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English

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.

タグ:

PCT  EPO  application  or  be  patent  USPTO  Japan  an  Patent  Japanese  not  with  filed  claim  Office  EP  at  one  art  claims  any  has  grant  applications  request  above  file  only  been  case  within  such  use  other  into  IP  Statement  phase  will  European  we  more  documents  should  under  specification  than  mentioned  related  all  but  right  problem  having  non  services  We  also  inter  through  third  there  registered  based  go  patents  translations  applicant  so  excellent  ex  about  high  rights  practice  foreign  technical  required  scope  reasonable  even  re  fee  granted  years  each  end  without  Inoue  legal  party  business  English  national  Further  form  prepared  cases  etc  long  general  out  shown  including  international  skill  two  first  need  quality  properties  example  because  many  skilled  during  prosecution  provide  amount  their  least  do  year  Associates  very  clients  substantial  usually  respect  firm  given  translation  some  experience  ep  Intellectual  those  protection  clear  carried  obtain  original  Problem  make  matter  Property  side  efficiency  reason  knowledge  well  had  infringement  who  document  Solution  staff  construction  cost  limit  course  therein  Such  country  basis  production  they  outside  various  her  specifications  found  firms  per  applicants  see  good  am  poor  work  always  website  whether  product  attorneys  property  entry  intellectual  drafted  his  herein  expectation  limited  often  nor  members  disclosed  could  submitted  thus  understand  valid  web  vice  what  instruction  require  reading  ratio  ability  become  number  actually  act  place  closed  located  There  part  particular  care  specific  surely  far  fees  field  start  every  draft  how  highly  service  aspect  fields  desired  complicated  entire  concerned  change  capable  exam  done  Invalidation  Consequently  Trademark  Trade  advantage  able  acquire  actual  Services  valuable  late  requested  unexpected  instructions  short  show  serious  up  involved  isa  own  professionals  professional  problems  procedure  practically  minute  protecting  now  most  skills  immediately  texts  fully  handling  handled  submit  help  translator  solid  never  oa  State  abilities  man  advantageous  acquiring  logical  mm  Watanabe  manner  rather  read  Hirai  Hidefumi  red  professor  procedures  protective  price  Nobuatsu  fr  full  depends  generally  constantly  higher  hard  great  experienced  efficiently  establish  entities  everything  esteemed  ed  domestic  ip  avoided  attorney  Dr  Each  suit  try  trusted  Even  Every  rich  surprising  An  site  works  signed  way  while  utmost  trained  reputation 

宣誓供述書の書き方について(2):米国(Part 2)

[例2] この例においては、[例1]のように宣誓供述書の供述内容を別紙のExhibit(甲号証又は乙号証)とはしていません。また、発明者以外によって署名された例です。

内容としては、医療装置(変形爪の矯正装置)に関する二次的考慮事項(商業的成功など)に関して提出したものです。(米国出願の中間処理において弊所が実際に提出したものに基づいていますが、固有名詞・用語・数値などは適宜変更してあります。)

(商業的成功に関する宣誓供述書の書式の1例)

IN THE U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE

Applicant:Taro YAMADA
Serial No.:XX/XXX,XXX
Filed:XXXX, 20XX
For:APPARATUS FOR CORRECTING AN INGROWN NAIL
Art Unit:3772
Examiner:Dan HICKS

 



DECLARATION UNDER 37 C.F.R. 1.132

 

    I, Goro Kimura, a Japanese citizen residing at XXXX, Tokyo, Japan, declare and say: 
    I was graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, XXX University in March 2005.
    In April 2005, I entered XYZ Clinic where I have been practicing the treatment of hallux valgus and ingrown nails.
    I am well familiar with the present case.
    I read and understood the Office Action dated XXXX, 2011 and references cited therein. I have carried out treatments of ingrown nails with the apparatus disclosed in claim 1 of the present application at XYZ Clinic following the instructions given by Mr. Taro Yamada who is the director of the clinic and is the inventor of the present application. Some of the results of the treatments are as reported in the website of XYZ Clinic at http://www.adcdefg-hijk.com.
    In the website, three cases of treatments are reported.  The treatments were performed using an apparatus as shown in Fig. A attached hereto.  As can be seen from Fig. A, the apparatus falls within the scope of claim 1 of the present application.
    As to the three cases (cases 1 to 3), the nails before and after the treatments are shown in Figs. B, C and D attached hereto, which are also shown at the above-mentioned website of XYZ Clinic.  In each of the tree treatments, the apparatus as shown in Fig. A was used as mentioned above.  Further, the reagents and operations in cases 1 to 3 were substantially the same as recited in Example 1 of the present application (paragraphs [00XX] to [00XX] of the specification of the present application) except that the inclination angle A of the lifting members, the lifting intervals and the nail correcting force were slightly varied depending on the characteristics of the ingrown nails of the patients.  As reported in the website of XYZ Clinic, the details of cases 1 to 3 are as follows.

