The Japan Patent Office (JPO) will implement the "super accelerated examination" system, in which the JPO examines patent applications earlier than in the current system, on a trial basis Oct 1, 2008.
The JPO is aiming at reducing the time from application to the notification of the results of the primary (formality) examination, which was 2.2 months on average in 2007 under the current accelerated examination system, to less than one month.
The primary examination becomes a decision to grant or not grant a patent in some cases. But in cases where the examination continues after the formality examination, the JPO will also shorten the time required for each of the the following procedures to less than one month.
(1) The period from the notification of the results of the formality examination till the response from the applicant.
(2) The period from the applicant's response till the notification of the results of a secondary (substantive) examination.
(3) The period from the notification of the results of the substantive examination till the applicant's response to the results.
The super accelerated examination system is applicable to internationally-filed applications with concrete plans for commercial application. Like the current accelerated examination system, the new system does not limit applications to specific technology areas.
The JPO will respond to applicant needs by quickly providing examination results about inventions aimed at early commercialization and those with a short lifecycle, it said.
Applications eligible for the super accelerated examination system are likely to account for about 15% of annual 8,500 applications (or 100 applications per month) for the current accelerated examination system, according to the JPO.
The JPO is planning to continue the test for at least six months and lead to the revision and official operation of the system after considering the opinions of the applicants who used the test system.