Japanese Patent

(3) Supporting Systems for SMEs

As of April 2009, Japan Patent Office establishes various supporting systems for the SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprise) and supports them.

1. Prior art search system

Prior art search system is the system that research businesses search prior arts for free and provide information for making a decision whethr a request for examination should be filed with an SME or an individual (including their agents by request from such SME or individual).

Generally, for undergoing an examination by an examiner, about 200,000 yen for examination request fee is regnired. SMEs or individuals can cut down cost by withholding request for examination (giving up a patent right), depending on a result of a report of survey.

In addition, SMEs for which this system is available are companies which fulfill a prescribed criterion of number of employees or amount of capital lete and is out of dominance by a large company.

2. Fee reduction system

In a case of fulfilling requirements such as a corporation of modest means or a R&D typed SME, examination request fee or patent fee may be reduced.

For example, a corporation of modest means is a corporation which fulfills a it of the following requirements.
(1) The invention is an employee's invention;
(2) The employer, etc., who is predetermined as a successor of an employee’s invention;
(3) The Capital is equal to or less than up to 300,000,000 yen;
(4) Corporation tax is not imposed; and
(5) The Capital is out of dominance by another corporation.

3. Support at the accelerated examination system

Accelerated examination system is the system of conducting examination earlier than usual in response to the request by applicants with the document of “The explanation of circumstances concerning accelerated examination”, under the certain requirements. The accelerated examination system itself has been available for large companies and SMEs by fulfilling the certain requirements (for example, conducting prior art search). Recent years, for providing more convenience, prior art search is diminishd in a case of application by SMEs.