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The JPO Has Announced Changes to Rules Surrounding Fee Redcution, as of April 1, 2019, for Various Small Entities

April 1, 2019

Based on the amendment to Japanese Patent Law, Article 109, as of April 1, 2019, the range of targeted small entities for reduction will be expanded.  Further, the procedure for filing a reduction application will be simplified; there will be no need to file an application document or a certificate to show that the corporation is qualified for the reduction with the JPO.

To qualify for the reduction, an applicant must meet one of the following requirements:

 

<Small-scale sole proprietor or small corporation>

1) A small-scale sole proprietor (up to 20 employees, up to 5 employees for trade or service business)

2) A small-scale sole proprietor who started his/her business within 10 years

3) A small corporation (up to 20 employees, up to 5 employees for trade or service business).  Further, it is necessary to meet the following requirements both A and B:
A: One large corporation (a corporation other than small and medium-sized enterprises) does NOT have 1/2 or more of shares or the total amount of investment.
B: Multiple large corporations (corporations other than small and medium-sized enterprises) do NOT have 2/3 or more of the shares or the total amount of the investment.

4) A corporation within 10 years after its establishment, and the capital of the corporation is less than three hundred million yen (approximately 3 million US dollars).  Further, it is necessary to meet the following requirements both A and B:
A: One large corporation (whose capital amount or investment total is more than three hundred million yen) does NOT have 1/2 or more of shares or the total amount of investment.
B: Multiple large corporations (whose capital amount or investment total is more than three hundred million yen) do NOT have 2/3 or more of shares or the total amount of investment.

Official Fees Reduction for the above items 1-4:
    Request for examination:  Reduced to 1/3 of normal fee
    Annuities (1st to 10th):    Reduced to 1/3 of normal fee

 

<Small business (corporation)>

A)* Manufacturing, construction, transportation and other industries (excluding industries (B) to (G) listed below. 
  Up to 300 employees, OR the capital of the corporation is less than three hundred million yen
B)* Wholesale trade   Up to 100 employees, OR 100 million yen or less
C)* Service industry (excluding industries (F) and (G) 
  Up to 100 employees, OR 50 million yen or less
D)* Retail trade  Up to 50 employees, OR 50 million yen or less
E)* Rubber product manufacturing industry (excluding automobile or aircraft tire and tube manufacturing industry and industrial belt manufacturing industry)
  Up to 900 employees, OR 300 million yen or less
F)* Software industry or information processing service industry
  Up to 300 employees, OR 300 million yen or less
G)* Hotel/Inn industry  Up to 200 employees, OR 50 million yen or less

 

*A-G:  It is necessary to meet the following requirements both A and B:
A: One large corporation (a corporation other than small and medium-sized enterprises) does NOT have 1/2 or more of shares or the total amount of investment.
B: Multiple large corporations (a corporation other than small and medium-sized enterprises) do NOT have 2/3 or more of the shares or the total amount of the investment.

Official Fees Reduction for the above items A-G:
     Request for examination:  Reduced to 1/2 of normal fee
     Annuities (1st to 10th):     Reduced to 1/2 of normal fee

There are other categories besides the above.  The following is a list of the detailed categories that qualify for the reduction and the definitions:

  1. Small and medium-sized venture company (corporate/individual business owner)
  2. Small-scale company (corporation/individual business owner)
  3. Small and medium-sized enterprises (Corporation)
  4. Small and medium-sized enterprises (Sole proprietorship)
  5. Small and medium-sized enterprises (Union)
  6. Small and medium-sized enterprises (NPO Corporation)
  7. Research and development type small and medium enterprises (corporation/individual business owner/Union/NPO corporation)
  8. Small and medium-sized enterprise (corporation) applied corporate tax exemption
  9. Individual (exempt from paying municipal inhabitant tax etc.)
  10. Academic discount (researchers at universities, universities, etc.)
  11. Public Research and Development Institute

 

Target of Reduction Requirements Reduction
1. Small and medium-sized venture company (corporate/individual business owner)

(1) A private business owner
・A corporation within 10 years after its establishment

(2) A corporation (to meet the following two requirements)

・A corporation whose capital amount or investment total is less than 300 million yen (approximately 3 million US dollars) and in less than 10 years after its establishment.

