Change in Japan Patent Office’s Examination Fee Payment Schedule Effective April 1, 2009

Severe economic downturn in Japan has recently spurred the Government to set up an emergency examination fee postponement plan. Effective April 1, 2009, applicants filing a request for an examination will receive a one-year extension for payments of the official fee which is normally due at the time the request is filed.

It is important to note that the three-year time limit to make a request for an examination from the international filing date remains the same. What is different, however, is that, if the applicant decides to abandon the application in one year, he will not be required to pay the examination fee. Therefore, this new measure not only serves as a payment deferment plan, it also provides the applicant am extra year to decide whether to pursue their application without the risk of penalty; on average, the minimum cost for an examination is about $1700.

With companies scaling down on patent applications, the cash crunch has even hit the JPO. By adapting this new plan, the Office hopes to lighten the financial load of companies while encouraging them to continue filing new patent applications in the face of the current recession.

The plan will be in force for two years, or, until the economic situation improves, whichever comes first. All applicants, including foreigners, can apply with the exception of those in the accelerated examination program who do not qualify.

For more information on the examination fee deferred payment plan, please give us a call.

(Posted April 2, 2009)

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