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Welcome to the website of Inoue & Associates

Introductory Statement

Inoue & Associates (located within 1 minute walk from the Japan Patent Office) is an intellectual property (IP) firm having more than 35 years of experience in international IP business.

We are a modest-sized IP firm composed of members each having profound knowledge about the legal aspect of IP and the technologies involved therein as well as excellent skill in actual IP practice, such that high quality services can be offered constantly at a reasonable price.  Each one of our staff members is so trained as to be able to always provide high quality IP-related services including production of documents having a clear and logical construction whether they are in English or Japanese and irrespective of urgency or technical difficulties involved in particular cases.

Over the years, we have built up a solid reputation for our ability to efficiently acquire and protect IP rights in Japan.

We are confident that we can provide higher quality IP services than any other IP firms in Japan.


Features of Inoue & Associates

For acquiring and protecting patent rights, everything starts from the claims and specification of a patent application or a granted patent.  Whether a patent application can be granted with a desired protective scope or a granted patent can survive the challenge from a third party depends utterly on how good the claims and specification have been drafted in the first place.

Invalidation of patents, unexpectedly narrow scope of protection, defeat in infringement suit … all such undesired outcome could have been avoided only if the patent application had been better drafted. 

In the case of Japanese patent applications filed by non-Japanese entities, the claims and specification are usually translations from the non-Japanese texts of the first filed foreign applications or PCT applications. 

From this perspective, the translation of the patent claims and specification is actually more than just a translation and is practically tantamount to the preparation of a legal document which serves as a basis for seeking patent protection.  For this reason, the translation should be done with utmost care by IP professionals such as experienced patent attorneys or paralegals

And that is what we do and is not done by most of the IP firms in Japan

 

Problems related to traditional way of handling patent applications from outside Japan

In typical Japanese IP firms, applications from foreign clients are handled by a team of an IP professional (a patent attorney or a paralegal) and a translator. For example, the translation of a PCT specification for the Japan national phase entry is often carried out by one who is the least experienced in the IP firm or even by an outside translator.

The IP professions work on legal matters based on the translations prepared by translators which are not always so good or of a rather poor quality in many cases. This manner of handling patents is disadvantageous not only from the aspect of efficiency but also from the aspect of cost because poor translations of course make the entire procedure unnecessarily complicated and high translation fees are required even if the translations are not so good. Such inefficient and problematic practice as mentioned above has become customary because many Japanese IP professionals are not good at writing in English or even reading English documents, and the English-to-Japanese translations are generally assigned to beginners.

Consequently, many Japanese IP professionals have to rely on poor translations in their works, thus falling into a vicious cycle. It is not surprising even if patent applications from foreign clients are handled by those who do not fully understand what is disclosed in the original specification nor the clients’ instructions given in English during the prosecution of the application. For years, this has been a serious problem as far as the patent applications from outside Japan are concerned.

Our Solution

Such problems as mentioned above will never happen in the case of Inoue & Associates. Every one of our staff members has gone through very hard training and long actual experience to acquire ability to handle the IP cases alone from drafting patent specifications whether they are in Japanese or English to dealing with various procedures relating to patent applications or registered patents. We do not need and actually do not use any translator. Even in the case of foreign patent applications (in US, EP etc.) filed by Japanese applicants through our firm, the US or European patent attorneys often use our draft documents without any substantial change. That is, the documents drafted by Inoue & Associates as such are often submitted to the USPTO or the EPO.

There is no magic formula for acquiring good IP rights. This can be achieved only by hard work and skill obtainable through long and rich experience as always required in any fields for realizing high quality services.

Inoue & Associates is one of the very limited number of Japanese IP firms capable of constantly offering high quality IP services at a reasonable price. There has been and will be no compromise in the quality of services we provide to our clients and, for this very reason, we have been trusted by many foreign clients as well as domestic clients.

Our skill in IP business is highly esteemed by our clients including two famous Japanese professors emeriti, Dr. Nobuatsu Watanabe and Dr. Hidefumi Hirai, whose recommendations are shown in this web site. Further, if requested, we will be able to show you copies of some letters from various US and EP attorneys praising our abilities.

Our highly-skilled staff members will surely be of great help to your establishment of strong and valuable intellectual property portfolio while reducing cost.

If you are not sure, try us and we promise that we will never fall short of your expectations. You will immediately realize that we are dedicated to efficient acquisition and protection of your valuable intellectual properties and have skills to achieve this goal.

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《判決文》

(和英)

原文:

そして前記アで説示したとおり、相互に非相溶の樹脂同士を溶融混練すれば、体積割合の多い 方の樹脂が構成する海(連続相)の中で、少ない方の樹脂相が島構造となる可能性が高いこと は、当業者であれば容易に予想することができること、もともと海相中に含まれる導電性物質 等の第3成分が島相に移行するためには、海相中を移動する島相が当該第3成分と接して、なお かつ海相-島相間の海面を拡散して島相中へ入り込む必要があり、拡散が通常は正逆方向に移 行可能な反応であること(移行の程度は異なっても、一旦島相に入り込んだ第3成分が再び海相 へ戻る可能性もある。)をも考え合わせると、当初は海相中にのみ含まれていた導電性物質等の 第3成分が、押出機等による比較的短い時間での溶融混練中に海相から島相へ一方的に大量に移 行し、過半を超えるような事態は当業者においておよそ想定しがたいものと認められるから、 「導電性物質の局在化が保たれる」との本件審決の認定に誤りはない。

 英訳文:

Further, as explained in item A above, those skilled in the art can readily anticipate that, when two types of resins which are incompatible with each other are melt-kneaded, a resin having a smaller volume ratio is very likely to form an island structure in the sea portion (continuous phase) formed by another resin having a larger volume ratio.   In addition, the migration of a third component (such as an electroconductive substance) which has originally been contained in a resin forming a sea phase into an island phase requires not only the contact between the island phase (moving through the sea phase) with the third component but also the diffusion of the third component at the sea phase-island phase interface into the island phase (further, it is possible that the third component which has once migrated into the island phase returns to the sea phase although the extent of the migration may vary).  In view of the above, it is recognized that those skilled in the art would hardly expect a migration of a large amount of a third component (such as an electroconductive substance) which has originally been contained only in a resin forming a sea phase into an island phase during the melt-kneading performed by an extruder or the like only for a relatively short time, which results in the presence of more than half amount of the third component in the island phase. Therefore, the Board of Appeal has not erred in recognizing that “localized dispersion of the electroconductive substance is maintained”.

