Q&A: Does a Defective Address Affect Patent Rights?

Japanese paperwork is exacting and precise. What happens, then, if you are an applicant or patent owner and your address as registered by the JPO is incorrect or outdated? Do you lose patent rights in Japan if the address on the Certificate of Patent is wrong?

No, you will not directly lose your rights . . . but you could indirectly, yes, if the JPO does not have your actual address!

Patent rights themselves are safe once a patent is granted and issued. There might be an error in the applicant’s address, the patent rights remain the applicant’s under patent law.

A sticky issue can arise when an invalidation trial or opposition is filed against someone’s patent and the JPO issues a notice to the patent owner(s). It usually will send the notice to the representative counsel (i.e. designated patent agent). However, if the representative counsel cannot or will not handle the case, then the JPO would try to reach the patent owner by mailing the notice directly to the owner (applicant) address it has on file. Of course, if that address is not correct, the notice may never reach the patent owner, and the patent’s status could be jeopardized. So, indirectly there is a small possibility of indirectly losing rights because of an incorrect address.

If a patent owner is concerned the patent agent may not duly receive and handle opposition problems for it, and the owner’s address as registered with the JPO is not correct, it may be good to consider having a Request for Change of Address filed with the JPO.

Writer: Josiah Momose (content: Taro Yaguchi).
(The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions or inquiries, please contact us for more information.)

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