Annual Technical Report 2007 on Patent Information Activities submitted by Japan (SCIT/ATR/PI/2007/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 2007, the number of applications was 396,291 (down 3.0 % from the previous year) and the number of registrations was 164,954 (up 16.7 % from the previous year).

(2) Utility model
In 2007, the number of applications was 10,315 (down 5.9 % from the previous year) and the number of registrations was 10,080 (down 4.8 % from the previous year).

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

The number of patent applications in the following technical fields has significantly increased in 2006 compared with that in the previous year.

- “C10 Petroleum, Gas or Coke Industries; Technical Gases Containing Carbon Monoxide; Fuels; Lubricant; Peat” (up 24% from the previous year)
- “D30 Crystal Growth” (up 16% from the previous year)
- “F21 Lighting” (up 13% from the previous year)
- “F22 Steam Generation” (up 17% from the previous year)
- “F26 Drying” (up 14% from the previous year)

Please note that IPC classes with 500 or more applications in 2006 were examined.

URLs of web pages of the Office's website that provide statistics related to patents

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 2007:
- Publication of Unexamined Patent Applications: 336,800 issues
- Published Japanese Translation of PCT International Publication for Patent Applications: 38,490 issues
- Publication of Registered Utility Models: 10,163 issues
- Patent Gazette: 164,400 issues
- Utility Model Gazette: 1 issue
- Decision on Appeal/Trial Gazette: 14,656 issues

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

Nothing particular

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

Since 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 (and the paper-based applications which has been converted into electronic data) and compiles them in Patent and Utility Model Gazette.

A Gazette 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 models to conform to the PCT international application forms and internationally standardized the electronic formats (use of XML forms).

a) Publication of Unexamined Applications
Since January 1993, the JPO has issued Publication of Unexamined Applications in the form of a CD-ROM.

Since January 2004, the Publication of Unexamined Applications has been issued with the format changed from SGML to XML and with the media changed from CD-ROM to DVD-ROM.

A single volume DVD-ROM Publication of Unexamined Applications includes an average of about 7,700 issues and it was issued 50 times in 2007.

The Publication of Unexamined Applications on DVD-ROM enables search using 16 items as search keys, including document number, IPC, applicant and the name of the invention.

b) Patent Gazette
From January 1994 to March 1996, the JPO issued the Publication of Examined Applications in the form of a CD-ROM that includes the Patent Gazette and the Utility Model Gazette. Starting from May 1996, “the Patent Gazette and the Utility Model Gazette on CD-ROM” which includes post-grant registered gazettes (the Patent Gazette and the Utility Model Gazette) has been issued.

Since July 2004, the Patent Gazette has been issued with the format changed from SGML to XML and with the media changed from CD-ROM to DVD-ROM.

A single DVD-ROM Patent Gazette includes an average of about 3,400 issues and it was issued 50 times in 2007.

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

c) Publication of Registered Utility Model Applications via the Internet
Until 2005, Publications of Registered Utility Model Applications were issued through recording on a DVD-ROM Official Gazette. Since January 2006 they have been issued once a week via the Internet, thereby making it possible to download Official Gazettes free of charge at any time, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

In addition, even after the start of issuance of Official Gazettes via the Internet, information contained in the Official Gazettes is recorded on DVD-ROM and provided as “information Publication of Registered Utility Model Applications” one week after issuance in order to meet the users’ needs.

A single-volume Publication of “information contained in Publication of Registered Utility Model Applications” includes an average of about 200 issues and it was issued 50 times in 2007.

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 following URL provides the public access to webpage including Patent Information, however, no bulk data are available: (Industrial Property Digital Library (hereinafter referred to as the “IPDL”)).

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 has required applicants filing patent applications and utility model applications to submit an Abstract in addition to filing documents. The Abstract is inserted in 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) Preparation of and Use of Secondary Documents

1) Preparation of English Abstract of Publication of Unexamined Patent Application in Japan
The Patent Abstracts of Japan (hereinafter referred to as the “PAJ”) is a paper booklet which combines English Abstracts of publications of patent applications, filed by Japanese applicants, and their representative drawings. The JPO has been sending the PAJ to foreign patent offices since its first issue.