・Must not be dominated by large corporations (capital amount or corporate entity whose total investment is less than 300 million yen) means meeting the following requirements both (A) and (B):

(A) A single large corporation (a corporation other than a corporation with a capital amount or total investment of 300 million yen or less) does not have 1/2 or more of the total number of shares or total investment.

(B) Multiple large corporations (capital amount or a corporation with a total capital investment of 300 million yen or less) do not have 2/3 or more of the total number of shares or total investment.

Regarding a corporation without capital or investment, the amount equivalent to 60/100 of the total amount of assets recorded on the balance sheet at the end of the previous fiscal year, in which the total liabilities have been deducted (if the amount of profit relating to the relevant business year is indicated in the balance sheet, the amount is considered as deducted amount. If the amount of loss relating to the relevant business year is indicated in the balance sheet, that amount shall be added.), must be less than 300 million yen.

 

Categories

<Patent>
Request for examination fee: Reduce to 1/3 of normal fee
Annuities (1st to 10th year): Reduce to 1/3 of normal fee
2. Small-scale company (corporation/individual business owner)

(1) A private business owner
・A small-scale sole proprietor who employs 20 or fewer employees who are continuously employed (5 or fewer employees for those who engage in businesses belonging to the trade or service industry as the main business).

(2) A corporation (to meet the following two requirements)

・A corporation that has 20 or fewer employees who are continuously employed* (5 or fewer employees for those who engages in businesses belonging to the trade or service industry as the main business).

・Must not be dominated by large corporations (i.e., other than small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)) means meeting the following requirements both (A) and (B) (“Small and medium-sized enterprises” belong to this ("small business operator" in Article 10 of the Enforcement Order of the Patent Act)):

(A) A single large corporation (other than small and medium-sized enterprise) does NOT have 1/2 or more of shares or the total amount of investment.

(B) Multiple large corporations (corporations other than small and medium-sized enterprises) do NOT have 2/3 or more of the shares or the total amount of the investment.

 

* "Employees who are continuously employed" means "person who must be notified prior to dismissal" in accordance with Article 20 of Labor Standards Law. That is, when a worker is employed based on the same basis as a regular employee, the worker should be considered as an employee. On the other hand, regarding corporate officers and individual business owners who do not fall under "person who must be notified prior to dismissal", they are not considered as employees who are continuously employed. Regarding part-time workers, they are individually determined based on Article 20 of the Labor Standards Act. The following are examples of part-time "employees":

(Example)
• Employees who are employed on a day by day basis (part-time job etc.) are not normally considered as employees.
(Note) If the person is employed more than one month, such case will be considered as an employee who is continuously employed.
• Those who are employed within two months are not normally considered as employees. (Note) If the person will continue being employed more than the specified time period, such a case will be considered as an employee who is continuously employed.
• Those who are employed for a seasonal business for a certain time period, not exceeding four months, are not normally considered as employees.
(Note) If the person will continue being employed more than the specified time period, such a case will be considered as an employee who is continuously employed."

 

Categories

<Patent>
Request for examination fee: Reduce to 1/3 of normal fee
Annuities (1st to 10th year): Reduce to 1/3 of normal fee
3. Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) (Corporation)

A corporation that falls under both (A) and (B):
(1) A corporation that meets either of the following "number of employees" or "capital amount or total investment"
(2) A corporation NOT being dominated by large companies (corporations other than SME)*

  Industry Number of Employees (employed continuously) Capital Amount
or Total Investment
a* Manufacturing, construction, transportation and other industries (excluding industries listed below (b) to (g)) Up to 300 OR 300 million yen or less
b* Wholesale trade Up to 100 OR 100 million yen or less
c* Service industry (excluding industries listed (f) and (g)) Up to 100 OR 50 million yen or less
d* Retail trade Up to 50 OR 50 million yen or less
e* Rubber product manufacturing industry (excluding automobile or aircraft tire and tube manufacturing industry and industrial belt manufacturing industry) Up to 900 OR 300 million yen or less
f* Software industry or information processing service industry Up to 300 OR 300 million yen or less
g* Hotel/Inn industry Up to 200 OR 50 million yen or less

 

*NOT being dominated by large companies” means meeting the following requirements both (A) and (B) (small and medium-sized enterprises belong to this ("small business operator" in Article 10 of the Enforcement Order of the Patent Act)):

(A) A single large corporation (a corporation other than a corporation with a capital amount or total investment of 300 million yen or less) does NOT have 1/2 or more of the total number of shares or total investment.
(B) Multiple large corporations (corporations other than small and medium-sized enterprises) do NOT have 2/3 or more of the shares or the total amount of the investment.

