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Japan to speed up patent examination by adding staff, outsourcing+
[December 22, 2005]

Japan to speed up patent examination by adding staff, outsourcing+

(Japan Economic Newswire)TOKYO, Dec. 22_(Kyodo) _ Japan will speed up patent examination by increasing the number of examiners, promoting outsourcing and urging industry to be more selective in filing application cases, the Japan Patent Office said Thursday.

The number of patent applications in Japan awaiting examination is expected to surpass 800,000 by March next year. The patent application period has been shortened by law and patent filings have increased as a result.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which has the patent office under its wing, launched a headquarters to expedite the screening process.

The patent office is scheduled to recruit 150 new officers with the goal of raising the number of examined patent applications from 240,000 in the current fiscal year to 290,000 in the next business year starting in April.

Of the 150, 98 will be patent examiners who will be hired for 10 years.

The patent office will also accelerate outsourcing in the examination process by having private-sector companies conduct technology surveys necessary for patent examination.

It will also ask industry to limit the number of patent applications and only file for patents that could be globally competitive.

The office will also update its computer systems to expedite the screening of patent applications filed online.

The waiting period before the start of patent examination stood at 26 months on average in 2004. The government aims to shorten the period to 11 months by 2013.

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