through IPC) function was added.

(8) Patent Abstracts of Japan (PAJ) Search
English abstracts of publications of patent applications issued from 1976 onwards can be searched by keyword or document number. Also, since March 2000, the JPO has been providing the full texts (machine translation into English) of the Japanese Unexamined Patent Applications issued from January 1993 onwards.

(9) Online File Inspections
Inspection of the documents sent to the applicants by the JPO from July 2003 onwards has become possible by using document numbers as of March 2006. In addition, in March 2007, the documents subject to inspection were expanded to include the documents sent by applicants and the documents used within the JPO.

Furthermore, the published appeal and trial decisions from 1940 onwards, and as related information, the status information (for those filed from 1990 onwards) on appeal and trial decisions, the legal status on applications, registrations and trial decisions are also available.
b) Providing JPO data
In March 1999, the JPO began providing the JPO’s bibliographical and status information to external users by organizing and converting it into a standard format (Seiri-hyoujunka data) for better usability for external users. This service was transferred to the INPIT from October 2004, and has been provided to external users once every two weeks.
c) Reference to Public Gazettes on Patent
INPIT has 56 access devices, including the retrieval system designed for patent examiner terminals, which is available in the Public gazettes reading room on the second floor of the JPO office building. This allows free public access to the IPDL Service, gazettes on CD-ROM/DVD-ROM, etc.
d) Reference to examination and trial documents
The INPIT is collecting various technical documents (books, etc.), which are used in the examinations and trials by the JPO, widely from within and outside Japan and is making them available to the public.
e) Provision of Licensable Patent Information
In order to ensure a smooth transfer of patents prepared for rights transfers or licensed implementation (licensable patents) within the industrial sector and between local companies and to promote their commercialization, the INPIT built a database of licensable patents owned by companies, universities and public research institutes, and made them available to the public online as the Patent Licensing Information Database.
The number of licensable patents registered in the Patent Licensing Information Database is estimated to be approximately 42,000 patents as of the end of March 2012.

URLs of web pages of the Office's website for electronic filing of patent applications

The INPIT has developed software for electronic application, enabling administrative procedures such as the filing of applications for patent, utility model, trademark and industrial design, appealing for trial and payment of the annual fees, to be conducted online. The software can be downloaded for free at:

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide information on business procedures such as: filing, publication, examination and grant procedures related to patents; opposition and appeal procedures related to patents; etc.

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide a description of information products and services offered by the Office (e.g., patent search service(s) and patent databases), as well as information on how to access and utilize them IPDL)

VII. Matters concerning mutual exchange of patent documentation and information

International or regional cooperation in the exchange of machine-readable information, e.g., bibliographic data, abstract and/or full text information

a) Trilateral data exchange and data exchange between two countries
As part of its efforts for the Trilateral Offices' data exchange project, the JPO periodically provides the EPO and the USPTO with bibliographic data of patent/utility model gazettes stored in electronic media (such as DVD-R), concordance data of patent document numbers, Patent Abstracts of Japan (PAJ) data, F-term inventories, PMGS data, and IPC files. Under a bilateral data exchange program, the JPO provides the SIPO and KIPO, etc. with its data.

The JPO has received a variety of data from EPO through CMT. Incorporating the publication of unexamined applications bibliographic data provided by the JPO, the data includes the consolidated and edited bibliographic data of the publication of unexamined applications of each country, full text data and image data of laid-open patent application specifications, and the data of classifications, patent inventory and patent family.

The JPO receives from the USPTO, full text data and image data of patent application descriptions and those of laid-open patent application descriptions via HTTPS downloads and via the Internet.
b) Trilateral exchange of DNA sequence data
The JPO has sent the DNA sequence data published in the publications of patent applications, etc. (about 5,000 data in 2011) to the National Institute of Genetics, an intermediary for the trilateral data exchange.
c) English translation of FI and F-terms
FI and F-Term have been translated into English under the cooperation of the Trilateral Patent Offices.
An English version for approximately 100 themes of the F-term manual has been produced every year since FY 2004. The translated data was originally sent to the USPTO and the EPO as trilateral exchange data, however they are now included in the PMGS (Patent Map Guidance System) data and also sent to the KIPO and SIPO.
In addition, they have been posted in the English version of the PMGS service of the IPDL since March 2001 to allow external user access.
d) Sending Official Gazette on DVD-ROM to overseas
The JPO mutually exchanges official gazettes, etc. with 60 organizations (including international organizations) in 51 nations, out of which the JPO sends DVD-ROM “Patent and Registered Utility Model Specifications” to 30 organizations. The JPO also sends DVD-ROM “Published unexamined applications to 28 organizations.

Those gazettes sent to the above countries and organizations include PAJ (Patent Abstracts of Japan), which has become a project of the INPIT since October 2004.

Medium used for exchange of priority documents

On-line (for exchange with the EPO, KIPO, the USPTO, and WIPO Digital Access service for Priority Documents); on-line and paper documents (for sending to WIPO)

Medium allowed for filing applications

On-line or paper. For PCT applications, those sent by fax are also acceptable.

CD-R or flexible disc may be used in a case of emergency except for international applications under
the PCT.

VIII. Other relevant matters concerning education and training in, and promotion of, the use of patent information, including technical assistance to developing countries (please indicate URLs of web pages of the Office’s website wherever appropriate)

Training courses for national and foreign participants, use of audiovisual means

See second and third items.

