1. Meet our members

An interview with Osamu William Yanaka, Technical Translator

After experiencing the consulting, localization and ISO industries, Osamu William Yanaka joined the firm in November 2013.

Q1 : What brought you to Sonoda & Kobayashi?

I used to be in the localization industry managing localization (translation) projects of user's manuals. Sometimes I had to handle about 20 languages at a time. As I worked very closely with technical writers, I started to study English technical writing myself. After acquiring basic skills of technical writing, I gained the desire to advance further into technical writing and technical translation. That is how I was lead to apply to Sonoda & Kobayashi.

Q2: What do you enjoy about working at here? I enjoy working with my colleagues who are highly skilled professionals, and holding study

groups with them. It is also very exciting to be able to work on the most advanced technology of the time.

Q3: Tell us one thing about yourself many people do not know?

I used to be in a punk rock band in my junior high school days.

Q4: What is your most memorable moment here?

We had a wonderful party for our 20th anniversary, with all our staff gathered together. It was so nice to listen to Sonoda-san and our members when they gave their speeches. A member of the translation group designed a wonderful logo for the 20th anniversary and received a prize for it. We even had a famous magician perform a magic show. It was such a great time.

Q5: Pick a Japanese word to describe the office and explain why.


Literal translation of this phrase would be, "high expertise and free and open atmosphere". Sorry, this is not one word, but I think it describes our _rm very well.

Q6: What is your favorite music to concentrate while working?

I like to listen to country, gospel, blues, and Jazz. American roots music makes me relax and concentrate.


1. JPO releases updated Examination Handbook for Patent and Utility Model

The JPO announced in late September the release of an English translation of the updated Examination Handbook for Patent and Utility Model ("Examination Handbook"). The Examination Handbook serves as an important resource for practitioners in Japan, providing detailed guidance on a variety of topics in connection with the examination process.

For example, applicants may find the detailed, concrete examples regarding various issues with respect to patentability to be useful (listed on page 113).

Specific information on this topic can be found here:
https://www.jpo.go.jp/e/system/laws/rule/guideline/patent/handbook_shinsa/document/index/all_e.pdf (English)

2. For the first time, the JPO grants a Design Patent for an Image

Advances in sensor and projection technology have made it possible for devices to operate, and for the function of devices to be demonstrated, through the projection of images. As the usefulness of a product may largely be determined by its image projection function, it has been decided that an exclusive right should be available for the design of an image in order to stimulate innovation and strengthen the competitiveness of industry. Accordingly, the Design Law was amended in 2019, and since April 2020, images could be protected through design patents.

On November 9, 2020, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced the first recordation of a design patent for an image. The applicant, Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd., obtained design patent 1,672,383 for images displaying vehicle information projected by a vehicle.

Specific information on this topic can be found here:
https://www.meti.go.jp/press/2020/11/20201109002/20201109002.html (Japanese)

3. JPO filing fees calculator for PCT applications where Japan is the receiving office has been updated

Starting October 1, 2020, the JPO increased official fees for PCT applications where Japan is the receiving office. The online calculator for filing fees has been updated to reflect the new fee structure.

Specific information on this topic can be found here:
https://www.jpo.go.jp/system/process/tesuryo/jidou-keisan/kokusai.html (Japanese)

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