 

*"Employees who are continuously employed" means "person who must be notified prior to dismissal" in accordance with Article 20 of Labor Standards Law. That is, when a worker is employed based on the same basis as a regular employee, the worker should be considered as an employee. On the other hand, regarding corporate officers and individual business owners who do not fall under "person who must be notified prior to dismissal", they are not considered as employees who are continuously employed. Regarding part-time workers, they are individually determined based on Article 20 of the Labor Standards Act. The following are examples of part-time "employees":

(Example)
• Employees who are employed on a day-by-day basis (part-time job etc.) are not normally considered as employees.
(Note) If the person is employed more than one month, such case will be considered as an employee who is continuously employed.
• Those who are employed within two months are not normally considered as employees. (Note) If the person will continue being employed more than the specified time period, such a case will be considered as an employee who is continuously employed.
• Those who are employed for a seasonal business for a certain time period, not exceeding four months, are not normally considered as employees.
(Note) If the person will continue being employed more than the specified time period, such a case will be considered as an employee who is continuously employed."

 

Categories

<Patent>
Request for examination fee: Reduce to 1/2 of normal fee
Annuities (1st to 10th year): Reduce to 1/2 of normal fee
4. Small and medium-sized enterprise (Sole proprietorship) 

Sole proprietor who meets "number of employee employed continuously" requirements below.

  Industry Number of Employees (employed continuously)
a Manufacturing, construction, transportation and other industries (excluding industries listed below (b) to (g)) Up to 300
b Wholesale trade Up to 100
c Service industry (excluding industries listed (f) and (g)) Up to 100
d Retail trade Up to 50
e Rubber product manufacturing industry (excluding automobile or aircraft tire and tube manufacturing industry and industrial belt manufacturing industry) Up to 900
f Software industry or information processing service industry Up to 300
g Hotel/Inn industry Up to 200

 

Categories

5. Small and medium-sized enterprise (Union)

A union that meets the following requirements both A and B (excluding (B) if there is no capital or investment):
(A)To be a union, union association, central union falling under any of the following type (a)-(j) in the table below:
(B)Must NOT be dominated by large corporations (corporations other than SMEs).

Union
a Corporate Union
b Cooperative Association
c Business Cooperative Union
Business Cooperative Small Union
Cooperative Association
d Agricultural Cooperative Union
Agricultural Cooperative Association
e Fishing cooperative Union
Fisheries Cooperative Association
Marine Processing Cooperative Union
Marine Processing Industry Cooperative Association
f Forestry Union
Forestry Union Association
g Commerce and industry Union
Commerce and Industry Association
h Shopping District Promotion Union
Shopping District Promotion Union Association
i Consumer Co-op
Consumer Co-op Association
j

Sake brewery union, Sake brewery union association, or Sake brewery central union. Further, the amount of its capital or the total amount of investment of two-thirds or more of liquor manufacturers who are direct or indirect members of the foresaid unions is 300 million yen or less.

Sake brewery union, Sake brewery union association, or Sake brewery central union. Further, two-thirds or more of liquor manufacturers who are direct or indirect members of the foresaid unions employ 300 or fewer employees continuously.

Sake brewery union, Sake brewery union association, or Sake brewery central union. Further, the amount of its capital or the total amount of investment of two-thirds or more of liquor dealers who are direct or indirect members of the foresaid unions is 50 million yen or less (100 million yen or less for liquor wholesalers).

Sake brewery union, Sake brewery union association, or Sake brewery central union. Further, two-thirds or more of liquor dealers who are direct or indirect members of the foresaid unions employ 50 people or fewer employees continuously (100 people or fewer for liquor wholesalers).

 

Foreign applicants/patentees must satisfy the following both (1) and (2) in addition to the above-requirements (A) and (B).

