Amendment

Samples

The following is a list of some examples of US patents obtained through our firm.

We suppose that it might be rather difficult for most of the non-Japanese clients to evaluate the quality of our works done for Japanese IP rights.

For such non-Japanese clients, the US patents listed may be useful for evaluating our abilities. We always dedicate tremendous efforts to draft English claims and specifications properly. For example, in the case of PCT applications, we draft Japanese specifications for PCT based on Japanese patent applications which had often been prepared and filed through other Japanese IP firms or by Japanese applicants themselves.

We usually make considerable modifications to the original Japanese specifications and claims for filing PCT applications. Especially in the case where the basic Japanese application has not been filed through our firm, we thoroughly check the application and usually redraft the claims into a form which has more clear and logical construction and can cover a desired protective scope, and also redraft the specification by supplementing information necessary to enable the invention or information which might be useful in the later prosecution stage for overcoming possible rejections.

Therefore, it can be said that, in many cases, the US patents are our translations of the Japanese language PCT specifications drafted by our firm.

We sometimes ask US patent attorneys to check our drafts of English specifications, but they usually find that no substantial change is necessary.

In addition, during the prosecutions of the foreign patent applications, our draft responses (amendments and arguments) are usually submitted to the patent offices without any substantial changes or with only minor changes.

Consequently, we believe that the US patents listed here would be of great help for you to evaluate our skills in IP business.

The documents which we prepare have been highly esteemed by the foreign patent attorneys.

タグ:

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米国:AFCP試行プログラム実施期間延長

米国特許商標庁(USPTO)は、特許(Utility Patent)・意匠(Design Patent)出願に対する最後の拒絶理由通知(Final Office Action)後に、審査の再考を促す機会を与えるAfter Final Consideration Pilot(AFCP)プログラムを、2012年3月25日から6月16日までに提出された応答を対象として実施しておりましたが、この試行期間が2012年9月30日まで延長されることとなりました。

現行の規則では最後の拒絶理由通知(Final Office Action)後に提出された補正や証拠を審査官に考慮させるためには、RCE等の手続きが必要になることが多いのですが、AFCP によって、Final後に提出された補正や証拠について、限定的な(特許で約3時間、意匠で約1時間以内で済むような)検討や調査によって、該補正や証拠により特許査定できるとの判断が可能な場合、RCE等を行わずに補正や証拠を審査官に考慮させることが可能になります。

AFCPにより、Final後に可能になる補正や応答は以下のようなものです:

1.  The amendment places the application in condition for allowance by canceling claims or complying with formal requirement(s) in response to objection(s) made in the final office action. (クレームを削除する補正若しくは方式上の拒絶(objection)理由を取り除く補正であって、それにより出願を特許許可できる状態とするもの)

2.  The amendment places the application in condition for allowance by rewriting objected-to claims in independent form. (方式上の拒絶を受けたクレームを独立形式とする補正であって、それにより出願を特許許可できる状態とするもの)

3.  The amendment places the application in condition for allowance by incorporating limitations from objected-to claims into independent claims, if the new claim can be determined to be allowable with only a limited amount of further consideration or search. (方式上の拒絶を受けたクレームの限定を独立クレームに組み込む補正であって、それにより出願を特許許可できる状態とするものであり、且つ限定的な更なる検討または調査によって、その新たなクレームが特許許可できると判断できる場合)

4.  The amendment can be determined to place the application in condition for allowance with only a limited amount of further search or consideration, even if new claims are added without cancelling a corresponding number of finally rejected claims. (新たなクレームを追加し、それに相当する数の最終的に拒絶(reject)されたクレームを削除しないような場合であっても、その補正によって、限定的な更なる検討または調査で出願が特許許可できる状態となると判断できるもの )

(*注: 本来は、MPEP714.13において、Final後は、新たなクレームを追加することはできないと規定されている)

5.  The amendment can be determined to place the application in condition for allowance by adding new limitation(s) which require only a limited amount of further consideration or search. (限定的な更なる検討または調査のみしか必要としない新たな限定を加える補正であって、その補正により出願が特許許可できる状態となると判断できるもの)

6.  The response comprises a perfected 37 CFR 1.131 or 37 CFR 1.132 affidavit or declaration (i.e. a new declaration which corrects formal defects noted in a prior affidavit or declaration) which can be determined to place the application in condition for allowance with only a limited amount of further search or consideration (37 CFR 1.131 又は 37 CFR 1.132の宣誓供述書(Affidavit)又は宣言書(Declaration)の完全版(即ち、以前に提出されたAffidavit又はDeclarationの形式的な欠陥を訂正したもの)を含む応答であって、その応答により出願が特許許可できる状態となると判断できるもの)

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PCT National Phase in Japan

Q1. What are the time limits for entering Japanese national phase under PCT Chapters I and II?

A1.  The time limit is 30 months from the earliest priority date (if any) or the international filing date of the PCT application for both Chapters I and II.

Q2. Are Japanese translations of the PCT specification, abstract and drawings necessary for entering the Japanese national phase?

A2.  Yes.  Japanese translations of the PCT specification, abstract and drawings must be filed with the Japan Patent Office.  Further, Japanese translations of amendments under PCT Article 19 and 34 (if any) should be filed with the Japanese translations of the specification, abstract and drawings.

Q3. The time limit for entering Japanese national phase is drawing near but it seems unlikely that a Japanese translation of the PCT specification can be timely prepared.  Does the JPO allow postponement of the filing of the Japanese translation? 

A3.  We can first file a “formal notice of entry into Japanese national phase” by the 30-month deadline for entry into Japanese national phase and, then, file Japanese translations of the PCT specification, abstract and drawings.  The formal notice can be prepared at our end based on the information shown in the cover page of the international publication.  The Japanese translations may be validly filed within 2 months from the date of the filing of the above-mentioned formal notice of entry.  No extra charge is necessary for such delayed filing of the Japanese translations.

