Japan to Extend Novelty Grace Period

Japan is expecting to extend the grace period (the exception period of novelty loss) for patents from 6 months to 12 months.

The grace period is the period in which the invention can be filed after making public the content of the invention in papers, conference presentations, exhibition etc. Under the principles of Japanese patent law, an invention which has been made public cannot be permitted patent registration because the invention would lose its novelty. The grace period system is the system that permits an exception to the loss of novelty by providing a 6 month period in which the invention may be patented and not lose its novelty regardless of whether or not the content of the application has been published.

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) believes that if the grace period is extended, this extension will provide relief to individual inventors and researchers who are not familiar with patent laws.

The JPO is expected to submit patent law amendments to extend the grace period at the next ordinary Diet session.