March 27, 2024


Patent Non-Disclosure System and Prohibition of Foreign Filing (First Filing Obligation)

Based on the Economic Security Promotion Act enacted on May 11, 2022, the JPO will introduce a Patent Non-Disclosure System (hereinafter the “System”) from May 1, 2024. Under this System, if a Japanese patent application includes an invention public disclosure of which is expected to pose a significant risk of undermining the security of the nation and its citizens, the Cabinet Office reviews the patent application (hereinafter the “security review”) and designates the invention to be kept non-disclosed (hereinafter the “security-designated invention”) under certain circumstances. In this case, a part of the patent prosecution procedures, such as patent application publication, shall be suspended, and the applicant is prohibited from implementing or disclosing the security-designated invention, in order to prevent information relating to it from leaking. The system applies to direct (non-PCT) Japanese patent applications, including those filed by non-Japanese applicants. In addition, a Prohibition of Foreign Filing (so-called First Filing Obligation) will also be introduced on the same date, under which inventions completed in Japan and subject to the security review, including those invented by non-Japanese residents, must be, in principle, filed in Japan first, before being filed in other countries or regions.