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The "Endless Loop" of Japanese Patent Prosecution

Published in the World Intellectual Property Report
Article | May 2006

Patent prosecution in any patent system has its normal course of delays. In significant cases, especially when broad claims are being prosecuted, even more time may be required until a resolution of the patent issues is reached. However, within the Japanese Patent System peculiarities within the law make such delays indefinite, resulting in an “endless loop” of prosecution without any resolution. Furthermore, such unreasonable delays may be perpetuated by the subjective evaluations of perhaps a single examiner.

This article provides an overview of the “endless loop” of prosecution in the Japanese Patent System and proposes two changes that would be required to prevent this “endless loop” from persisting within the System.

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