Most patent applications are initially rejected by the Japan Patent Office (JPO). Our work often starts from the point of rejection—we see it as merely a step towards registration. Kimura has the skill to research the IP landscape and to author your application in the most advantageous way possible. Our track record is unmatched, as is our dedication to clients.
We’ll ensure we have enough information to conduct a ‘prior art’ search and find other inventions that came before yours. We carefully compare the results of this research to your idea and advise you on the prospects of gaining patent protection and the ideal strategy to take.
Patents vs. Utility Models
Japan, Korea, China, and Germany each have a Utility Model option for the Patent. It is a potent option and sometimes actually preferable to a Patent in Japan. Understanding when and how to use the Utility Model option is a specialty at Kimura. It is a core part of what we call the “Kimura & Partners IP.”
Patents and Utility Models protect the technical function of your invention. The JPO evaluates your invention on two criteria: “Inventive Step” and “Novelty”. The JPO grants Patents only when both criteria are proven. A Patent is the most robust protection possible.
The Patent process is more costly and can take about two years for approval. The Utility Model typically takes approximately 1.5 months for approval and is significantly cheaper than a Patent.
With the Utility Model application, the JPO does not evaluate the application’s content in the ways it does for a Patent. It is referred to as a “non-examination system”. Proving sufficient “Novelty” necessary for a Patent is relatively simple. However, proving there is enough of an “Inventive Step” is a higher and more sensitive hurdle to overcome. In such cases, we typically recommend applying for the Utility Model.
The Utility Model can be converted to a Patent within three years from the filing date. Depending on your business, market and competitive situation and resources, Kimura can proceed on a “double-track”, applying for both the Utility Model and a Patent at the same time. In this way, the invention quickly gains the Utility Model’s protection while losing no time proceeding towards a potential patent.
Patent Process, Steps, Procedures
Obtaining Utility Model Rights
Carried out on an as-needed basis
Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Copyrights
Registration and defense of these elements of your IP can be as or more essential than patents to competitive success and profits.
IP Infringement Defense, Dispute Resolution and Licensing
Quickly eliminating competitive copying or infringement, if it happens, is vital. Kimura has deep experience and success in fighting and winning IP dispute matters on behalf of its clients.
IP Rights Management and Maintenance
Your IP is a vital part of your business position and strength. Beyond registration, there are other important considerations regarding your IP.