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

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

Starting from the issue in April 1998, all applications by both Japanese and foreigners have been issued in PAJs.

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) Preparation of PAJ/INDEX CD-ROM

The PAJ/INDEX CD-ROM contains a bibliography and an abstract of PAJs, and the disk number of the corresponding PAJ/CD-ROM.

The JPO has been publishing PAJ/INDEX CD-ROMs quarterly since April 1997. The information on each PAJ/INDEX CD-ROM is organized chronologically based on a 3-month period and covers a one-year period. The PAJ/INDEX CD-ROM is also sent to foreign patent offices and public institutions that currently receive the PAJ/CD-ROM.

3) Preparation of PAJ/CD-ROM Foreign Applicant Version
PAJ (disclosed after 1998) published in April 1998 included that of foreign applicants, but foreigners’ applications filed between 1989 and 1997 which had not been prepared as PAJ were collected and stored in six CD-ROMs and then issued in the following schedule, namely; G section in March 1998; A and H sections in March 1999; C section in March 2000; and B, D, E & F sections in March 2001.

4) Foreign patent documents
The JPO prepares coded data of Japanese abstracts of US patent specifications, the publication of US patent specifications and the publication of EPO patent specifications. The data are stored electronically and used as search reference.

The services from 1) to 4) above have been operated by the Internet through the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (hereinafter referred to as the “INPIT”) since October 2004.

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 2007, the number of applications classified by the JPO by the International Patent Classification was: about 400, 000 when the application was laid open, about 150,000 when the Patent Gazette or Utility Model 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 102,000 documents by 2007 of Japan.

Hybrid system indexing

An F-term derived by reorganizing or subdividing the IPC for each predetermined technical field 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 search service that integrates the following technologies (1) to (4) has been provided:

(1) Technology to produce an automaton based on search condition and applies the targeted data for search to the automaton to evaluate the matched condition (SIGMA search technology)

(2) Technology to store the targeted data for search in a plain text file that has a different tag of XML data file; the tag allows searching bibliographic data and data of the main body, such as specification, paying attention to the type of data (Transforming the targeted data for search into data in XML form data structure)

(3) Technology using split processing and parallel searches of the targeted data for search, thereby enabling coping with the increase of data solely by adding more servers on a case-by-case basis, in order to perform a high-speed full-text search of Japanese, English and other documents, irrespective of the increase of data (High volume technology)

(4) Technology to perform a search under one search condition by combining each search condition of each search request with “OR” and to provide the search answer by dividing the search results based on each search request, in the case of unspecified number of search requests (High-traffic technology)

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, F-term analytic work is conducted on about 1,800 themes and 2,600 themes can be used in search.

b) Making F-terms Available to the General Public
The JPO opens all F-terms of the available themes to general public via the Internet through the INPIT. By the industrial property (IP) right information via the Internet, F-term is available to general public and users can conduct F-term search through the use of the IPDL of the INPIT.


Updating of the Search File
The search file used by the examiner is continuously updated so that it is the latest one. 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 the form of electronic data on RAID. For full text search, all documents are stored on memory.

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

Text data and image data of the EPO, the USPTO and WIPO, as well as image data of major European countries are stored, and IPC, ECLA and USPC search is 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 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 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 use of text data of the domestic patent gazette collected through the paperless system and text data of the foreign patent gazette.

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 Gazette 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 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, 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 homology search, which searches for a sequence utilizing homology in respect of nucleotide sequences and amino acid sequences, and keyword search, which utilizes bibliographic data.

a) LiqCryst
The JPO stores to PC a database of liquid crystal materials, provided in CD-ROM format by University of Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany, thereby enabling a search.

b) Microsoft TechNet
This system enables search of the database about the most advanced computer technical information provided by CD-ROM from Microsoft.