Privacy Policy

We recognize and respect the importance of maintaining your privacy and as a result have established this Privacy Policy in accordance to which your privacy is protected.

In services such as query in which you may choose to voluntarily participate, we may request your personal information.

Your personal information will not be disclosed to any third party without your consent or knowledge unless we are obliged to do so (for instance where we are so required by the Official Authorities or Regulations or where we provide your name and address to a transportation company for sending you documents etc.).

Your personal information collected will be kept strictly confidential and handled with utmost care by our staff member appointed to supervise the management of such information. Please rest assured that your personal information is safely stored in a manner that makes it inaccessible to general users.

Grant Procedure

Q1. Decision to Grant has been issued.  When will the granted patent become public? 

A1.  The granted patent will become public in about 3 to 4 months after the payment of the issue fee.  The issue fee must be paid within 30 days from the issuance of the Decision to Grant.

Q2. Could a third party file an opposition against a granted patent?

A2.  There is no Opposition procedure in Japan.  However, any third party can file a Trial for Patent Invalidation against a granted patent at the Japan Patent Office.  This Trial can be filed any time, and there is substantially no time limit for filing the Trial.  (Under certain circumstances, the Trial for Patent Invalidation can be even filed after the expiration of the patent term.)

Third Party’s Statement

Q1. We would like to submit prior art information which may be used for rejecting a pending patent application.  What type of prior art materials is accepted at the Japan Patent Office? 

A1.  Only printed materials are to be accepted. 

Q2. After the filing of the Third Party’s Statement, do we get any feedback from the Patent Office or the Applicant of the contested patent application?

A2.  Upon request from the Party filing the Statement, the Japan Patent Office will inform the Party about the use or non-use of submitted materials in the Office Action issued against the contested patent application. 

However, the Party will not be informed about filing of any comments or arguments by the applicant of the contested patent application.  We can perform periodic file inspection of the contested patent application to watch for the filing of any comments or arguments against the Third Party’s Statement.

Q3. Is it possible to file a Third Party’s Statement anonymously?

A3.  Yes, but in this case, we cannot obtain any feedback from the Patent Office.  However, we can perform periodic file inspection of the contested patent application to watch for the issuance of the Office Action.

Q4. A Third Party’s Statement has been filed against our pending Japanese patent application.  Is it possible for an Applicant of the contested patent application to file an argument against the Third Party’s Statement?

A4.  Yes.  Any arguments and/or comments on a Third Party’s Statement can be filed in the form of a Written Statement at any time before the issuance of a final Decision (i.e., Decision to Grant or Decision for Rejection) by the Japan Patent Office.

 

 

 

米国:USPTOが、最終的なAIA施行規則の一部を公表(1)

において、2012年9月16日から施行される予定となっている第三者による発行前情報提供制度、及び包袋書類に含まれる特許権者の意見の引用に関して最終的な施行規則を公表しました。

第三者による情報提供

2012年7月17日、USPTOは、第三者による発行前情報提供制度(Preissuance Submissions by Third Parties)に関する最終的なAIA施行規則を公表しました。
http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/120707-preissuance_submission_fr.pdf 

このAIAによる情報提供制度においては、特許出願の審査期間中に特許公報及びその他の刊行物をUSPTOに提出することができます。

AIA以前にも第三者による情報提供制度は存在しましたが、非常に大きな制約がありました。今回のAIAにより、第三者が、USPTOに係属中の出願に関して先行技術文献などを提出して考慮させる機会が大幅に広がります。情報提供の際には、文献と共にその文献と出願との関連性を簡潔に説明することが要求されます。提出された文献が新たな規則37 CFR 1.290の規定に沿うものと判断されると、審査官に考慮されます。

この情報規則制度は、2012年9月16日から施行され、この日以前の出願にも適用されます。

再審査などの手続きにおいて包袋に含まれる特許権者の意見を引用可能とすることについて

2012年8月6日、USPTOは、再審査などの手続きにおける、包袋書類に含まれる特許権者の意見の引用に関する最終的なAIA施行規則を公表しました。
http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/citation_of_prior_art_fr.pdf 

新たな規則は37 CFR 1.501(a) (2)に定められています。

出願包袋に含まれる書類の内、再審査などの手続きで引用できるのは、従来は、特許公報及び刊行物に限定されていましたが、AIAにより、特許権者が、クレームの範囲に関して連邦裁判所または特許商標庁に提出した意見も引用できることとなりました。

具体的には、査定系再審査(ex parte reexamination)、当事者系レビュー(inter partes review)及び付与後異議申立(post grant review proceedings)などにおいて引用することができる包袋書類に、特許権者が、クレームの範囲に関して連邦裁判所または特許商標庁に提出した意見も含まれることになりました。 

 

2012年9月16日から施行される、その他のAIA規定についての最終的な施行規則については、2012年8月14日に公表される予定です。

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