Extending The Period for Non-Japanese Applicants for Filing an Appeal Against An Examiner’s Final Decision of Rejection From Three Months to Four (effective April 1, 2009)

The Japan Patent Office’s (JPO) new guidelines for filing an appeal against an examiner’s “Notice of Final Refusal” will go into effect April 1, 2009. The JPO is responding to a long-standing complaint among Japanese applicants who’ve been frustrated by the disparity between the time allotted by other international patent offices and the JPO; on average, the other offices allows 1 or 2 months longer to file a demand compared to the JPO’s 30 days.

Therefore, beginning April 1st, the JPO will extend the filing period from its current 30 days to 3 months for Japanese applicants, and from the current 3 months to 4 months for the overseas counterparts. The details are as follows:

A. Japanese Applicants

The period for filing an appeal against an examiner’s final decision of rejection for patents, designs and trademark applications, as well as the period for filing an appeal against an examiner’s final decision of rejection for a dismissal of an amendment for Japanese design and trademark applications, will be extended from 30 days to 3 months.

B. Overseas Applicants
(1) Patents:

(Existing Rule) The current period for filing an appeal against an examiner’s final decision of rejection is a maximum of 90 days (a basic 30-day period with an option for a 60-day extension,) plus another 30 days to file an amendment after the request for an appeal is made. Therefore, the total timeframe to file an amendment from the time the examiner’s final decision of rejection is sent is 120days (90 days + 30 days.)

(New Rule) The new rule extends the period to file an appeal from 90 days to four months (the basic three months with an option for a one month extension.) However, unlike the existing rule in which the applicant submits an amendment 30 days after the appeal is made, the new rule requires that the amendment is submitted concurrently with the request for an appeal within the four month period. Note also that the unit for calculation has been changed from days to months.

(2) Designs and Trademarks :

(Existing Rule) The current period for filing a request for an appeal against an examiner’s final decision of rejection is 90 days (basic 30-days plus a 60-day option for an extension.)

(New Rule) The new rule is 3 months with no option for an extension.

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