This system enables database searches for various optical properties of lens systems shown in many publicly known documents, which are provided on CD-ROM 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 the PC in the JPO.

A Japanese patent document search system, provided by PATOLIS Corporation.

b) JDream
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 website provided by the Elsevier for searching more than 1,800 journals in the science, technology, medicine and social science fields published by the Elsevier Group, and EMBASE, Compendex and other bibliographic databases, and reference works, etc..

e) IEEEXplore
An internet search site provided by IEEE/IEE for searching their publications including magazines and minutes, IEEE standard, etc..

An internet search site provided by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for searching their scientific association journals.

g) Nikkei Biotech Online
An internet search site provided by Nikkei Business Publications Inc. for searching biotechnology-related articles published in “Nikkei Biotech” magazine.

A search system provided by the New Glass Forum for searching a database of glass formation information via internet.

i) Science Online
An internet search site for searching biotechnology-related information published in “Science” magazine.

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

k) Web of Science
An internet search site storing bibliographic information from about 8,700 important scientific journals and enabling search for their citation relationship.

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

m) NRI Cyber Patent Desk
An internet search site for enabling search for abstracts of company technical journals and for enabling concept-based search.

n) Shoku Net
An internet search site for searching articles in various fields concerning foods.

o) AIP On-line
An internet search site 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 internet search site for searching "Igaku Chuo Journal", carrying information on medical science, pharmaceutical science, dentistry and their related fields.

q) Medical and Pharmaceutical Prepared Document Full Text DB
An internet search site for enabling search for full text of about 200 institutes’ prepared documents in medical and pharmaceutical fields.

r) Dialog Web
An on-line information search system provided by Dialog Limited having at least 500 varieties of commercial-use database of information on patent, medical, pharmaceutical, science, technology, humanity & enterprises etc in the world.

s) QWEB2
An on-line information search service provided by Questel・Orbit Limited enabling search for patents, trademarks, and documents in the world.

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
An Internet search sites for searching information on colorants and pigments.

An Internet search site for searching a magazine “Nature” containing science and technology papers and related magazines.

w) Chemical Documents Library
An on-line Internet search site for full-text searches and inspection of “Chemical Handbook,” “Experimental Science Course,” and “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.

x) CiNii
An Internet search site covering about 2.8 million papers published in academic and association journals in Japan and abroad, which are possessed by the NII (National Institute of Informatics).

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. Whole contents of the application are stored in an electronic file, processed and managed. Currently, to improve the efficiency of drafting by linking drafting system with the search systems and of examination by implementing electronic approval, and for faster gazette publication and for separate management of each applications, 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 (automatic preparation of the Gazette)
(8) Registration clerical work system (registration of establishment of right, management of original 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, introduced is 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. In April 2004, the electronic filing of the PCT international application was started.

In 2007, the ratios of online electronic filing were 97% for patent and utility model, no less than 98% for appeal, no less than 99% for the domestic administrative procedures of a PCT internal application, and 86% for PCT international application.

In October 2005, in addition to conventional electronic applications through ISDN lines, the acceptance of electronic applications utilizing the Internet, as well as the full-time acceptance of 24 hours per day and 365 days per year of all electronic applications was started. Further, in January 2007, the PCT international application was started to be accepted through the Internet. In the Internet application, not only a high speed and high capacity communication using the broadband which currently has become widespread is possible, but also the exact authentication of personal identification and the prevention of a falsification of documents by an electronic certificate and the securement of the security of communication by the encryption have been achieved.

b) Other administrative procedure systems
The following systems, operating before the electronic application system was introduced, have been operating successfully.

(1) Application-related management system
This system provides computerized central management for application-related administrative work, including management of various progress information, extraction of an application for which a gazette is to be published and 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 wrapper kept in the INPIT, and performs duties, such as management and storage of file wrappers, lending and returning a file wrapper by using terminals.