Case 1:
Patient's gender and age:
    A female in her 30's.

Patient's background: 
    The patient wished to avoid a painful treatment because she had heard her acquaintance's report about having received a very painful operation for correcting an ingrown nail at another hospital which seemed to have been carried out without anesthesia.  The patient came to XYZ Clinic because she was attracted by the painless treatment of this clinic.

Results:
    The ingrown nail was corrected as shown in Fig. B by a single treatment which took about only 30 minutes.  The patient was satisfied with the results of the treatment because the ingrown nail had been corrected without feeling any pain during and after the treatment.

Case 2:
Patient's gender and age:
 
    A female in her 40's.

Patient's background: 
    The patient had a previous experience of nail-correction using a wire device which is to be hooked to the edges of the ingrown sides of the nail and is designed to lift the ingrown sides by pulling the hooked portions of the wire toward the center of the nail.
    However, she needed to go to the hospital so frequently that it became troublesome to her. As a result, the patient stopped going to the hospital before the completion of the nail correction.
    The patient also had a previous experience of nail-correction using a correction plate which is to be adhered on the surface of an ingrown nail and lifts the ingrown sides of the nail by the spring force of the plate, but the plate came off from the nail soon.

Results: 
    The ingrown nail was corrected as shown in Fig. C by performing twice an approx. 30-minute treatment, and the patient was pleased with the result.

Case 3:
Patient's gender and age: 
    A female in her 50's.

Patient's background: 
    Previously, the patient had her ingrown nail corrected by treatment using a wire device similar to that used by the patient of case 2, which treatment lasted about 18 months. However, the ingrown nail recurred after the termination of the treatment.

Results: 
    The ingrown nail was corrected as shown in Fig. D by a single approx. 30-minute treatment.  During and after the treatment, the patient did not feel any pain nor uncomfortable feeling.

    Finally, it should be added that almost all of the 900 patients having received this treatment so far were very satisfied with the results.

    From the above, it is apparent that the apparatus of the present invention surely enables the correction of an ingrown nail within a very short period of time, 1.e., within about 30 minutes to about 1 hour, with a very simple operation and without causing any pain nor uncomfortable feeling to the patent.
    Thus, the apparatus of the present invention has realized a surprisingly easy and effective treatment which is far more advantageous than the conventional surgical removal method which is complicated, cumbersome and is accompanied by pain during or after the surgery and risk of microbial infection, and the conventional treatments using various correction devices or apparatuses which are in many cases not so effective and require very long treatment periods.

    The undersigned petitioner declares that all statements made herein of his own knowledge are true and that all statements made on information and belief are believed to be true; and further that these statements were made with the knowledge that willful false statements and the like so made are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, under Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code and that such willful false statements may jeopardize the validity of the application or any patent issuing thereon.

Date:

(宣誓者の署名)
Goro Kimura

タグ:

