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Q. Is it possible to speed up the patent application procedure in Japan?


Yes, there are three ways to do this.

  1. Fast-track examination via the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)
    This is a mechanism by which an application whose claims have been deemed as patentable by one country’s patent office (the Office of First Filing) is eligible for fast-track examination in another country’s patent office (the Office of Second Filing) via a simple request procedure initiated by the applicant.

  2. Accelerated examination
    This is a system by which the JPO speeds up the examination procedures in response to a request from the applicant. This system, which typically reduces the time from application to issuance of a JPO first Office Action from around 28 months to around 6 months, is applicable to:
    a. an application that was filed with both the JPO and at least one foreign IP Office;
    b. an application that was filed with a foreign IP Office as the first receiving office under the PCT and then filed as a national-phase application in Japan;
    c. an application that was filed with the JPO as a domestic application and also filed with a foreign receiving office under the PCT. It is not necessary for the filing at a foreign receiving office to precede or be simultaneous with the filing in Japan. Filing at a foreign receiving office under the PCT can be done after filing in Japan.

    A foreign application has a high possibility of being granted an accelerated examination. The applicant or its representative (e.g., patent attorney) must have either an address or domicile in Japan or have a representative, and the request must be submitted in Japanese. For more information in English about the accelerated-examination system, see the JPO’s webpage at

  3. Super-accelerated examination
    This is a system that results in less waiting time than the accelerated-examination system referred to above. The JPO does not charge any fee for processing a request or for supper-acceleration of the examination. However, the requirements for a super-accelerated-exam to be conducted are stricter than those for an accelerated examination, as follows:
    a. The request must be submitted after a request for substantive examination has been submitted, but before the examination has been conducted.
    b. The request must be a foreign application, and must be one whose invention (a) has already been commercialized in Japan, or (b) for which the applicant has a plan for commercialization in Japan within two years; and
    c. A request for a super-accelerated examination can be submitted only after four weeks have passed since the last of any and all non-online documents required to be submitted by the applicant have been received by the JPO, and since the last of any and all required documents needed to be sent from the JPO to the applicant have been sent.

    Usually the JPO will conduct the examination and issue a first Office Action within one month. If the requested patent is refused, the applicant must respond, if it wishes to do so, within the non-extendible deadline of two months. The JPO will normally issue a second Office Action, which usually will be a final decision, with one month.

    * For more information about the super-accelerated-examination system, see (Japan Patent Office Annual Report 2011 , Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 3 (2) [pp. 48–49]).


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