As of January 2007, the INPIT took over operations for this system 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 the patent and utility model search system which enables a full text search function by utilizing the data collected through the 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 use of the Thesaurus dictionary, a user can search a synonym, related word, super ordinate word, and subordinate word, and perform Japanese-English and English-Japanese translation of the search word. When performing full text search, reduction of users’ burden such as producing and inputting of a search query, and improvement of accuracy and 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 Thesaurus dictionary loaded on the present patent and utility model search system and the functions using the Thesaurus dictionary are as follows:

(Available thesaurus dictionaries)
a) Common dictionary (synonyms)
A dictionary in which synonyms of common words are collected.

b) Common dictionary (by-form)
A dictionary in which by-forms of the common words are collected.

c) JICST dictionary (Japanese version)
A dictionary prepared by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) having technical terms in Japanese collected therein.

d) JICST dictionary (English version)
A dictionary prepared by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) having technical terms in English collected therein.

e) JICST dictionary (Japanese-English translation)
A dictionary having correspondence of technical terms between Japanese and English collected therein.

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 a user by himself, and the edited contents can be commonly used by all users.

(Available functions)
1) Search query input assist function
A function is used inputting search query of full text search.

The function can automatically produce a search query, wherein synonyms, subordinate and related words are displayed in a tree-form by inputting a search word, and then optional words are selected there from, thus the selected words can be searched at one time. Furthermore, a series of all of the procedures can be automatically performed. Moreover, when producing the search query, search areas of a document can also be designated.

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 workers and those who obtained permission from the Director of the Patent Information Division (inclusive of public users).
- Personnel of the National Diet Library and personnel of each of the branch libraries of each of the ministries and government offices.
(2) Open
- 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 right, related materials necessary for study of IP right, and reference materials for general administration.

As of the end of 2007, the library contains 27,000 volumes.

Collection management, preservation

Books are added with the storage number and classification and put on shelves, while bibliographic information is inputted in the library system to construct a database for a collection of 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 office.

Furthermore, the JPO participates in “Distributed Type Comprehensive Data System” which permits a batch retrieval of the database for a collection of books of each of the branch libraries by use of the inter-Ministry network (Wide Area Network), Kasumigaseki WAN (LAN of each of he ministries and government offices (in-house Local Area Network)), which is 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 right information via the internet
The JPO has been providing the IPDL service since March 1999. This service is accessible through the Internet and covers 65.0 million items of IP information by using document number and classification as search keys. The service was transferred from October 2004 to the INPIT, and has been operated thereby.

Main services relating to patent information that the JPO provides are as follows;

(1) Simplified Search for beginners (patent and utility model)
This search means is for beginners who are not familiar with IP information. Patent and utility model application gazettes on CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs (Published patent application, Japanese translation of PCT international application, Domestic re-publication of PCT international application and Registered Utility Model Applications) issued since 1993 can be referred to by free-word searches or by document number.

(2) Patent/utility model gazette database search
Various patent and utility model gazettes (including publication of patent applications, examined applications and registrations), published in 1885 and later can be searched by using document number. Download and printing of Official Gazettes on 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 reference number. An English version is available.

(4) Gazette text searches
Publications of unexamined patent and utility model applications published from January 1993 onward as well as publications of examined patent and utility model applications and publications of registrations published from January 1994 onward can be searched by free word or document number searches. Download and printing of Official Gazettes on a document-by-document basis have been possible since March 2006. In March 2007, Japanese abstracts of US patent specifications and publications of US patent specifications were included in the search subjects, and the number of input columns for search items was increased as well. In March 2008, it will be possible to search full texts of publication in the service of gazette text search.

(5) Front page searches for publication of patent applications
The front pages of publications of patent applications published from January 1993 onward can be searched by free word or document number searches.

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

(7) Patent map guidance
IPC list, FI list, F-term descriptions and F-term list can be referenced. An English version is also available. Explanations of additional F-term codes have been available in the English version services since March 2004.