(1) Unions which are intended to promote the common interests of members and which also have a purpose equivalent to the purpose described in Article 10 (1)*of the Patent Law Enforcement Ordinance, and such provisions are written in the establishment ground law of the corporation and/or the articles of incorporation of the corporation
(2) Having a business form of corporation

*Unions described in Article 10 (1) of the Patent Law Enforcement Ordinance correspond to unions (a)-(j) listed in the above-table.

 

Categories

6. Small and medium-sized enterprises (NPO Corporation)

An NPO corporation that meets the following requirements both A and B (excluding (B) if there is no capital or investment):
(1) An NPO corporation that satisfies the following "number of employees"
(2) Must NOT be dominated by large corporations (corporations other than SMEs)*

Industry Number of Employees (employed continuously)*
Industries other than the following industries (retail, wholesale and service industries) Up to 300
Retail trade Up to 50
Wholesale or service industry Up to 100

 

*”NOT being dominated by large corporations” means meeting the following requirements both (A) and (B) (small and medium-sized enterprises belong to this ("small business operator" in Article 10 of the Enforcement Order of the Patent Act)):

(A) A single large corporation (a corporation other than a corporation with a capital amount or total investment of 300 million yen or less) does not have 1/2 or more of the total number of shares or total investment.
(B) Multiple large corporations (corporations other than small and medium-sized enterprises) do NOT have 2/3 or more of the shares or the total amount of the investment.

 

*"Employees who are continuously employed" means "person who must be notified prior to dismissal" in accordance with Article 20 of Labor Standards Law. That is, when a worker is employed based on the same basis as a regular employee, the worker should be considered as an employee. On the other hand, regarding corporate officers and individual business owners who do not fall under "person who must be notified prior to dismissal", they are not considered as employees who are continuously employed. Regarding part-time workers, they are individually determined based on Article 20 of the Labor Standards Act. The following are examples of part-time "employees":

(Example)
• Employees who are employed on a day-by-day basis (part-time job etc.) are not normally considered as employees.
(Note) If the person is employed more than one month, such case will be considered as an employee who is continuously employed.
• Those who are employed within two months are not normally considered as employees. (Note) If the person will continue being employed more than the specified time period, such a case will be considered as an employee who is continuously employed.
• Those who are employed for a seasonal business for a certain time period, not exceeding four months, are not normally considered as employees.
(Note) If the person will continue being employed more than the specified time period, such a case will be considered as an employee who is continuously employed."

Foreign applicants/patentees must satisfy the following both (1) and (2) in addition to the above-requirements (A) and (B).

(1) The purpose of the NPO is not to aim for profit and to contribute to the promotion of the benefits of unspecified and many things, and the NPO carries on an activity that falls under any of the activities listed in the specific nonprofit activity promotion law, Article 2, Appendix Table, and such provisions are written in the establishment ground law of the corporation and the articles of incorporation of the corporation.
(2) Having a business form of corporation


Categories

7. Research and development type small and medium enterprises (corporations/individual business owner/union/NPO corporation)

1) In the case of a private business owner, it is necessary to meet the following requirements both (A) and (B):
(A) A sole proprietor who meets the following "number of employees."
(B) Must meet the research and development requirements listed below.*

Industry

Number of Employees (employed contineously)
a Manufacturing, construction, transportation and other industries (excluding industries listed below (b) to (g)) Up to 300
b Wholesale trade Up to 100
c Manufacturing, construction, transportation and other industries (excluding industries listed below (b) to (g)) Up to 100
d Retail trade Up to 50
e Rubber product manufacturing industry (excluding automobile or aircraft tire and tube manufacturing industry and industrial belt manufacturing industry) Up to 900
f Software industry or information processing service industry Up to 300
g Hotel/Inn industory Up to 200

 

2) In the case of a corporation (to fall under any of the following), it is necessary to meet the following requirements both A and B:
(A) A corporation that meets either of the following "number of employees" or "capital requirement"
(B) Must meet the research and development requirements listed below.*

Industry

Number of Employees (employed contineously) Capital Amount
or Total Investment
a* Manufacturing, construction, transportation and other industries (excluding industries listed below (b) to (g)) Up to 300 OR 300 million yen or less
b* Wholesale trade Up to 100 OR 100 million yen or less
c* Service industry (excluding industries listed (f) and (g)) Up to 100 OR 50 million yen or less
d* Retail trade Up to 50 OR 50 million yen or less
e* Rubber product manufacturing industry (excluding automobile or aircraft tire and tube manufacturing industry and industrial belt manufacturing industry) Up to 900 OR 300 million yen or less
f* Software industry or information processing service industry Up to 300 OR 300 million yen or less
g* Hotel/Inn industory Up to 200 OR 50 million yen or less

 

3) In case of union or NPO corporation, see "Small and medium-sized enterprises (Union)" or "Small and medium-sized enterprises (NPO Corporation)".