米国  出願  発明  提出  application  or  be  patent  弊所  宣誓供述書  Japan  an  Japanese  not  with  design  変更  考慮  Final  claim  実際  Action  米国出願  period  Office  発明者  date  at  one  rce  invention  present  after  any  内容  has  treatment  above  epo  report  only  been  www  case  within  書式  such  use  other  may  months  will  以外  we  more  should  method  under  specification  than  made  事項  mentioned  results  all  but  中間処理  having  処理  Act  also  same  inter  information  was  there  用語  go  Art  nail  both  so  Case  ex  effective  about  医療  University  following  ingrown  time  scope  re  parent  fee  month  similar  each  end  without  residing  However  single  供述内容  署名  中間  Applicant  April  before  Further  装置  Exhibit  treatments  form  using  cases  XXXX  long  statements  成功  further  patient  out  XX  shown  inventor  need  state  Tokyo  数値  United  because  Ex  many  Examiner  during  有名  Mr  used  宣誓  PATENT  were  States  very  宣誓者  correction  substantial  follows  given  XXX  some  where  experience  ep  carried  Clinic  side  knowledge  recited  well  had  商業的成功  true  reference  who  like  供述書  cited  details  another  apparatus  device  declare  Fig  therein  these  willful  satisfied  petition  references  various  her  別紙  per  pending  Patient  see  Date  three  am  XYZ  Title  received  website  back  term  corrected  his  herein  result  March  statement  OFFICE  nor  Example  EC  citizen  convention  members  disclosed  dated  thereon  understood  valid  undersigned  二次的考慮事項  固有名詞  web  vice  宣誓供述  instruction  portion  issuing  depending  require  reported  ratio  nails  background  added  act  performed  petitioner  plate  closed  kg  less  pain  specific  DECLARATION  she  false  surely  far  substantially  how  Faculty  believed  feeling  apparent  female  devices  attached  familiar  complicated  conventional  発明者以外  How  20XX  Taro  Thus  UNDER  TRADEMARK  advantage  able  適宜変更  Results  say  late  wire  instructions  short  show  sides  own  previous  please  perform  商業的  minute  now  most  took  surface  hospital  ground  graduated  hereto  gender  二次的  乙号証  Section  Serial  Some  State  Re  painful  operations  operation  YAMADA  man  lifting  advantageous  accompanied  low  minutes  Unit  read  Kimura  punishable  red  periods  performing  patients  practicing  fr  declares  forming  force  hooked  correcting  except  effect  entered  enables  ed  fine  easy  became  invent  jeopardize  belief  believe  almost  approx  imprisonment  clinic  inform  came  characteristics  validity  uses  surgical  surprising  uncomfortable  site  simple  Code  signed  DE  Goro  toward  00XX  Finally  Filed 

《特許出願明細書》

分野 : バイオテクノロジー(細胞生物学) (和英)

原文:

更に、MAPKキナーゼの活性化には、キナーゼドメインVIIとVIIIの境界領域にある2つのセリン及び/又はスレオニン残基(即ち、2つのセリン残基、2つのスレオニン残基又はセリンとスレオニン残基)のリン酸化が必要で、このリン酸化を担うセリン/スレオニンキナーゼをMAPKKキナーゼ(MAPKKK)と総称する。前記のRaf-1はMAPKKキナーゼの一種であり、Ras→Raf-1(即ち、MAPKKK)→MAPKK→MAPKという連鎖は、シグナル伝達の主要経路の一つである。MAPKKK→MAPKK→MAPKという3分子からなるキナーゼの連鎖をMAPキナーゼシグナルカスケードと呼ぶ。

英訳文:

For activating a MAPK kinase, it is necessary to phosphorylate two serine and/or threonine residues (i.e., two serine residues, two threonine residues, or one serine residue and one threonine residue) located in the boundary region between the kinase subdomains VII and VIII, and a serine/threonine kinase responsible for this phosphorylation is designated MAPKK kinase (MAPKKK). The above-mentioned Raf-1 is one example of MAPKK kinase, and the following cascade reaction: Ras → Raf-1 (i.e., MAPKKK) → MAPKK → MAPK, is one of the major signal transduction pathways. The cascade reaction consisting of three kinase molecules, MAPKKK → MAPKK → MAPK, is called a MAP kinase signal cascade.