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

(9) Online File Inspections
Inspection of documents sent to applicants by the JPO after July 2003 has been available since March 2006 by way of using document numbers. In addition, in March 2007, documents subject to inspection were expanded to include documents sent by applicants and documents used within the JPO.

Further, the published appeal and trial decisions in 1940 and after, and as related information, the status information (for those filed in and after 1990) on appeal and trial decisions, the legal status on applications, registrations and trial decisions are provided.

b) Providing JPO data
In March 1999, the JPO began providing the JPO’s bibliographical and progress information to outside users by organizing and converting it in the standard format for better usability for the outside users. This service was transferred to the INPIT from October 2004, and has been provided to the outside users every two weeks.

c) Access Service of the Patent Gazettes
The INPIT has provided about 103 devices for search for the Patent Gazette access room on the second floor of the JPO office building to allow the public access to the “IPDL Service,” “CD-ROM /DVD-ROM Gazette”, etc. free of charge.

At the same time, in eight places (Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Takamatsu, Fukuoka, and Naha), such devices are provided for giving search service. The number of the users of the services at the above devices in 2007 was about 44,000.

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 inside and outside of Japan and made available to the public.

e) Provision of Licensable Patent Information
In order to ensure a smooth transfer of licensable patents within the industrial sector and between local companies and to promote their practical application, the INPIT has built a database of licensable patents owned by companies, universities and public research institutes, which it makes available to the public as the Patent Licensing Database via the Internet at

The number of licensable patents registered in the Patent Licensing Database is estimated to be approximately 52,000 patents as of March 2008.

f) Intellectual Property Center
59 Intellectual Property Centers throughout the nation have widely implemented support operations for users including regional companies and applicants etc. They have given advice to the users, provided them guidance in retrieval methods of patent information, etc. according to their purposes, regularly conducted workshops and prepared booklets relating to retrieval methods of patent information etc.

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

The INPIT has developed software for electronic application, enabling such administrative procedures, e.g., filing of applications for patent, utility model, trademark and industrial design, appealing for trial and payment of annual fee, to be conducted online. The software can be downloaded free of charge 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
Regarding the trilateral exchange of data, the JPO periodically provides bibliographic data of the publications of unexamined patent/utility model applications, recorded in electronic media (such as DVD-R, etc), to the European Patent Office (EPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

In addition, the JPO sends concordance data of patent document numbers, Patent Abstracts of Japan (PAJ) data, and IPC files stored in electronic media (such as DVD-R, etc.).

As a bilateral data exchange project, the JPO sent image data and bibliographic data of the Patent Gazette and Utility Model Gazette, etc., published before the publication of the CD-ROM Official Gazette, stored on electronic media (such as CD-R) to the Republic of Korea in March 2005.

The EPO sends to the JPO the data by 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 image data of laid-open patent application specifications; and the data of classifications, patent inventory and patent family.

The USPTO sends to the JPO full text image data of patent application specifications and full text image data of laid-open patent application specifications by DLT and classification data by FTP.

b) Trilateral exchange of DNA sequence data
The JPO sent the DNA sequence data published in publications of patent applications, etc. (about 5,000 data) to the National Institute of Genetics, one of the intermediaries for the trilateral data exchange.

c) English translation of FI and F-term
FI and F-Term have been translated into English under the cooperation of Trilateral Patent Offices. The translated data are sent to the USPTO and the EPO as trilateral exchange data.

In addition, they have been presented in the IPDL since March 2001.

An English version for 100 themes of the F-term manual was produced in March 2006 and was sent to the USPTO and the EPO in July 2007. They have also been posted in the IPDL since September 2005.

d) Sending Official Gazette on DVD-ROM to overseas
The JPO mutually exchanges official gazettes, etc. with 77 organizations (including international organizations) in 64 nations, out of which the JPO sends the DVD-ROM Patent Gazette to 32 organizations. The JPO also sends the DVD-ROM of the publication of 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 exchanging with the EPO, the KIPO and the USPTO) and CD-R (for sending to WIPO)

Medium allowed for filing applications

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

CD-R or flexible disc may be used in case of emergency except for cases of PCT application.