Assistance to developing countries (sending consultants and experts, receiving trainees from developing countries, etc.)

a) Assistance to developing countries through cooperation with WIPO
The JPO has been providing developing countries with search results free of charge in respect to the cooperation on the WIPO State-of-the-Art Searches Program. In 2011, the JPO provided 71 search results.

b) Activities/cooperation utilizing voluntary contributions (Japan Funds-in-Trust) for WIPO
(1) ICT Workshops for ARIPO Member States
In October 2011, as part of the programs financed by the Japan Funds-in-Trust for Africa, a Training Workshop on the IPAS and WIPOScan for the IT staff from 14 ARIPO Member states was held in Harare, Zimbabwe. JPO officials participated in the workshop and introduced Japan’s experiences of developing ICT infrastructures within IP Offices, developing IT-based access to IP information and making effective use of IP information through electronic delivery. They then prompted the improvement of business efficiencies among IP Offices through the introduction of Information Technologies and also encouraged the promotion of IP technology-based business services.

(2) Training for government officials
Training related to informatization was provided for two weeks in Japan under the cooperation with WIPO.

(3) Project for digitization of IP documentation
The JPO has launched the Project for Digitization of IP Documentation financed by Japan Funds-in-Trust to support digitization of patent documents for countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The digitization project for the Philippines was completed in May 2009, and the project for Indonesia saw its completion in October 2011.

c) Cooperation using other organizations for developing countries
(1)Modernization of Intellectual Property Right Administration
The JPO carried out the following projects in the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of the Philippines, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and the Republic of Indonesia through JICA project-scheme technical cooperation.

For the Kingdom of Thailand (the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP)), with the cooperation with JICA, the JPO helped to establish the Industrial Property Information Center (IPIC) in the Department of Intellectual Property of Thailand in 1995. The JPO helped establish an industrial property right automation system and provided assistance for offering and promoting industrial property right information to the users up to June 2000.

For the Republic of the Philippines (the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IP Philippines)), from May 1999 to May 2003 the JPO carried out the “Modernization of Industrial Property Administration Project”, a project for the technology transfer and the human resource development for the modernization of industrial property right administrative procedures through establishing the patent administrative procedure systems, such as the bibliographic database, the document database system applicable to the old law and the PCT subsystem. In addition, the JPO carried out a follow-up project to the above-mentioned project between November 2004 and March 2007, and also dispatched experts.

“The modernization project of Vietnamese industrial property right operations” was implemented from April 2000 to June 2004 for the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam to develop human resource through the construction of business processing system related to industrial property rights. “The utilization project of information on Vietnamese intellectual property right” was implemented from January 2005 to March 2009 to construct the search system and the information provision system in order to realize the modernization of industrial property right operations and to develop human resource through the construction of those systems. In June 2008, one JPO official was dispatched for each project for providing instruction/advice with the IP information system update plan. In addition, the seminar was held in Vietnam to broadly appeal the utilization of each system as an achievement of the projects in March 2009.

The JPO supported the construction of Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) for promoting informatization of intellectual property administration in the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (DGIPR) under the JICA development investigation scheme from June 2005 to March 2007.The Phase II of the “Project on Industrial Property right Administration in the Republic of Indonesia” was implemented from June 2007 to June 2010. Under the project, the JPO sent two experts to the DGIPR in October 2009 to study DGIPR’s progress in the introduction of IT and the feasibility of application e-filing/e-inspection, and to give technical instructions and advice.

(2) Training for government officials
The JPO offered a training program targeting patent examiners from developing countries, mainly those in the Asia-Pacific region, to improve their examination skills. The program covered examination practices and focused on how to make use of patent information.

*For further information, visit the following JPO's website.

Promotional activities (seminars, exhibitions, visits, advertising, etc.)

a) IPDL training seminars
Training seminars of patent search using Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) were held for beginners of industrial property right search from individuals and SMEs (10 times in 7 major cities nationwide in FY2011). The first session of the seminar was held on weekdays in Tokyo and Osaka, and on weekends in other cities. IPDL has been managed at the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT) since October 2004 (Trainings have been held since FY2006).

Studies to identify trends in new technology, e.g., by the use of patent statistics and preparation of monographs

The JPO conducts surveys on technological trends, in which patent information is analyzed from multiple perspectives, primarily in the fields in which technological advances are foreseen. The purpose of these surveys is to contribute to the preparation of materials for accurate examination and basic materials for considering examination structures and also to formulate the future direction of technological development and R&D by companies and research institutes.

In FY 2011, the JPO conducted surveys concerning 9 themes.

IX. Other general information related to the Office that is available on the Internet -- URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that:

provide information on legislation related to patents

contain the Annual Report of the Office


if necessary, provide further information related to the topics referred to in the current ATR

Nothing in particular

provide open source codes related to patent information systems

Nothing in particular

contain patent-related news regarding the Office

X. Other relevant matters

Nothing in particular


1.Classification is allotting one or more classification symbols (e.g., IPC symbols) to a patent application, either before or during search and examination, which symbols are then published with the patent application.


2.Preclassification is allotting an initial broad classification symbol (e.g., IPC class or subclass, or administrative unit) to a patent application, using human or automated means for internal administrative purposes (e.g., routing an application to the appropriate examiner).  Usually preclassification is applied by the administration of an office.


3.Reclassification is the reconsideration and usually the replacement of one or more previously allotted classification symbols to a patent document, following a revision and the entry into force of a new version of the Classification system (e.g., the IPC).  The new symbols are available on patent databases.