分野:バイオテクノロジー(遺伝子工学) (和英)

原文:

SIIS-1発現プラスミドの構築上記(ii)で単離したSIIS-1cDNAを制限酵素XbalとPvuIIで消化し、得られた制限酵素断片をブラントエンド化し、哺乳動物発現ベクターpEF-BOSのブラントエンド化したXbalサイトに挿入した。以下、構築したSIIS-1発現ベクターをpEF-BOS/SIIS-1(SH+)とする。SH2領域を欠損した変異型SIIS-1を構築するために、pEF-BOS/SIIS-1(SH+)を制限酵素BssHIIで消化し、生じた360bpの断片を除去した。得られたSH2領 域及びC末端の領域を欠損したSIIS-1発現ベクター(即ち、SIIS-1変異ベクター)を、pEF-BOS/SIIS-1(SH-)とした。 上記で構築したpEF-BOS/SIIS-1(SH+)又はpEF-BOS/SIIS-1(SH-)のいずれか一方の発現ベクターとネオマイシン耐性遺伝子をコードするpSV2 Neoとを20:1の比率で混ぜ、M1細胞にエレクトロポレーション法で形質導入した。ネオマイシン耐性を指標とし、形質導入体(クローン)をGeneticin(米国、GIBCOBRL社製)750μg/mlを含む成長培地中で選択した。

英訳文:

Construction of SIIS-1 expression vectors: SIIS-1 cDNA isolated in step (ii) above was digested with restriction enzymes XbaI and PvuII, and the end of the obtained restriction fragment (XbaI-PvuII) was converted into a blunt end. Then, the resultant blunt-ended fragment was inserted into the blunt-ended XbaI site of the mammalian expression vector pEF-BOS. Hereinafter, the constructed SIIS-1 expression vector is simply referred to as "pEF-BOS/SIIS-1 (SH+)". For the construction of a mutant SIIS-1 which is an SH2 domain-deficient SIIS-1, a BssHII-digested fragment of 360 bp was removed from pEF-BOS/SIIS-1 (SH+). The thus obtained SIIS-1 expression vector (that is, a mutant SIIS-1 vector) which is deficient in the SH2 domain and is truncated at the C-terminus is hereinafter simply referred to as "pEF-BOS/SIIS-1 (SH-)". Each of the expression vectors pEF-BOS/SIIS-1 (SH+) and pEF-BOS/SIIS-1 (SH-) prepared above was individually mixed with expression vector pSV2 Neo (encoding a neomycin-resistance gene) at a ratio of 20:1. Subsequently, each of the resultant vector mixtures was separately transfected into M1 cells by electroporation. Using neomycin resistance as an index, the transfectants (i.e., clones) were selected in the growth medium containing Geneticin (manufactured and sold by GIBCO BRL, USA) at 750 μg/ml.

分野 : 樹脂成形 (和英)

原文:

本発明の発泡射出成形方法によれば、金型キャビティ内壁面形状の転写性が良好で、無発泡の表皮層と高発泡の発泡層を有する成形品を再現性良く、効率的、経済的に製造することができるだけでなく、成形品の表皮層の厚さおよび成形品の発泡倍率を容易に制御することができる。

英訳文:

The foam-injection molding method of the present invention is advantageous not only in that a molded article which exhibits excellent reproduction of the morphology of the inner wall of the mold cavity and which has both a non-foamed surface skin layer and a highly foamed interior portion can be produced with excellent reproducibility and high efficiency and economically, but also in that the thickness of the surface skin layer and the expansion ratio of the molded article can be easily controlled. The foam-injection molding method of the present invention can provide various excellent foam-injection molded articles of a thermoplastic resin at a low cost.

分野 : 電気工学 (和英)

原文:

本発明は、複合色素及びn型半導体を包含する光電変換素子であって、該複合色素は、互いに 異なる励起準位を有する複数の成分色素が互いに化学結合されてなり、それにより、電子移動用の直鎖又は枝分かれ構造体を形成し、該直鎖又は枝分かれ構造体は一端において該n型半導体に保持され、他端は自由端であり、その励起準位が該直鎖又は枝分かれ構造体の上記のn型半導体に保持された端部から、上記の自由端に向かって減少する順序で配列されていることを特徴とする光電変換素子に関する。

英訳文:

The present invention is concerned with a photoelectric conversion element comprising a composite dye and an n-type semiconductor, the composite dye comprising a plurality of component dyes which have different excitation levels and which are chemically bonded to each other to form a straight chain or branched structure for transferring an electron therethrough, wherein the straight chain or branched structure is, at one end thereof, secured to the n-type semiconductor and has, at least at one other end thereof, a free end, and wherein the plurality of component dyes are arranged in an order such that the excitation levels of the plurality of component dyes are decreased as viewed from the one end of the structure toward the at least one other end of the structure.

