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Posts in Japan

IFI CLAIMS Rankings Show Increasing Role of Chinese Entities in U.S., Global Patent Ownership

Today, patent data analytics firm IFI CLAIMS released its annual report of the top U.S. patent recipients and active patent family owners, providing the IP world with a look at the patent ownership landscape that developed throughout the course of 2021. For yet another year, information technology R&D giant International Business Machines (IBM) earned the top spot among entities obtaining patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), while South Korean tech conglomerate Samsung Electronics enjoys the largest portfolio of global active patent families.

Amicus Curiae Practice is Set to Make Its Statutory Debut in Japan

In the United States and other countries, there is a growing awareness and increasing appreciation of the purpose and value of amicus curiae practice as an aid in adjudicative decision-making. The role of an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in support of a party, or in support of no party, is to supply, voluntarily, the presiding court or other tribunal in cases of controversy with pertinent information, insights, or arguments in a formal, publicly accessible manner. Toward that end, a well-written amicus brief is one that is useful to the decision-maker(s) in calling attention to relevant or material factual or legal aspects of the issue(s) in contention – aspects that the decision-maker(s) or the party-litigants may not have been aware of or able to develop fully.

International IP Index 2021: United States Remains Second in Patent Rankings, Global IP Framework Holds Strong Amid Pandemic

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) released its ninth annual International IP Index yesterday, finding that the United States, Japan and Europe remained at the top of the global intellectual property rankings, while emerging markets like the United Arab Emirates, China and Mexico continued to improve their scores. Despite the pandemic, the overall global IP environment improved, and the report underscored the critical role that strong IP economies played in combating COVID-19. The report, titled “Recovery Through Ingenuity,” covers the IP framework in 53 global economies across 50 unique indicators. 32 of these 53 economies had positive improvements in their scores over the 2020 report.

EPO Patent Index 2020 Underscores Sharp Rise of China as Global Tech Giant

On March 16, the European Patent Office (EPO) released the Patent Index 2020, which gives the public a snapshot view of the filing activities going on at the EU’s patent granting agency during the past year. Total patent application filings declined only slightly during 2020 to just over 180,000 patent applications, a reduction of 0.7% compared to the EPO’s 2019 patent filing totals. Despite a 4.1% decrease in patent application filings at the EPO, the United States still held the top spot among individual countries with 44,293 EPO patent filings. Patent application filing totals also dropped in Germany (down 3% to 25,954 filings) and Japan (down 1.1% to 21,841). The United States, Germany and Japan were ranked first, second and third, respectively, in the EPO Patent Index 2020.

Deciding Where to Obtain International Patent Rights

Determining where to seek patent rights is an important and expensive decision. If you know you are going to want international patent protection, the best, most cost-effective course is to file directly in those countries. This direct filing strategy does not utilize the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), but instead leverages direct filings in countries of interest. For well established companies in mature markets, this can be an effective strategy. For immature markets, new companies, or even mature companies entering immature markets, it is difficult to know where patent protection will be necessary, which makes an international patent application filed pursuant to the PCT a highly effective strategy.

EPO/ IEA Study on Innovation in Batteries and Electricity Storage Aims to Identify Trends to Help Tackle Climate Crisis

On Tuesday, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a joint study titled “Innovation in batteries and electricity storage – a global analysis based on patent data.” The study revealed that patenting activity in batteries and other electricity storage technologies grew four times faster than the average for all technology fields over the past decade, but that “energy storage… is currently not on track to achieve the levels called for in the [IEA’s] Sustainable Development Scenario, both in terms of its deployment and its performance.”

Case Study: Recently Granted Epitope-Based Antibody Patents in the United States, Europe and Japan

Patents involving antibody medicines (antibody patents) are largely grouped into patents specified by antibody amino acid sequences (antibody sequence-based patents) and those not (non-sequence-based patents). Non-sequence-based patents have a broad scope and are thus very useful for protecting antibody medicines. Here, I investigate a recent trend in antibody patents characterized by an antibody-binding site in an antigen.

Latest IFI CLAIMS Report Shows U.S. Patent Grants Are Up 15% Over 2018

U.S. patent grants grew by 15% from 2018 to 2019, with IBM heading the pack for the 27th consecutive year, according to IFI CLAIMS Patent Services’ 2019 report. There were 333,530 U.S. patents granted last year, compared with 288,832 in 2018, which represented a 3.5% decline from 20I7. IFI said the growth could possibly be attributed to examiner clarity on patent eligibility following the USPTO’s guidance on Alice, as illustrated in IPWatchdog’s article by Kate Gaudry last year.

