- Regarding the Grace Period (as of April 17, 2020)
For the application of the exception to loss of novelty of invention, according to Article 30, Paragraph 2 (Grace Period) of the Patent Act, submission of a certificate which is an original document with a signature or a stamp by the applicant is necessary.
However, if such a submission is not possible within 30 days from the filing of the patent application due to the spread of COVID-19, the following measures are possible:
(1) Submit the certificate without the signature or the stamp by the applicant within 30 days from the filing of the patent application;
(2) Describe in the certificate, instead of using the signature or the stamp, that the signature or the stamp was not possible due to COVID-19 and that a certificate with the signature or the stamp will be submitted later; and
(3) Submit immediately to the JPO the original certificate with the signature or the stamp as soon as it is ready for submission.
In case submission of a certificate per se is not possible within the prescribed period due to COVID-19, it may be submitted within 14 days after it has become possible to do so. For applicants residing abroad, this time period is within 2 months. Please note that this procedure needs to be taken within 6 months after the prescribed period has elapsed.
- Regarding extension of designated periods in trial procedures (as of April 21, 2020)
When the necessary procedures for trials cannot be taken within the designated periods due to COVID-19, including appeals against the decision of refusal, invalidation trials and oppositions, an application for extension of the designated period may be filed.
(1) How to apply for extension of the designated period
A written statement describing:
(i) Requested time period for extension; and
(ii) Concrete reasons for extension.
Extension of the designated period will be treated case-by-case, and payment of fee is not needed.
(2) Examples of reasons presented by the JPO
- Company / office closure
Example language of reason for extension:
Due to the effect of the new coronavirus infection, the applicant (company) X / the agent (firm) Y is closed and will not be able to complete the procedure until the reopening on dd/mm/yy.
Therefore, please extend the time period for xx days with respect to the time period designated in the office action.
- Closure of the library holding materials necessary for the procedure
- Closure of the laboratory for collecting experimental data
- Preparation of telework environments
(3) Judgment of extension
In principle, a one-month extension at the maximum will be granted as long as the reason for the extension is concretely specified. Cases where it is difficult to determine that COVID-19 has impacted a deadline will be excluded from these exceptional measures.
(4) Possibility for re-extension
If further extension of the designated period is needed after the grant of an extension in the same procedure due to the continuation of the COVID-19 situation, another request may be made.