分野 : 電気工学 (和英)

原文:

本発明の光電変換素子は、光電変換性能に優れ、特に、太陽エネルギーからのエネルギー取り 出し効率(エネルギー変換効率)が高く、また、それを用いて簡便に色素増感型太陽電池を製造 することができるので、色素増感型太陽電池などに有利に用いられる。

英訳文:

The photoelectric conversion element of the present invention exhibits excellent photoelectric conversion properties, especially high efficiency in converting solar energy to electric energy (i.e., high energy conversion efficiency), and a dye sensitized solar battery can be easily produced therefrom. Therefore, the photoelectric conversion element of the present invention can be advantageously used for a dye sensitized solar battery and the like.

分野 : 樹脂成形 (和英)

原文:

文明社会はエネルギーの消費によって成立するが、そのエネルギーの大部分は、自然が長年か けて太陽光エネルギーを蓄えた化石燃料に由来する。近年、その化石燃料の減少やその燃焼に よる地球温暖化問題が、人類社会の持続的発展の足かせとなる危惧が高まっている。 これらの問題を解決するために、太陽エネルギーから直接エネルギーを取り出す研究開発が盛 んに行われている。これらの中で、太陽電池は太陽エネルギーからのエネルギー取り出し効率 (エネルギー変換効率)が高いため多くの研究が為されている。とりわけ、色素に代表される光 増感剤を用い、その励起電子を効率よく取り出すことが可能な色素増感型太陽電池は、Michae l Gratzel等によって、エネルギー変換効率が7%を超えるシステムが発表(Nature 1991,353,737参照)されて以来、複雑な製造工程を経ず、安価に製造できる次世代の太陽 電池として注目を集めている。

英訳文:

Consumption of energy is indispensable to civilized society. Most of the energy which is consumed by civilized society is derived from fossil fuels, in which sunray energy has been accumulated over many years. In recent years, the problem that the amount of fossil fuels available is being reduced and the problem that the burning of fossil fuels causes global warming have arisen, and there is an increasing fear that these problems will be obstacles to the sustainable development of human society. For solving the above-mentioned problems, various studies have been made to directly utilize sunray energy. Among these studies, the studies on solar batteries have been vigorously made, because solar batteries exhibit high efficiency in converting solar energy to electric energy (i.e., high energy conversion efficiency). Among the solar batteries, special attention has been paid to a dye sensitized solar battery, which uses a photosensitizer, such as a dye, and which is capable of efficiently taking out electrons from the photosensitizer by the irradiation of the photosensitizer with sunray. Specifically, since Michael Gratzel et al. reported a system which uses a dye sensitized solar battery having an energy conversion efficiency of more than 7 % (see Nature 1991, 353, 737), a dye sensitized solar battery has drawn special attention as the next generation solar battery which can be produced at a low cost without use of a complicated method.

分野 : 鉄鋼技術、機械 (英和)

原文:

A production line for manufacturing hot steel strips from two casting lines (a, b) for thin slabs of thickness < 100 mm, only one of which (a) is aligned with a rolling line (e, g) characterized by comprising superimposed heating furnaces with mandrel (Al, A.2; Bl, B2), one pair on line (a) and one on line (b) respectively, both provided with internal mandrel to allow winding/unwinding steps of pre-strips having thickness lower than 30 mm, further comprising a bypass length (d) between said two furnaces (Al, A2) for the endless rolling in a finishing rolling mill (g) through a roller path (e), and a transverse path (k.) for transferring said pair of furnaces (Bl, B2) from line (b) to line (a) fox the production of single strips, there being provided an induction furnace (f) downstream of said heating furnaces with mandrel and immediately upstream of said finishing rolling mill (g).

