Chapter 1 of the 2017 Annual Report by the JPO does not surprise in too many ways. Quantity tends to be stable or declining, but the speed is up.
The patent filings to the JPO have continued to decline over the past ten years and is now at 318,721 filed in 2016 (Fig. 1-1-1), although in 2016 it received an all-time high number of PCT applications in 2016 (44,495; Fig. 1-1-2).
With the decline in quantity of applications to the JPO, it is gratifying when quality of examination is high. The JPO has succeeded in making its examination process a relatively fast one. Among these five major patent offices, the JPO has had the best record for moving applications through examination quickly to final resolution, in an average of 15.0 months (the Korean IPO is second fastest at 16.0 months, the EPO slowest at 26.9; Fig. 1-1-25).
The JPO has been aiming to provide top-quality IP prosecution service, and in this area it seems to be doing that. Using PPH and other accelerated examination systems based on JPO examination results may serve applicants well if examinations elsewhere is slower than expected.
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Chapter 1 of the JPO Annual Report for 2017, http://www.jpo.go.jp/shiryou/toushin/nenji/nenpou2017/honpen/0101.pdf