Patents - Japanese Years - Guide To Patent Application Identification Number

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Annotations in relation with the Japanese Patents and Utility Models records

If you are about finding a Japanese patent, whether old or new, examined, unexamined or registered, you should know that there are some differences in patent numbering systems.
Also, an unusual feature of the Japanese patent system is that applications are not automatically examined. The applicant has seven years from the filing date to file a request for examination.

  • Unexamined Patent Applications (A)JP H05-nnnnnnA
  • Unexamined Utility Model Applications (U)JP H05-nnnnnnU
  • Granted Patents (B2)JP H06-nnnnnnB2
  • Granted Utility Models (Y)

A typical JPO unexamined patent issued in 1998 would have a number like this: H10123456A, where 'H' represents the emperor era Heisei, and the '10' header in the eight digit number represents the tenth year of the Heisei era.

Application number

The application number is the number assigned to the patent application by the Japanese patent office when it was first filed. The format for this number is consistent with the international patent databases, and is shown by the example, "85-188423 A", in which "85" is the Gregorian year, "188423" is the sequential number assigned to the application, and "A" designates that this is the initial application.

Publication Number (Kokai number)

The Kokai number is the number assigned to the patent application by the Japanese Patent Office when it was first laid open for public inspection. The format for this number is consistent with INPADOC and is shown by the example, "87-50381 A2", in which "87" is the Western calendar year, "50381" is the sequential publication number assigned by the Japanese Patent Office, and "A2" designates that this is the laid-open unexamined publication.

Examined Application Number (Kokoku number)

The Kokoku number is the number assigned to the patent application by the Japanese Patent Office when the examined application is published for opposition. The format for this number is consistent with INPADOC and is shown by the example, "93-30877 B4", in which "93" is the Gregorian year, "30877" is the sequential publication number assigned by the Japanese Patent Office, and "B4" designates that this is the laid-open unexamined publication.

NOTE: If you are quoted a seven digit Japanese patent number like JP1,900,123, then you cannot get order a copy of the text until you know the corresponding kokoku number.

New Japanese Patent Numbers From January 2000

From 1 January 2000 the Japanese Patent Office will use the four digit Gregorian year in their numbering systems rather than the two digit Imperial year.


The Modern Period, 1868-Era
Mutsuhito1866-1912Meiji
1868
Yoshihito1912-1926Taihô
Hirohito1926-1989Shôwa
Akihito1989-Heisei
Naruhitoheir

Year: The Japanese Year:


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