Patents—Japan—Q&A guide
Patents—Japan—Q&A guide

The following IP practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Patents—Japan—Q&A guide
  • 1. What legal or administrative proceedings are available for enforcing patent rights against an infringer? Are there specialised courts in which a patent infringement lawsuit can or must be brought?
  • 2. What is the format of a patent infringement trial?
  • 3. What are the burdens of proof for establishing infringement, invalidity and unenforceability of a patent?
  • 4. Who may sue for patent infringement? Under what conditions can an accused infringer bring a lawsuit to obtain a judicial ruling or declaration on the accusation?
  • 5. To what extent can someone be liable for inducing or contributing to patent infringement? Can multiple parties be jointly liable for infringement if each practises only some of the elements of a patent claim, but together they practise all the elements?
  • 6. Can multiple parties be joined as defendants in the same lawsuit? If so, what are the requirements? Must all of the defendants be accused of infringing all of the same patents?
  • 7. To what extent can activities that take place outside the jurisdiction support a charge of patent infringement?
  • 8. To what extent can ‘equivalents’ of the claimed subject matter be shown to infringe?
  • 9. What mechanisms are available for obtaining evidence from an opponent, from third parties or from outside the country for proving infringement, damages or invalidity?
  • More...

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to patents in Japan published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: March 2020).

Authors: Anderson Mōri & Tomotsune—Makoto Ono; Masayuki Yamanouchi

1. What legal or administrative proceedings are available for enforcing patent rights against an infringer? Are there specialised courts in which a patent infringement lawsuit can or must be brought?

There are two types of civil proceedings: the main lawsuit, by which a patentee may seek both a permanent injunction order and compensation for damages; and a proceeding for preliminary injunction, by which a patent owner may seek a preliminary injunction order. Which court has jurisdiction depends on the defendant’s domicile or place of manufacturing or sale. The Tokyo District Court has jurisdiction over the eastern part of Japan, and the Osaka District Court has jurisdiction over the western part of Japan. Both courts have specialised divisions dealing with cases relating to intellectual property. In addition to civil liability, the Patent Act has provisions on criminal sanctions for patent infringement; however, these provisions are rarely enforced. Moreover, a patentee can seek an injunction at a customs office against the importation of patent infringing products.

2. What is the format of a patent infringement trial?

The infringement proceeding begins with the filing of a complaint for a main lawsuit or petition for

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