Annual Technical Report 2008 on Patent Information Activities submitted by Japan (SCIT/ATR/PI/2008/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 2008, the number of applications was 391,002 (down 1.3 % from the previous year) and the number of registrations was 176,950 (up 7.3 % from the previous year).

(2) Utility model
In 2008, the number of applications was 9,452 (down 8.4 % from the previous year) and the number of registrations was 8,917 (down 11.5% 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 2007 compared with that in the previous year.

- "A41 Wearing Apparel" (up 45% from the previous year)
- "B25 Hand Tools; Portable Power-Driven Tools; Handles for Hand Implements; Workshop Equipment; Manipulators" (up 21% from the previous year)
- "B43 Writing or Drawing Implements; Bureau Accessories" (up 15% from the previous year)
- "B62 Land Vehicles for Travelling Otherwise than on Rails" (up 10% from the previous year)

Please note that IPC classes with 500 or more applications in 2007 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 2008:
- Published Unexamined Patent Applications: 312,443 issues
- Published Japanese Translation of PCT International Publication for Patent Applications: 47,370 issues
- Published Registered Utility Model Applications: 9,034 issues
- Patent 174,500 issues
- Decision on Appeal/Trial in Patent: 14,761issues

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 6,200 issues and was issued 51 times in 2008.

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 3,500 issues and it was issued 50 times in 2008.

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) Published Registered Utility Model Applications via the Internet
JPO issued Published Registered Utility Model Applications in the form of DVD-ROMs until 2005. Since January 2006 they have been issuied weekly on the website "Official Publication via the Internet", thereby making it possible to download the publication free of charge at any time, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

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

A single-volume of the Published Registered Utility Model Applications includes an average of about 180 issues and it was issued 50 times in 2008.

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 the Patent Information, however, no bulk data are available: (Industrial Property Digital Library (hereinafter referred to as the "IPDL")).
The following URL provides the public access to webpage of only the Publication of Registered Utility Models, bulk data is available: (Publication via 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) Preparation of and Use of Secondary Documents
1) Preparation 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 92 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.

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 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 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 the 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 according to the following schedule; 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 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 4) 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 2007, the number of applications classified by the JPO applying 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 109,000 documents by 2008 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

A full text search service that integrates the following technologies (1) to (4) has been provided:

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

(2) Technology to store the targeted data for search in a plain text file that has a different tag of an XML data file; the tag allows searching for bibliographic data and data of the main body, such as specifications, paying attention to the type of data (Transforming the targeted data for search into data in an XML form of 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 an 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, 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). Through the industrial property (IP) right information on the Internet, the F-term is available to the general public and users can conduct an 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. For full text search, all documents 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 and WIPO, as well as the image data of major European countries are stored, and searches of IPC, ECLA and USPC 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.

b) Microsoft TechNet
This system enables the search of the database covering the latest technical computer information provided on CD-ROM by Microsoft.

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 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 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) Nikkei Biotech Online
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 Online
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) Web of Science
A searchable internet website storing bibliographic information from about 8,700 important scientific journals and enabling search for their citation relationship.

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
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) AIP On-line
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
A searchable internet website 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
A searchable internet website enabling search for full text of prepared documents in the medical and pharmaceutical fields by approximately 200 Institutes.

r) 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.

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

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.

A searchable internet website for searching the "Nature" magazine that contain science and technology papers and other related magazines.

w) 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.

x) 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).

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

z) 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.

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

ab) Wiley InterScience
A searchable internet website of approximately 1400 journal articles in the field of medicine, pharmacology and medical equipments.

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 (automatic preparation of the Gazette)
(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.

In 2008, the ratios of online electronic filing was 97% for patent and utility model, over 98% for appeal, over 99% for the national procedures of a PCT internal application, and 88% 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 management 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 super ordinate 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:

(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 the users themselves, and the edited contents can be commonly used by all users.

(Available functions)
1) 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 word, synonyms, subordinate and related words are displayed in a tree-form, and the randomly selected words from these can be searched simultaneously. Furthermore, a series of all of these procedures can be performed automatically. Moreover, when producing the search query, the 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 have obtained permission from the Director of the Patent Information Division (inclusive of public users).
- Personnel of the National Diet Library and personnel of the branch libraries of each 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 rights, related materials necessary for study of IP rights, and reference materials for general administration.

As of the end of 2007, the library contains 27,000 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 had been providing the Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) service since March 1999. This service is accessible through the Internet and covers 71 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 JPO 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 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 or by the document number.

