care

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:

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《会社案内》

(和英)

原文:

現在は、長年蓄積した経験と高度な技術によって広く全国のお客さまからパートナーに選ばれ、「信頼できる分析サービス会社」という声価をかち得ています。・・・・・価値ある有用な情報を創造し、ご提供する我が社は、進化するお客様のニーズにお答えするためさらにパートナーとして信頼される努力を続けてまいります。

英訳文:

Due to our long and extensive experience and high-level expertise, we have been chosen as a partner by customers throughout Japan, and won a reputation as a “reliable analytical services company”.・・・・・We are committed to create and provide valuable and useful information,and will continue every effort to satisfy the changing customers’ needs and remain to be trusted as a their partner.

原文:

つねに最新鋭の機器と優れた人材・技術をいかし「迅速に・正確に・確実に」業務を実行すると共に、機密の保持に万全の注意を払っていることは申すまでもありません。

 英訳文:

We, as a matter of course, always take advantage of the state-of-the-art instruments and the excellent human resources and techniques in carrying out given tasks “quickly, precisely and surely” and that with extreme care to secure confidentiality of information.

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.

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.

タグ:

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《合併契約書》

合併契約書(和英)

原文:

合 併 契 約 書

会社A(以下、「甲」という。)と会社B(以下、「乙」という。)とは、両社の合併に際して次の契約を締結する。 

第1条       甲と乙は、甲を吸収合併存続会社、乙を吸収合併消滅会社として合併(以下、「本合併」という。)し、甲は乙の権利義務の全部を承継する。

  2 本合併に係る吸収合併存続会社及び吸収合併消滅会社の商号及び本店は、以下のとおりとする。

(1)吸収合併存続会社
    商号 会社A
    本店 東京都港区・・・・・

(2)吸収合併消滅会社
    商号 会社B
    本店 東京都中央区・・・・・

第2条       甲と乙は完全兄弟会社であるから、甲は本合併に際し、甲の株式その他の金銭を乙の親会社に対して割当交付しない。

第3条       本合併により甲の資本金、資本準備金、その他資本剰余金の額、利益準備金、その他利益剰余金は増加しない。

第4条       効力発生日は、平成26年9月1日とする。ただし、この前日までに合併に関し必要な手続が遂行できないときは、甲及び乙が協議の上、会社法の規定に従い、これを変更することができる。

第5条       乙は、平成25年12月31日現在の貸借対照表その他同日現在の計算書類を基礎とし、これに効力発生日前日までの増減を加除した一切の資産、負債及び権利義務を効力発生日において甲に引き継ぐ。

  2 乙は、平成25年12月31日以降、効力発生日前日に至るまでの間に生じたその資産又は負債の変動については、別に計算書類を添付して、その内容を甲に明示しなければならない。

第6条       甲及び乙は、本契約締結後、効力発生日前日に至るまで、善良なる管理者の注意をもって各業務を遂行し、かつ、一切の財産の管理を行う。

第7条       甲は、効力発生日において、乙の従業員を甲の従業員として雇用する。

  2 勤続年数は、乙の計算方式による年数を通算するものとし、その他の細目については甲及び乙が協議して決定する。

甲と乙は、本契約につき承認を得るため、平成26年8月31日までに、それぞれの株主総会の承認を得る。

第8条       本契約締結の日から効力発生日までの間において、天災地変その他の事由により、甲若しくは乙の資産状態若しくは経営状態に重大な変動が生じた場合又は隠れたる重大な瑕疵が発見された場合には、甲及び乙が協議の上、本契約を変更し、又は解除することができる。

第10条 本契約に規定のない事項又は本契約の解釈に疑義が生じた事項については、甲及び乙が誠意をもって協議の上、解決する。

第11条 本契約は、甲乙各々の株主総会の承認を得ることができない場合には、その効力を失うものとする。

本契約の締結を承認するため本書2通を作成し、甲乙各1通を保有する。

 

平成26年  月  日

(甲) 
東京都港区・・・・・
会社A
代表取締役 山田太郎  印 

(乙)
東京都中央区・・・・・
会社B
代表取締役 山本二郎  印

 

英訳文:

Merger Agreement

              Company A (hereinafter referred to as “Party A”) and Company B (hereinafter referred to as “Party B”) make an agreement for their merger as follows: 

Article 1
(1)          Parties A and B shall be merged by an absorption-type merger (hereinafter referred to as “this merger”).  In this merger, Party A shall be the surviving company, Party B shall be the dissolving company, and Party A shall succeed to all the rights and obligations of Party B.

(2)          The trade name and head office address of each of the surviving and dissolving companies are as follows.

(i)           The surviving company
              Trade name: Company A
              Head office address: ….., ….., Minato-ku, Tokyo

(ii)          The dissolving company
              Trade name: Company B
              Head office address: ….., ….., Chuo-ku, Tokyo 

Article 2
Parties A and B are wholly-owned sister companies and, in this merger, Party A does not allot any share or money of Party A to the parent company of Party B.

Article 3
This merger does not increase the amount of the stated capital, legal capital surplus, other capital surplus, retained earnings reserve, or other earned surplus of Party A.

Article 4
The date on which this merger agreement becomes effective shall be September 1, 2014.  However, when the procedure necessary for this merger is not completed by the date before the effective date, the effective date can be changed upon mutual consultation between Parties A and B in accordance with the provisions of the Company Law.

Article 5
(1)         On the date on which this merger agreement becomes effective, Party B shall render to Party A all of its assets, liabilities, rights and obligations, which are assessed on the basis of the balance sheet and other calculation documents of Party B as of December 31, 2013, taking into consideration all the increases/decreases occurring during the period of from the date after December 31, 2013 to the date before the effective date.

(2)          Party B shall also present to Party A a separate calculation document showing all the increases/decreases occurring in its assets and liabilities during the period of from the date after December 31, 2013 to the date before the effective date.

Article 6
Parties A and B shall perform their task and administrate all their properties with the due care of a prudent manager during the period of from the date of making this merger agreement to the date before the date on which this merger agreement becomes effective.

Article 7
(1)          Party A shall employ the employees of Party B as the employees of Party A on the date on which this merger agreement becomes effective.

(2)          The period of service at Party B, which is calculated in accordance with the method of Party B, shall be added to the period of service at Party A.  The other details shall be determined upon mutual consultation between Parties A and B.

Article 8
Each of Parties A and B shall obtain the approval of this merger agreement by its general shareholders’ meeting by August 31, 2014.

Article 9
In case a serious fluctuation occurs or a serious defect is revealed in the financial status or business situation of Party A or B on account of natural disasters or the like during the period of from the date of making this merger agreement to the date on which this merger agreement becomes effective, this merger agreement can be amended or cancelled upon mutual consultation between Parties A and B.

Article 10
Any matter not stipulated in this merger agreement or any doubt arising as to the interpretation of the provisions of this merger agreement shall be resolved upon mutual consultation between Parties A and B conducted in good faith.

Article 11
This merger agreement shall not take effect when it is not approved by the general shareholders’ meetings of both Parties A and B.

The agreement document is prepared in duplicate for the approval of this merger agreement.  One copy of the document shall be possessed by Party A and the other by Party B.


(Month)      (Day)        , 2014

(Party A)
….., ….., Minato-ku, Tokyo
Company A
President     Taro YAMADA   (sealed) 

(Party B)
….., ….., Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Company B
President     Jiro YAMAMOTO   (sealed)

タグ:

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