 

*Research and Development Requirements:
(1) A private business owner
Must meet one of (a), (c) - (f) of the following R & D Requirements.

(2) A corporation/association/NPO corporation
Must meet one of (b) - (f) of the following R & D Requirements.

(3) R & D requirements
(a) In the year prior to the year of which the date of the reduction application (in one year of two years before of the date of the reduction application, if the month of the reduction application is between January and March), the ratio of examination research expenses (the ratio of total research and research expenses and development expenses in one year to the total income of the business income) exceeds 3%. (However, in the case where it is not possible to calculate the test research and research expenses ratio out of those that have not passed since the date of starting the project on the day of application for reduction, the number of full-time researchers is two or more, also, the number of researchers relative to the total number of employers and employees is 10% or more.)

(b) In the previous business year of the business year to which the day of reduction application is applied (if the application day of reduction application is within two months after the previous business year, the previous business year), the ratio of research and research expenses exceeds 3% (the ratio of the total amount of research and development expenses and development expenses in the 1st fiscal year to the income amount (the amount deducted the total revenue amount of income from transfer of fixed assets or securities from the amount of the total income.). (However, if it is not possible to calculate the research and research expenses ratio out of those that have not passed 26 months since its establishment on the date of application of reduction, the number of full-time researchers is two or more, and also the ratio of the number of researchers to the total number of full-time officers and employees is 10% or more.)

(c) In the case where the patented invention or invention pertains to the result of the research and development project relating to the new technology to which the specified subsidy prescribed in Article 2 (15) of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Etc. Management Enhancement Act is issued (limited to those filed within two years from the date of termination of the project), those who received the related specific subsidies etc.

(d) The patent invention or invention pertains to the results of business innovation conducted pursuant to the approved management reform plan (limited to those pertaining to research and development concerning technology) prescribed in Article 9 (2) of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Etc. Management Enhancement Act. (limited to those filed within two years counting from the date of termination of the approved management reform plan). Or, who is engaged in business for the management innovation in cases where it pertains to the right to obtain a patent right or a patent succeeded pursuant to the approved management reform plan as necessary to implement the result.

(e) The patented invention or invention is carried out according to Article 11 (3) of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Etc. Management Enhancement Act. Different Fields Collaboration Different Fields Collaboration According to New Business Field Development Plans Business (limited to those related to R & D related to technology) related to new business field development (limited to those filed within two years from the date of termination of the accredited cross-disciplinary new business field development plan). Or, in connection with the right to obtain a patent right or patent inherited pursuant to the accredited cross-disciplinary new business field development plan as necessary for implementing the result, those who engaged in business related to the development of new business fields in the different field cooperation.

(f) The patented invention or invention pertaining to the outcome of specific research and development etc. conducted in accordance with the accreditation plan prescribed in Article 5 (2) of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Etc. Management Enhancement Act (limited to those filed within two years counting from the date of termination of the accreditation plan). Or, in connection with the right to obtain a patent right or a patent acquired pursuant to the accreditation plan as being necessary for implementing the result, those who conducts the specified research and development etc.

 

Categories

<Patent>
Request for examination fee: Reduce to 1/2 of normal fee
Annuities (1st to 10th year): Reduce to 1/2 of normal fee
8. Small and medium-sized enterprise (corporation) applied corporate tax exemption

A corporation that falls under all of the following (1), (2), and (3)
(1) A corporation with a capital amount or total investment of 300 million yen or less
(2) Income tax not imposed
(3) Not being dominated by another corporation *

*NOT being dominated by another corporation” means meeting the following requirements both (A) and (B):

(A) A single large corporation (a corporation other than a corporation with a capital amount or total investment of 300 million yen or less) does not have 1/2 or more of the total number of shares or total investment.
(B) Multiple large corporations (corporations other than small and medium-sized enterprises) do NOT have 2/3 or more of the shares or the total amount of the investment.

