Recent development in Japanese patent case law; the doctrine of equivalents and the Supreme Court judgment in the Maxacalcitol case

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In my previous post, I wrote about an IP High Court judgment (the Maxacalcitol case) regarding doctrine of equivalents in patent infringements in Japan. The defendants appealed against the IP High Court judgment and the Supreme Court handed down the final judgment on 24th March, 2017.  Continue reading “Recent development in Japanese patent case law; the doctrine of equivalents and the Supreme Court judgment in the Maxacalcitol case”

The scope of patent with an extended term became clearer with three concrete standards provided by the IP High Court in Japan

A patent term may be extended if there is a period during which a patented invention is unable to be worked until a marketing authorization has been granted (For further information, see here). However, there was, until recently, no case law in Japan on the interpretation of the scope of patent with an extended term, and high uncertainty as to patent infringement by generic drugs was a big issue in the pharmaceutical industry. On 20th January, 2017, the IP High Court’s judgment (grand panel) was handed down, answering this issue by establishing three concrete standards. This judgment attracts great attention of generic companies and will boost their marketing of generic drugs because these standards contributed to clear away the uncertainty of patent infringement.

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Recent developments on the admissibility of patent term extension in Japan

Drugs are not allowed to be marketed without a marketing authorization. Taking into account the investment on R&D for a new drug and the necessity to recoup such investment, the patent term may be extended by a period not exceeding 5 years if there is a period during which the patented invention cannot be worked. Later in this post, I will discuss the judgment of the Japanese Supreme Court in 2015, which caused the guidelines on patent term extension to be significantly amended.

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The death of book scanning services in Japan

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The IP High Court in Japan has considered book scanning services to amount to copyright infringement. The judgment became final in March this year because the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by the service provider. On 30th November, the police in Kyoto arrested a book scanning service provider, who scanned popular Japanese manga comics in response to its clients’ request. This is the first criminal case and could largely affect similar businesses in Japan. In this posting, I would like to briefly explain the reasoning of the IP High Court.

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The Maxacalcitol case in Japan; broader protection for a “significant” invention under the doctrine of equivalence?

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In Japan, a very important judgment concerning the doctrine of equivalents has recently been handed down; i.e., the Maxacalcitol judgment by the IP High Court. Although the judgment was appealed and is currently pending at the Supreme Court, it is likely that the judgment of the IP High Court will be upheld. If the judgment becomes final, it would be much easier for a “significant” invention to be protected under the doctrine of equivalents.

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