和訳文:

熱間鋼帯を製造するための製造ラインであって、厚み100mm未満の薄いスラブ製造用の2つの鋳造ライン(a)及び(b)、該鋳造ライン(a)と直列に配置されてなる、ローラーコンベア(e)及び仕上用圧延機(g)を含む圧延ライン、上下に重なり合った加熱炉(A1)及び(A2)であって、該鋳造ライン(a)で製造されたスラブから得られる厚み30mm未満の仕上前鋳片の巻き取り及び巻き出し用マンドレルを内部に有しており、該鋳造ライン(a)に設けられた加熱炉(A1)及び(A2)、上下に重なり合った加熱炉(B1)及び(B2)であって、該鋳造ライン(b)で製造されたスラブから得られる厚み30mm未満の仕上前鋳片の巻き取り及び巻き出し用マンドレルを内部に有しており、鋳造ライン(b)に設けられた加熱炉(B1)及び(B2)、該鋳造ライン(a)で製造されたスラブを、ローラーコンベア(e)を介して仕上用圧延機(g)で連続的圧延に付すためのバイパス経路(d)であって、加熱炉(A1)と(A2)との間に設けられたバイパス経路(d)、加熱炉(B1)及び(B2)を、鋳造ライン(b)から鋳造ライン(a)に移動するための横断経路(k)、及びマンドレルを有する該加熱炉の下流であって、該仕上用圧延機(g)の直上流に設けられた誘導炉(f)、を含むことを特徴とする製造ライン。

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Divisional Application

Q1. Is it possible to file a divisional application from a pending Japanese patent application?

A1.  A divisional application can be filed from a pending Japanese patent application, but periods for filing a divisional application depends on the filing date of the parent application.

 Divisional application from a parent application filed on or before March 31, 2007 can be filed: 

  (1) any time until the 1st Office Action is issued by the Patent Office,

  (2) within a period for filing a response to an Office Action, and

  (3) simultaneously with the filing of a Notice of Appeal.

 Divisional application from a parent application filed on or after April 1, 2007 can be filed: 

  (1) any time until the 1st Office Action is issued by the Patent Office,

  (2) within a period for filing a response to an Office Action,

  (3) within a period when a Notice of Appeal can be filed against the Decision for Rejection (*note that a divisional application can be filed within this period even without the actual filing of a Notice of Appeal or even after the filing of the Notice of Appeal), and

  (4) within 30 days from the issuance of a Decision to Grant.

Q2. Our patent application in Japan was granted as a result of an Appeal against the Decision for Rejection.  Is it possible to file a new divisional application from the granted patent application?

A2.  No.  Regardless of the filing date of the parent application, when an Appeal is filed, a divisional application cannot be filed any longer after the final decision.

Q3. Is the filing of only claims sufficient for filing a divisional application?

A3.  Not only claims, but the whole specification including drawings and sequence listing (if any) is required.  Further, filing of an explanatory Written Statement on the divisional application for explaining (1) supports for the claims, and (2) differences between the parent application and the present divisional application is required by the Japan Patent Office. 

Q4. Is it acceptable to first file a divisional application with the same claims as the patent application and then later amend the claims? 

A4.  Yes, it is acceptable as long as the claims are to be amended later during the prosecution of the divisional so as not to overlap with those of the parent because no double patenting is permitted. 

The Applicant is requested to file a Written Statement for explaining how the divisional differs from the parent, etc.   The Statement should be filed earlier than or simultaneously with the filing of a request for examination.

Further, in the case of a divisional application from a parent application filed on or after April 1, 2007, the claims of such a divisional application (which may be submitted as amendment after filing of the divisional) should be drafted so as to remove all of the reasons for rejection issued against the parent.  When the examiner finds that the claims of the divisional can be rejected on the same ground as the parent, the first Notice of Rejection is made final, and permissible claim amendments are restricted as in the case of the "amendment after final Rejection".  Please see item “Restriction to Permissible Claim Amendments After Final Rejection” for more details.

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Design Registration

Q1. If a design application is to be filed in Japan claiming Convention Priority based on a non-Japanese application, is the priority period one year as in patent applications? 

A1.  No. For filing design applications in Japan claiming Convention priority, the priority period is for six (6) months, instead of one year, from the filing of the priority application.  Even if you have a design "patent" application filed at the USPTO, the priority period is 6 months for filing a Japanese patent application with a valid priority claim based on the degisn "patent" application filed in the US.  