Regarding a corporation without capital or investment, the amount equivalent to 60/100 of the total amount of assets recorded on the balance sheet at the end of the previous fiscal year, in which the total liabilities have been deducted (if the amount of profit relating to the relevant business year is indicated in the balance sheet, the amount is considered as deducted amount. If the amount of loss relating to the relevant business year is indicated in the balance sheet, that amount shall be added.), must be less than 300 million yen.

For a corporation without capital or investment, the amount equivalent to 60/100 of the total amount of assets recorded on the balance sheet at the end of the previous fiscal year that the total liabilities have been deducted must be 300 million yen or less. (If the amount of profit pertaining to the relevant business year is recorded in the balance sheet, the amount is deducted from the amount, and if the amount of loss relating to the relevant business year has been recorded, that amount shall be added.)


Categories

<Patent>
Request for examination fee:
Reduce to 1/2 of normal fee
Annuities (1st to 10th year):
Reduce to 1/2 of normal fee
9. Individual (municipal inhabitant's tax exemptor etc.)

1. Municipal inhabitant's tax exemptor,
2. Income tax exempt, or
3. Individual employer who is tax exemptor from business tax.

See below chart for details.

<Patent>
Request for examination fee:
Exemption or Reduce to 1/2
Annuities (1st to 3rd year):
Exemption or Reduce to 1/2
Annuities (4th to 10th year):
Reduce to 1/2

<Utility model>
Utility model technology evaluation request fee: Exemption or Reduce to 1/2
Registration fee (1st to 3rd year annuities):
Exemption or three years grace

10. Academic discount (researchers at universities, universities, etc.)

1. Researchers at universities and others:

A person who falls under one of the following (a), (b), and (c):

(a) Person who engages in research exclusively among the president, vice president, dean, professor, associate professor, assistant professor, lecturer, assistant or other staff (postdoctor with employment relationship with university etc.) of the university prescribed in Article 1 of the School Education Act.
(b) Person who exclusively engages in research amongst the principal, professor, associate professor, assistant professor, lecturer, assistant or other staff of a technical college prescribed in Article 1 of the School Education Act (hereinafter referred to as "technical college").
(c) Person who exclusively engages in research amongst the director or its staff of a university interoperable institution corporation (hereinafter referred to as "university interoperable institution corporation") prescribed in Article 2 (3) of the National University Corporate Law.

2. University et al.:

A person/entity who falls under one of the following (a), (b), and (c):

(a) A person/entity who establishes university (national university corporation, public university corporation, school corporation, etc.).
(b) A person/entity establishing a technical college of higher education (National High School Organization etc.).
(c) University interoperability institution corporation.

 

Categories

<Patent>
Request for examination fee:
Reduce to 1/2 of normal fee
Annuities (1st to 10th year):
Reduce to 1/2 of normal fee
11. Public Research and Development Institute

A person who establishes public test research institution (i.e., local public entity).

"Public test research institution" is a laboratory, research institute or other institution located in a local public organization that conducts research and work relating to research.

 

Categories

<Patent>
Request for examination fee:
Reduce to 1/2 of normal fee
Annuities (1st to 10th year):
Reduce to 1/2 of normal fee

 


 

Individual (Exempt from paying municipal inhabitant tax etc.) Requirements Patent Utility Model*
Examination Fee 1st - 3rd year annuities 4th - 10th year annuities Utility model technology evaluation request fee Registration fee (1st to 3rd year annuities)
Exempt from paying municipal inhabitant tax** Exemption Exemption Reduce to 1/2 Exemption Exemption
Exempt from income tax Reduce to 1/2 Reduce to 1/2 Reduce to 1/2 Reduce to 1/2 Three years grace
Individual employer who is exempt from paying business tax Reduce to 1/2 Reduce to 1/2 Reduce to 1/2 - -

 

*The reduction/exemption/grace period for utility models are applicable only when the creator himself/herself or his/her heir is the applicant. If there is a transfer of rights from another person, except for some exceptions, the reduction/exemption/grace period will not be applicable.

**Municipal inhabitant tax means city and/or state tax.

 

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