(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 searches
Publications of unexamined patent and utility model applications published from January 1993 onwards as well as publications of examined patent and utility model applications and publications of registrations published from January 1994 onwards can be searched by keyword or document number searches. Download and printing of the Official Gazettes on a document-by-document basis has been made possible since March 2006. In March 2007, the 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 became possible to search the full texts of the publications available in the gazette text search service.

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

(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.

(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 searches. Also, since March 2000, the JPO has been providing the full texts (machine translation into English) of the publications of 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 progress information to external users by organizing and converting it in the standard format 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) Access Service of the Patent Gazettes
The INPIT has 101 access devices available in the Patent Gazette access room on the second floor of the JPO office building which allows free public access to the "IPDL Service," "CD-ROM /DVD-ROM Gazette", etc..

Concurrently, similar devices are available in eight places (Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Takamatsu, Fukuoka, and Naha), for such services. The number of users of the above services in 2008 was about 35,000.

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 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 licensable patents within the industrial sector and between local companies and to promote their commercialization, the INPIT has built a database of licensable patents owned by companies, universities and public research institutes, and has made them available to the public online as the Patent Licensing Database at

The number of licensable patents registered in the Patent Licensing Database is estimated to be approximately 46,000 patents as of the end of March 2009.

f) Intellectual Property Center
61 Intellectual Property Centers nationwide are widely implementing support operations for users including regional companies and applicants etc. They are giving advice to the users, providing them with guidance in regards to the retrieval methods of patent information, etc. in accordance to their purposes, regularly conducting workshops and preparing booklets relating to the 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 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
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, in March 2005 the JPO stored the image data and bibliographic data of the Patent Gazette and Utility Model Gazette, etc., that were published before the publication of the CD-ROM Official Gazette onto electronic media (such as CD-R) and sent them to the Republic of Korea.

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 has sent the DNA sequence data published in the publications of patent applications, etc. (about 10,000 data in 2008) 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. The translated data is 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 75 organizations (including international organizations) in 63 nations, out of which the JPO sends DVD-ROM "Patent and Registered Utility Model Specifications" to 32 organizations. The JPO also sends DVD-ROM "Published unexamined applications to 29 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 the USPTO and the WIPO Digital Access service for priority documents) CD-R and Paper document (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 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 through WIPO in respect to the cooperation on the WIPO State-of-the-Art Searches Program. In 2008, the JPO provided 115 search results.

b) Activities and assistance through WIPO Funds-in-Trust/Japan
(1) Holding of Workshops
- In October 2008, a workshop on the theme of "The effective usage of IP in Japan" was held in Japan, about 20 officials from 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region participated in the workshop.

- In February 2009, in Indonesia, a workshop on the theme "Sharing of best IT Practice between IPOs" "Exchange of information and debate regarding the use of IT among IPO of different scales" was held and about 100 officials from 17 countries in the Asia-Pacific region participated in the workshop

(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 as of December 2008.

(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)), 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 to offer and promote industrial property right information to the users until 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 dispatched experts thereto,too

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, and the development of human resources was performed through the automation of administrative work. From January 2005 to March 2009, "The Project for Utilization of Intellectual Property Information" was carried out, which aimed at the construction of a search system and an information system as well as the development of human resources by the use of these systems in order to realize the modernization of the industrial property operation.. In June 2008, with the aim to guide and to advise on the IP information system renewal plan, the JPO dispatched one official respectively. A seminar encouraging the adoption of these systems which were the end result of the project was held in the country in March 2009.

In Republic of Indonesia (the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (DGIPR)), the Phase II of the "the Project for the Improvement of the Indonesian Intellectual Property Rights" has been started since July 2007. In December, under the JICA management guidance and research scheme, 2 officials were dispatched, in order for them to exchange views with the IT staff of the DGIPR on the new project (online application, online viewing) and also for the JPO staff to investigate the automation status of the DGIPR.

(3) Training for government officials
The JPO invited eleven counterparts of the JICA experts who have been dispatched from the JPO to Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia on a long-term basis, to provide them with lectures/on-site training on the current experience issues and IT implementation status of the intellectual property field in Japan, and the training and implementation plan regarding the field of patents in Japan.

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 8 places in Japan). The IPDL has been provided at the INPIT since October 2004. ( The workshop program was started in 2006)

b) Patent Information Advisors
In order to realize the effective use of patent information amongst SMEs and universities/research institutions, the INPIT dispatches Patent Information Advisors to domestic local government units to provide instructions on how to search for patent information, and consultation services on how to utilize such information, as well as to hold workshops in response to the various requests regarding 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 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 2008, the JPO conducted surveys concerning 12 themes.

Assistance furnished by offices to facilitate the changing over of receiving offices to electronic data carriers for the exchange of patent documents (see also fourth sub-item of item VI, above)

Nothing in particular.

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

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.