You also have to be careful when filing a patent application in Japan claiming priority from both a patent application and a design application.  That is, for example, if you filed in your country a patent application on May 1, 2012 and a design application on October 30, 2012 and are now considering filing a patent application on May 1, 2013 in Japan claiming priority from both of the above-mentioned patent application and design application filed in your country, this date “May 1, 2013” is within one-year priority period based on the patent application but is after the expiration of six-month priority period (October 30, 2012 + 6 months = April 40, 2013) based on the design application.  Therefore, the priority claim based on the design application is not valid.  

Q2. I am planning to file a design patent application in Japan claiming priority from a US design patent application.  What are the major differences in practice between the United States and Japan that require particular attention?

A2.  Firstly, unlike the “design patent” in the United States which is one type of patents and is basically dealt with under the patent law, Japan has a design law separate from a patent law. 

Therefore, in Japan, an application for registration of a design is referred to as “design application”, not “design patent application” as in the United States.  

More importantly, this difference in legal system leads to some significant differences in design registration practice between the US and Japan representative examples of which are enumerated below.

Difference 1)  “Single design per application” system in Japan

It is understood that the US system allows an applicant to pursue two or more designs (embodiments) of a single inventive concept in a single design patent application.  This, however, is not the case in Japan.  According to the Japanese practice, each design application may include only a single design of single shape.

Therefore, in Japan, when a single priority application includes multiple designs, it is necessary to either:

-  file separate design applications with respect to the different designs, or

-  file an application including different designs and later file a divisional application(s).

In this connection, however, it should be noted that it is not allowed to file a divisional application on a “partial” design from a “whole” design application and vice versa.  Concerning the “partial” and “whole” designs, explanations are made below.

Further, there is an exception to the "single design per application" system, and the Japan's Design Law provides "related design" system for covering a plurality of similar designs.

1-1) Exception to the “single design per application” rule

The Japan’s Design Law exceptionally allows for discrete objects to be claimed in a single application if common sense indicates that such discrete objects are usually sold as a “set”, as in the case of, for example, a 3-piece set including a knife, fork and spoon. 

1-2) Related design applications

In the case where the priority US application contains a plurality of different but similar designs (e.g., minor variations of a certain design), such similar designs may be covered by utilizing the related design system in Japan.  Specifically, the similar designs can be covered by filing a principal design application and filing a related design application(s) by one day prior to the publication of the principal design. 

The design registered as the related design can be enforced independently of the registered principal design and other registered related design(s).  That is, a related design right can cover even a design similar to that related design, which, however, is not similar to the principal design. 

For covering such similar designs under the related design regime, it is possible to either:

-  file a principal design application and also file a related design application(s) simultaneously with the principal application or later (by one day prior to the publication of the principal design at the latest), or

-  file general design applications on the similar designs, and later amend the general applications into a principal design application and a related design application(s).

The JPO may find that the designs are not similar enough to be eligible for registration under the related design regime but there is no need to be so nervous about this point.  If the JPO denies the similarity, the JPO will issue an office action requesting the applicant to stop relying on the related design system and change the applications to normal applications.

 

Finally, the right of a registered related design is independent from the right of a registered principal design but there are the following exceptions.

1.   Synchronized protection term: 

The protection term for both of a registered principal design and a registered related design is 20 years from the registration date of the principal design.  This point, however, is substantially immaterial in the present case because the two applications will probably be registered almost simultaneously.  Further, the registered related design can be maintained even if the principal design is allowed to lapse due to non-payment of maintenance fee, and vice versa.   

 2.   Restriction of transfer of rights and licensing: 

The right of a registered related design cannot be transferred or licensed independently from the registered principal design.  That is, for transfer of design rights to a third party by assignment etc., the principal and related designs must be simultaneously transferred together to the same entity.  Further, also for licensing, the principal and related designs must be licensed simultaneously to the same entity.

 

Difference 2)  Partial Design System

The Japan’s Design Law has a “partial design system” which allows registration of parts of shapes or forms with distinct characteristics.  

The US system also provides a similar practice where dotted lines can be used to indicate non-claimed parts.  There is, however, one important difference.  That is, the Japan’s system requires that a partial design application should be filed with a clear indication that the application claims a partial design.  In the absence of such indication, the application will be recognized as claiming a whole design. 