A Global Look at Post Grant Patent Maintenance Fees

A patent maintenance fee is an official fee that is payable at prescribed intervals to a national patent office over the lifecycle of a patent application or a granted patent, in order to keep the patent application or the granted patent in force in that particular jurisdiction. It is payable by an applicant or a patent owner (an assignee or a patentee, as the case may be). Patent maintenance fees are an integral part of the patenting process and may also be referred to as patent annuities, patent annuity fees, patent renewal fees, or patent annual fees. The failure to pay a patent maintenance fee could have serious and far-reaching consequences, including the patent application or the granted patent being treated as lapsed, withdrawn, or abandoned in that particular jurisdiction. In this article, we will delve into the patent maintenance fees in the jurisdictions in which the payment of said fees begins at the patent grant stage or patent issue stage, or are calculated from the date on which a patent is issued or granted.

Other Barks & Bites: USPTO Updates AIA Trial Practice Guide, VoIP-Pal Beats Four Apple IPR Petitions, and China is Top Filer of Blockchain Patents

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues an updated AIA Trial Practice Guide following SAS Institute v. Iancu; the AM-FM Act is introduced into Congress to update copyright law for terrestrial radio stations; VoIP-Pal.com defeats remaining IPRs challenging its patents at the institution phase; the Copyright Royalty Board announces cost of living adjustments in certain royalty rates; a Senate report shows that U.S. law enforcement didn’t adequately respond to Chinese IP theft for 20 years; China outpaces the rest of the world in terms of blockchain patent filing activities; and Apple joins Intel’s antitrust actions against Fortress Investment Group’s patent assertions.

WIPO Report—Innovation Is Increasingly Collaborative and International

Innovative activity is more collaborative and transnational, but also focused on a few large clusters in a few countries. These are among the findings in the latest World Intellectual Property Report, published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on November 12. The report focuses on the geography of innovation, using geocoding based on the addresses of inventors listed on patents and the locations of the authors of scientific articles and conference proceedings. The report found that, during the period 2015-2017, some 30 metropolitan hotspots accounted for more than two-thirds of all patents and nearly half of scientific activity. The top 10 hotspots worldwide are: San Francisco/San Jose, New York, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Boston, Shanghai, London, Beijing, Bengaluru and Paris. In the U.S., hotspots around New York, San Francisco and Boston accounted for about a quarter of all U.S. patents filed from 2011 to 2015.

WIPO Report Validates Fears About U.S. Patent Decline

Each year the World Intellectual Property Organization releases a report titled World Intellectual Property Indicators. The latest edition of the report, the 2019 version, is a look back on the filing statistics for 2018. The report is eye-opening and should be mandatory reading for policy makers and legislators in the United States. For the first time since 2009, the United States saw a decline in the number of patent applications filed. This remarkable statistic comes at a time when patent applications are growing in number across the rest of the world. And let’s not forget that 2009 was a time of particular economic crisis both in the United States and around the world due to the global financial crisis and Wall Street meltdown brought on by the housing market collapse.  

Navigating Bitcoin and Blockchain for Digital Businesses: Key Use Cases

Today, blockchain projects are proceeding in nearly every major industry and occur in more than 140 countries. According to blockchain IP landscape research by Perception Partners, over the past three years, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of patent families publishing in the United States, Europe, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), China, Japan and Korea is about 23%. The space has more than 13,000 global competitors of every size with nearly 23,000 inventors or authors disclosing or researching blockchain innovations. Much has been written about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, including a prior article in which we provided an overview on “The Bitcoin Network, Blockchain Technology and Altcoin Futures.”  To keep pace with the evolving nature of blockchain intellectual property and technology, below we provide some sample use cases of how blockchain innovations are already being leveraged in commerce and likely to be exploited in the near future.

Chief Points from Responses to Senator Hirono’s Questions to Section 101 Panelists

Yesterday, we ran a series of excerpts from responses to Senator Thom Tillis’ (R-NC) questions for the record to panelists following the June hearings on U.S. patent eligibility law, held by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. Along with Tillis and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) also posed several questions to the participants in the 101 hearings. Hirono’s questions overall demonstrate a good faith desire to get to the heart of the problems in search of real solutions.

Countering Cultural Appropriation Through Trademark Laws

Recent controversy surrounding Kim Kardashian’s truncated move to trademark the term “Kimono” for her new line of undergarment shapewear has subsided, with Kardashian formally announcing that she is abandoning the effort. Kardashian explained the mark as serving the dual purposes of being a play on her name and showing respect for the Japanese culture. In fact, Kimono is Japanese for a traditional long, baggy garment that has been worn by Japanese women for centuries. Kardashian’s effort caused an uproar among the Japanese community in Japan and here in the United States. The community accused Kardashian of trying to exploit a centuries-old Japanese tradition for commercial gain. The controversy prompted the mayor of Kyoto to write a letter to Kardashian, in which he noted the sensitivity of the Japanese people to her move and urged her to drop the effort. Although the immediate controversy has now subsided, Kardashian’s truncated effort has renewed debate around the larger issue of “cultural appropriation” and its intersection with trademark law.