Notice of Rejection

Q1. How long is the response period for Notice of Rejection?  Is any extension available?

A1.  The response period for the Notice of Rejection is 60 days (for Applicants residing in Japan) or 3 months (for Applicants residing outside Japan).  Applicants residing in Japan can obtain 1-month extension, and Applicant residing outside Japan can obtain extension of up to 3 months upon filing of a Request for Extension and payment of official fee (which is 2,100 yen per month).

Q2. We received a final Notice of Rejection from the Japan Patent Office.  What are the differences between the Notice of Rejection and the Final Notice of Rejection?

A2.  In principle, Final Notice of Rejection is issued when a new ground of rejection is necessitated by the Applicant’s amendment of the claims filed in response to the previous Notice of Rejection.  When the Applicant fails to overcome the reason for rejection of the Final Notice of Rejection, next Office Action will be Decision for Rejection.

In addition, after the issuance of the Final Notice of Rejection, there is a restriction to the scope of permissible claim amendments.  Please see section “Restriction to Permissible Claim Amendments after Final Rejection” for more details.

Appeal against the Decision for Rejection

Q1. We understand that an Appeal can be filed against the Decision for Rejection.  What are the steps necessary for filing an Appeal?

A1.  Firstly, a Notice of Appeal, which is a formal document requesting the initiation of Appeal Proceedings, is filed by the deadline which is three months (for Applicants residing in Japan) or four months (for foreign Applicants) from the dispatch date of the Decision for Rejection. 

Further, any amendment  (if any) must be filed simultaneously with the filing of the Notice of Appeal.  (In the case of patent applications filed on or before March 31, 2007, divisional applications can be filed only simultaneously with the filing of the Notice of Appeal.  In the case of parent patent applications filed on or after April 1, 2007, divisional applications can be filed either before, simultaneously with or after the filing of the Notice of Appeal as long as it is before the expiration of the above-mentioned deadline for filing the Notice of Appeal.)  With respect to the amendment, please note that there is a restriction to the permissible claim amendments.  Please see section “Restriction to Permissible Claim Amendments after Final Rejection” for more details.

Next, any arguments, reference materials and/or experimental reports are filed as an Appeal Brief (i.e., Reasons for Appeal).  The Appeal Brief can be filed either simultaneously with the Notice of Appeal or after the filing of the Notice of Appeal.  When the Appeal Brief is not filed with the Notice of Appeal, the due date for filing the Appeal Brief will be set by the Japan Patent Office, and it is usually about 2 months from the filing date of the Notice of Appeal.

Q2. Is it possible to obtain any extension of deadline for filing the Notice of Appeal or the Appeal Brief?

A2.  No.  The deadlines for filing a Notice of Appeal and an Appeal Brief are non-extensible

Q3. Is it possible to submit new experimental data in the appeal stage?

A3.  Yes.  Any experimental data can be filed together with the Appeal Brief except that effectiveness of data may vary depending on the purpose of the data.

Submission of data for demonstrating novelty and/or inventive step of an invention over prior art is effective if the data itself is appropriate for this purpose; whereas data submitted at the appeal stage cannot compensate for the lack of enabling disclosure or lack of support in the specification, and such data are usually dismissed as late filed.

The Japanese patent system does not allow for applicants to establish the enabling disclosure requirement and/or supporting disclosure requirement through later-filed evidence. That is, these requirements must be satisfied by the patent application as filed, and later-filed data for making up the deficiency in this respect will not be admitted by the JPO.

Q4. Is there an opportunity to file additional amendments and/or divisional applications after the filing of the Notice of Appeal?

A4.  Concerning additional amendments after the filing of the Notice of Appeal, such additional amendments are admissible only when the applicant responds to a Notice of Rejection which may or may not be issued in the appeal stage.   That is, the applicant may not be given any opportunity to file an amendment after the filing of the Notice of Appeal.  Therefore, it is safer to consider that the time of filing of the Notice of Appeal is substantially the last chance to file amendments.

On the other hand, as mentioned in A1 above, in the case of patent applications filed on or after April 1, 2007, divisional applications may be filed even after the filing of the Notice of Appeal as long as it is before the expiration of the deadline for filing the Notice, i.e., three months (for Applicants residing in Japan) or four months (for foreign Applicants) from the dispatch date of the Decision for Rejection.

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Restriction to Permissible Claim Amendments after Final Rejection

Q. We understand that permissible claim amendments are restricted after the issuance of a final rejection.  Please explain about the restriction.

A.  Permissible claim amendments are restricted after the issuance of not only the Final Notice of Rejection, but also after the Decision for Rejection.  Further, this restriction applies to a divisional application filed from a parent application filed on or after April 1, 2007 and containing claims which can be rejected on the same ground as the parent application. 

The permissible amendments are (i) deletion of a claim(s), (ii) amendment for limiting the scope of the invention without increasing the number of claims, (iii) amendments for removing clerical errors, and (iv) amendments for clarifying an unclear expression.  Other claim amendments are not permissible at this stage.  For example, the following amendments are not permissible even when the claims are fully supported by the specification as filed:

   (a) Addition of a new claim directed to a subject matter not described in the claims;

   (b)  Addition of a new subclaim for limiting the scope of an independent claim; and

   (c)  Amendment for changing the category of a claim (such as, changing a product-by-process claim into a process claim).

Addition of a new subclaim is permissible when the amendment is made for clarifying an unclear expression.  For example, when there is a claim reading “A composition containing X, preferably Y”, amending this claim to “A composition containing X” and adding a subclaim reading “Composition according to claim N, wherein said X is Y” will be permissible.


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