Once filed with the indication of a partial design application, it is in principle not allowed to amend the application into a whole design application and vice versa.  Similarly, a divisional application on a partial design cannot be filed from a whole design application and vice versa. 

Therefore, if it is important to cover both of whole and partial designs, it is recommended to file both a whole design application and a partial design application.

 

Of course, there are many other differences between US and Japanese practices; however, the above differences are believed to be the main differences which require particular attention when filing a design application in Japan claiminig priority from a US design patent application.

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Trademarks

Q1. If a trademark application is to be filed in Japan claiming Convention Priority based on a non-Japanese application, is the priority period one year as in patent applications? 

A1.  No. For filing a trademark application in Japan claiming Convention priority, the priority period is six (6) months, instead of one year, from the filing of the priority application. 

Q2. Are there any specific points to be noted for registering a trademark in Japan?

A2.  Some of the points to be noted for registering a trademark in Japan are as follows.

(1)  Goods and services acceptable in Japan:  In the case of trademark registration in Japan via Madrid protocol, the JPO may object to the indications of goods/services in the International Register as being too vague even if they should be acceptable under the NICE Agreement.  This is because the JPO relies on its own list of goods and services as prescribed in the examination standards.  For example, “Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water” found in the NICE Classifications is not found acceptable by the JPO, and it should be amended to “Aircraft; automobiles; bicycles; motorcycles; rolling stock for railways; ships”.  The amendment of indications is possible as long as it is within the scope of the original Madrid protocol application. 

(2)  Requirement for use of trademark:  A registrable trademark in Japan is a trademark which is being used or which is intended to be used in the near future.  When the range of the goods and services listed in one class is too broad, the trademark will be rejected because the veracity of use or intention of use of the trademark becomes doubtful.

(3)  Registrable subject matter:  Currently, sounds, smells, colors, textures, tastes and movements are not registerable as trademarks in Japan.  (However, the JPO is planning to submit a bill to revise the trademark law to the Japanese Diet in 2013.  So, registration of the mentioned subjects as trademarks may become possible in the near future.)

Q3. Are there any means to accelerate examination of a trademark application in Japan?

A3. Yes.  A request for accelerated examination can be filed anytime after the filing of your trademark application, and the request should be granted as long as the following condition 1 or 2 is met .

Condition 1 : Actual use of trademark and need for quick registration 

You or your licensee is already using your trademark for the goods or services designated in your application, or are preparing to use the trademark, AND

The trademark rights need to be granted urgently due to any one or more of the following reasons:

   1) A third party is using a trademark which is the same or similar to your trademark without authorization from you or your licensee, in connection with designated goods or services that are the same or similar to the goods and services for which you or your licensee has been using the trademark, or for which you or your licensee has prepared to a considerable degree to use the trademark.

   2) A third party has given a warning with respect to the use of your trademark.

   3) A third party is demanding an agreement to their use of your trademark.

   4) You have also applied for the trademark registration at a Patent Office other than the Japan Patent Office (JPO), or to an intergovernmental organization.

Condition 2:  Use of trademark only for designated goods or services

Your application designates only the goods and services for which you or your licensee is already using the trademark or you or your licensee is preparing to use the trademark.

Q4. What are the documents necessary for filing a request for accelerated examination for a trademark application in Japan? 

A4.  A document entitled "Explanation of the Circumstances Concerning Accelerated Examination” should be filed together with evidence(s) showing that the above-mentioned Condition 1 or 2 is fulfilled by the trademark application. 

Q5. What are the specifics of the individual fee system for a trademark registration via Madrid Protocol designating Japan. 

A5.  The JPO has adopted an individual fee consisting of two parts in accordance with Rule 34(3)(a) of the Common Regulations under the Madrid Protocol.

First part of the individual fee:  This corresponds to an application fee, and is paid at the time of international registration or the subsequent designation. 

Second part of the individual fee:  This corresponds to a registration fee, and is paid within the prescribed period mentioned in the notification issued with the Notice of Grant.  Failure of payment results in cancellation of the designation of Japan in the international registration.

Both fees are to be paid directly to the International Bureau of the WIPO.

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