2. PATENTS | Minato Mirai Patent Firm

    About the Japanese Patent System

    Period of protection

    Patents are valid for 20 years from the filing date.
    In the fields of medicine and agrochemicals, there is a term extension system for extending the patent term by a maximum of five years if the protection for patent rights was virtually lost while waiting for approval under Japanese law.

    Scope of protection

    In Japan, inventions are subject to protection if they are potentially useful in industry. Chemical compounds, their uses (medical uses), and computer software are also subject to protection.
    Conversely, methods for medically treating people, pure business models (artificial rules), and natural laws are not covered.


    Patents are examined for novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability, along with formal requirements for the written specification. If the examiner issues reasons for refusal, you can submit a written opinion in response.
    The time limit to request for an examination is three years after the date of application (or the date of a later application if the application is filed with priority under the Paris Convention).

    Period of examination

    It takes 10 months on average between filing the application and receiving the first examination result.
    However, you can opt for the accelerated examination system if you have filed another application for the same invention outside Japan.
    In this case, you will be notified of the first examination result within three months after submitting your application.

    Patent Application Services from Minato Mirai Patent Firm


    Patent grant rate of over 90%

    Minato Mirai Patent Firm pursues a high standard of service as well as affordable prices in order to meet the needs of small- and medium-sized enterprise clients.

    Between 2016-2019, we achieved a patent grant rate of over 90% for applications involving a prosecution process.*
    Even if we count patent applications that were abandoned before prosecution into the total number of refusals, we still boast a grant rate of 88%, far exceeding the average publicized by the Japan Patent Office (approximately 75%).

    Our high patent grant rate is a result of efforts in two main areas:
    Our patent attorneys and engineers work together as a team, and they make full use of interviews with examiners.
    To avoid any unwanted notices of grounds for rejection and to ensure the patent is granted with as few Office Action responses as possible, we utilize the opportunities that we have in examiner interviews.
    In every examiner interview, we focus on understanding the examiner’s view and ensuring that they grasp the key points of the invention.
    Based on the result of the examiner interview, we propose necessary arguments and supporting evidence to be prepared.

    Our Patent Attorneys and Engineers Work as a Team

    Minato Mirai Patent Firm retains experts from various technical fields.
    Our team of patent attorneys and engineers collaborate in both legal and technical aspects, considering strategies to overcome reasons for refusal and making concrete proposals. In this way, the team supports clients in acquiring strong rights in Japan.

    Supported Technical Areas

    Reagents for chemical experimentation, cosmetics, genetics-related technologies, PCR-related technologies, immunoassay technologies, cell culture technologies, screening methods, mass spectrometry, organic synthesis, measurement and quantification methods, etc.
    Medical Care Medicine, medical equipment, medical diagnostic imaging units, medical apparatus, drug delivery systems (DDSs), etc.
    Food Food production technologies, food compositions, functional foods (supplements), etc.
    Materials Functional materials, mechanical materials, electronic materials, resin materials, coating materials, catalysts, high-polymer materials, nanomaterials, soft materials, metamaterials, etc.
    Machinery General machinery: construction machines, agricultural machines, boilers/engines, inspection machines, injection molding machines, machine tools, various industrial machines, business machines, etc.
    Electric machinery: generators, consumer electrical equipment, communications equipment, electronic application devices, electric measuring instruments, medical equipment, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, etc.
    Transportation machinery: automobiles, motorcycles, railroad cars, ships, aircrafts, etc.
    Precision instruments: optical instruments, clocks and watches, precision measuring instruments, etc.
    Construction and Civil Engineering Plants, buildings, housing, architectural buildings in general, bridges, tunnels, roads, railroads, breakwaters, infrastructure constructions, maintenance, etc.
    Daily Necessities Household goods, umbrellas, bags, packaging containers, useful goods, lighting, bicycles, toiletries, oral health products, etc.
    Software Database designs, AI technologies (including machine learning), UI/UX designs, virtual environments (including the cloud), cryptographic technologies, data preprocessing, algorithms in general, security, data mining, blockchain, etc.
    Applications Data analytics, RPA tools, biometric authentication, natural language processing, image processing, computational simulations, computer graphics, interactive media (including video games), software wallets, etc.
    Business Models EC platforms, operations management (such as work style reform), ecosystems, sharing, matching, finance, healthcare, content distribution, marketing (such as advertising models), logistics, etc.
    Hardware Computer equipment, sensing devices, IoT/M2M endpoints, wearable devices, AR/MR platforms, etc.
    Electronics Semiconductor devices, semiconductor processes, MEMS, circuit designs, secondary cells (batteries), environmental power generation technologies (including solar power), robots (including drones), etc.



    PATENT in Japan Official fee
    Attorney’s fee
    FILING (PCT National Phase)
    Filing an application 108.00 1,154.00
    National phase application (PCT National Phase) 954.00 + (NC x 28.00) 93.00
    Convention application (Paris route) 1,062.00 + (NC x 31.00) 93.00
    Filing an Argument   616.00 ~ 693.00
    Filing an Amendment   231.00 ~ 770.00
      100.00 + (NC x 7.00) 93.00
    Paying the annuity for the 4th to 6th year (each year) 80.00 + (NC x 7.00) 93.00
    Paying the annuity for the 7th to 9th year (each year) 191.00 + (NC x 15.00) 93.00
    Paying the annuity for the 10th year and thereafter (each year) 457.00 + (NC x 36.00) 93.00

    *NC = Number of Claims

    Calculating rate: 1 USD = 130 JPY