Revised Patent Examination Fee Reduction/Exemption Program

April 2024
Practice Area

The JPO announced that a limit has been set on the number of cases for which an applicant can apply for the examination fee reduction/exemption system. The revised program has been applied to cases for which a request for patent examination was filed on or after April 1, 2024.

Under the revision, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to apply for the program for up to 180 cases per fiscal year (from April 1 of a given year to March 31 of the following year).

If an SME applies for this program, the fee will be reduced to less than half of the initial cost. However, in recent years, there has been a problem in that some companies have abused the system in order to reduce or waive the fee for requesting an examination in a manner that is not consistent with the original purpose of the system. Accordingly, the “Act for Partial Revision of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, etc.” stipulates a limit on the number of cases.

This limit does not apply to small-sized companies, small and medium-sized startups, universities, and research institutions, etc.
The following are counted as eligible for the program:

  • Applications for which request for the fee reduction/exemption program is made when requesting patent examination at the JPO
  • Patent applications for which reduction or exemption of examination fees has been allowed when the number of claims has been increased by amendments, etc. (including those at the trial stage) where such amendment is a procedural amendment or a correction of mistranslation.

The number of exemptions is counted as one for each eligible patent application. The number of cases counted for a given fiscal year of an individual application for exemption is based on the fiscal year to which the date of the application for exemption belongs.


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