Types of protection

Invention: This type of protection covers products or methods of a high level of creative technology; items possessing a longer life cycle than a new utility model; hardware and related computer programs; and plants, animals, and microorganisms. The patent term is 20 years from the date the application was filed.

Utility Model: Utility Models have a short life cycle, the possibility for an early implementation and a creative idea. They must relate to a product's shape, structure and other technological aspects. Utility models are not subject to the same strict examinations as patents. The term for utility models is 10 years from the date of filing.

Design: The design is the shape, pattern, color, and other design characteristics of an item relating to its external appearance. The term for this type of patent is 20 years from the date of registration of the rights.1

Convention and treaty membership

Japan became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in January 1978 and is also a signatory of numerous treaties and conventions including, but not limited to the following:

  • Paris Convention
  • Budapest Treaty
  • World Intellectual Property Organization
  • International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants2

International, National and Regional applications

For information regarding how to file international, regional or national patent applications in each country, we welcome you to contact us.


1 https://www.jpo.go.jp/cgi/linke.cgi?url=/seido_e/s_gaiyou_e/4houe.htm

2 https://www.wipo.int/about-wipo/en/offices/japan/