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 the developing countries with the search results free of cost through WIPO in terms of cooperating with WIPO State-of-the-Art Searches Program. In 2007, the JPO provided 99 search results.

b) Activities and assistance through WIPO Funds-in-Trust/Japan
(1) Holding of Workshops
- In June 2007, in Pakistan, a workshop on the theme "The Use of Intellectual Property by SME Support Institutions for the promotion of competitiveness of SMEs in the food processing sector" was held and about 30 officials from 18 countries in the Asia-Pacific region participated in the workshop.

- In June 2007, in Malaysia, a seminar on the theme "Training Program on PCT for patent officers of Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO)" was held and about 70 officials participated in the seminar.

- In January 2008, in Vietnam, a colloquium on the theme "Intellectual Property Education, Training and Research" was held and about 60 officials from 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region participated in the colloquium.

(2) Training for government officials
In cooperation with WIPO, the JPO held a training course on the Use of Information Technology for about two weeks in Japan.

c) Assistance to developing countries using other institutions
(1) Dispatch of Experts
Under the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) scheme, the JPO had one expert official dispatched to the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) and one expert official to the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (DGIPR) as long-term experts.

(2) Modernization of Intellectual Property 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 the JICA project-type technical cooperation.

For the Kingdom of Thailand (the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP)), the JPO cooperation with JICA 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, until June 2000, to provide and promote industrial property right information to users.

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

For the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP)), under the JICA scheme, from April 2000 to June 2004, the JPO carried out the "Modernization of Industrial Property Administration Project", a project for the modernization of administrative procedure at the NOIP, developing human resources was performed through the automation of administrative work. Since January 2005, “The Project for Utilization of Intellectual Property Information” has been carried out, which aims at construction of a search system and an information system as well as human resources development by use of the systems in order to realize modernization of the industrial property operation. In May, the JPO dispatched one official of the INPIT with the aim of guiding and advising about the Internet application operation. In July, with the aim of guiding and advising about the network operation and management and in September, with the aim of the guiding and advising about the IP information system renewal plan, the JPO dispatched one official respectively. In addition thereto, according to the JICA interim appraisal survey scheme, the application of the IPDL system and the search system for the examiner to the actual business have been started and the JPO has also dispatched inquiry team members to guide and advise about the application.

For the Republic of Indonesia (the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (DGIPR)), since July 2007, the JPO has organized a workshop on the methods for establishing the organization/framework for the system development/operation and for maintaining and managing the system in the introduction of IT in the intellectual property field as "the Project for Intellectual Property Administration" Phase II, and has dispatched one official of the JPO as an instructor therefor.

(3) Training for government officials
The JPO invited three counterparts of the JICA experts (who have been dispatched from the JPO to Vietnam and Indonesia on a long-term basis) from both Vietnam and Indonesia, to provide them with lectures/on-site training on computer-related technology and other technological fields.

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

a) Workshop on the IPDL
Workshops for patent search using the IPDL were held for IP Information search beginners from individuals or medium and small enterprises concurrently on holidays (at a total of 6 places in Japan). The IPDL has been provided at the INPIT since October 2004. (Workshop program has started since 2006)

b) Patent Information Advisors
In order to realize effective use of patent information in SMEs and universities/research institutions, the INPIT dispatches Patent Information Advisors to prefectures in Japan to provide instruction on how to search for patent information, and they provide consultation services on how to utilize such information, as well as hold workshops in response to various requests related to patent information.
The URL providing information on the PI Advisors:

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 fields in which numbers of applications are significantly increasing or in which technological advances are foreseen. The purpose of these surveys is to contribute to preparation of materials for accurate examination and basic materials for considering examination structures and also to formulation of the future direction of technological development and R&D by companies and research institutes.

In FY 2007, the JPO conducted surveys concerning 12 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 particular

provide open source codes related to patent information systems

Nothing particular

contain patent-related news regarding the Office

X. Other relevant matters

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.