There has been some guessing among patent commentators that the Japan Patent Office (JPO) will make it easier for small venture businesses to put their patent applications on the "Super Accelerated Examination" (Super souki shinsa) track, making First Action pendency less than two months for foreign applications brought into Japan (and final decision within six months, according to the JPO's English explanation which is dated). On May 27, Yahoo! Japan posted a news article with conjectures (now the article is not available) about this, with the title "Ventures' patent [application] requirements for 'Super Acceleration' to be lightened." However, the article later became unavailable, and we await the JPO's official announcement. In some form, an easier process for small-sized businesses or venture companies' use of the Super Accelerated Examination track appears to be in the works.
The requirements for a Super Accelerated Examination now are that it (1) be a working invention (being used in actual business) and (2) be filed internationally as well as in Japan, and on an administrative level (3) be post-Request for Examination, pre-examination, and have all procedures filed with the JPO in the previous four weeks be done online (JPO Q&A). The procedure requires explanation of corresponding applications' search results and other data, but has no official fee.
Though the conjectures of late May have been unclear, an article back in February from the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun suggested that the loosening of restrictions would be to allow a working invention without a foreign corresponding application. This would not make much difference for foreign venture applicants, so if this is the change the result may be negligible to overseas applicants. Rather, the move by the JPO (if as hinted) may be to give small-sized Japanese companies a competitive edge in getting fast results domestically for new technologies.
For now, the conjectures seem to be only conjectures, but it is good to know at least that such a fast track as the Super Accelerated Examination is available to applicants with urgent, valuable inventions waiting for approval in Japan.
Japan Patent Office. Q&A on the Super Accelerated Examination system, updated April 16, 2018.
________. "Outline of super Accelerated Examination," undated.
Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, "特許庁、ＶＢ特許取得を支援 スーパー早期審査で要件緩和 [JPO supporting VB patent acquisition: easing requirements for super accelerated examinations]," February 14, 2018.
Yahoo! Japan. Unavailable article, "ベンチャー特許「スーパー早期」に...要件緩和へ," May 27, 2018.
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