Power of Attorney Submission in Japan

Why does Keisen recommend foreign applicants to file their PoA to the Japan Patent Office (JPO)?

As part of the their “Applicant-Friendly Procedure Strategy,” the JPO has announced the following in response to the question: “Should I submit a power of attorney?”

When the information concerning your representative is included in the application form, you do not have to submit a power of attorney. This is also applicable to a Patent Administrator. However, if you appoint a representative acting on behalf of you to proceed with our Office afterwards, you need to submit a power of attorney. (source: the FAQs section on the JPO website)

This may seem somewhat confusing to some, and it implies that the submission of a Power of Attorney to the JPO may not be necessary in an early stage of application process. However, we, Keisen Associates, do recommend foreign applicants to submit their executed Power of Attorney as soon as possible for the reason stated below.

The Article 8 of the Japanese Patent Act, which is applicable only to non Japan-resident applicants, stipulates the requirement of appointing a “patent administrator” before the JPO. Indicated below is a copy of the Article 8 of the Japanese Patent Act:

Article 8 (1) Unless otherwise provided for by Cabinet Order, no person domiciled or resident (or, in the case of a juridical person, with a business office) outside Japan (hereinafter referred to as an “overseas resident”) may undertake procedures or institute action against measures taken by a relevant administrative agency in accordance with the provisions of this Act or an order issued under this Act, except through a representative domiciled or resident in Japan, who is acting for such person in handling matters related to the person’s patent (hereinafter referred to as a “patent administrator”).

As indicated above, the appointment of a patent administrator is mandatory for applicants residing outside Japan (overseas residents), whereas for applicants residing within Japan they are not required to appoint their agents. They may file and pursue their applications on their own if they so wish.

Without a patent administrator in Japan, applications filed by overseas residents become invalid. It is for the protection of those applications that we recommend our clients to file a Power of Attorney, indicating us as a duly appointed patent administrator before the Japan Patent Office in accordance with the Article 8 of the Japanese Patent Act.

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