years

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.

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Attorney/Recommendations

Patent Attorney

Name:  Junzo WATANABE

Registration No.:  11683 (registered in 2000)

Education:   

  Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kumamoto University

  Department of Law, Faculty of Law, Chuo University

Recommendations

■1) Nobuatsu Watanabe [Title: Professor Emeritus of Kyoto University, Doctor of Engineering; Award: The Chemical Society Japan Award (1980), Purple Ribbon Medal (Shijuhosho) (1987), etc.]

Mr. Inoue, the Senior Partner, is my former student. He has both excellent linguistic ability and excellent expertise. The staff of Inoue & Associates are well-trained by Mr. Inoue, and the high quality services provided by Mr. Inoue and his staff are self-explanatory from the documents made by them. From my experience, I firmly believe that they will help you to promptly and surely acquire intellectual property rights, based on adequate judgment made by fully utilizing their professional skills in combination with their rich experience in pursuit of patent rights in many countries for many years.

■2) Hidefumi Hirai [Title: Professor Emeritus of The University of Tokyo, Doctor of Engineering; Award: The Chemical Society Japan Award (1984), etc.]

Mr. Inoue, the Senior Partner, and his staff are familiar with foreign patent laws and patent practices. Further, the quality of their services based on accurate understanding of technical background and excellent linguistic ability is prominent in this business. In addition, Mr. Inoue already has his appropriate successor and I, therefore, trust Inoue & Associates for their excellent procedures of filing patent applications through reliable prosecutions for grant of patents.

《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。

タグ:

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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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Utility Models

Q1. What are the differences between a patent and a utility model in Japan? 

A1.  The utility model system in Japan like in other countries having this system is for protecting minor innovations which are often called “small inventions”.

The distinct features of the utility model system are:  

     that a utility model registration is only for protecting “devices” related to shape or construction of articles or combination of articles (in other words, other inventions, such as methods, chemical compounds and pharmaceuticals, cannot be protected under utility model act);

     that a utility model is registered without substantive examination; and

     that a duration of a registered utility model is only 10 years from the filing date of the utility model application.

Differences between a patent and a utility model are summarized in the following Table.

  Patent Utility Model
Subject of protection Devices, methods, chemical compounds, etc. Devices related to shape or construction of articles or combination of articles (Methods, chemical compounds, etc. cannot be protected)
Application documents required Specification including Claims and Abstract; and, if any, Drawing(s) (optional) Specification including Claims and Abstract; and Drawing(s) (not omissible)
Substantive examination Request for Examination must be filed within 3 years from the filing date No substantive examination; Registered when basic formal requirements are fulfilled
Time period required for registration Possibly, several years from filing of the Request for Examination About 4-6 months from the filing date
Duration of protection 20 years from the filing date (may be extended in some cases) 10 years from the filing date (non-extensible)
Enforcement of right Enforceable based on granted patent Report of Utility Model Technical Opinion” is necessary for enforcing the utility model right

 

Q2. What is a “Report of Utility Model Technical Opinion”?

A2.  The Report of Utility Model Technical Opinion is an assessment report about the registrability (novelty, inventive step, etc.) of a utility model application or a registered utility model.  This report is prepared by an Examiner of the Japan Patent Office upon request and payment of official fees.  Anyone (that is, not only the Applicant of the utility model, but also any third party) can validly file a request for the Report.

As explained in item “A1” above, a utility model is registered without a substantive examination.  In this connection, for an owner of a utility model to enforce the utility model right against an infringer, firstly, a warning accompanied by the Report of Utility Model Technical Opinion must be sent to the infringer.  Therefore, the above-mentioned Report is necessary for instituting an infringement suit in Japan.

Q3. Is it possible to convert a patent application into a utility model application?

A3.  Yes.  Conversion of a patent application into a utility model application is allowed if an appropriate step is taken within 3 months (for Applicants residing in Japan) or 4 months (for Applicants residing outside Japan) from the mailing date of the Decision for Rejection, or within nine years and six months from the filing date of the patent application, whichever expires earlier.  Such a converted utility model application is entitled to the benefit of the filing date of the original patent application, and the original patent application is deemed to be withdrawn.

Q4. Is it possible to convert a utility model application into a patent application?

A4.  Yes.  Conversion of a utility model application (or a registered utility model resulting therefrom) into a patent application is allowed if an appropriate step is taken within 3 years from the filing date of the utility model application.  However, it should be noted that such conversion is not allowed after the applicant (or an assignee) has filed a request for the above-mentioned Report of Utility Model Technical Opinion, or after a 30-day period has passed from the date of a first official notice advising that a third party has filed a request for the Report of Utility Model Technical Opinion.  Such a converted patent application is entitled to the benefit of the filing date of the original utility model application, and the original utility model application is deemed to be withdrawn.  (Such a converted patent application cannot be converted back into a utility model application.)

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