Japanese patent law amendment on the employee’s invention system as of April 1, 2016
The JPO revised rules for employees’ inventions were effective as of April 1, 2016. The following is a summary of the revisions:
- The right to obtain a patent belongs to the inventor’s employer from the time of occurrence of the invention, if any provision in agreement, employment regulation or any other contract stipulates so in advance between the parties.
- The compensation for employees’ inventions changed from “reasonable remuneration” to “reasonable remuneration or other economic benefits.”
Such economic benefits include providing costs and opportunities for studying abroad, providing stock options, giving a promotion with a pay increase, providing more paid holidays than usual, and granting an exclusive license or non-exclusive license to inventors.
- The minister of Economy, Trade and Industry shall issue guidelines for procedures to determine details of the reasonable remuneration or other economic benefits.
By these amendments, it will be possible for an employer to adjust benefits for inventors, and the risk of lawsuits by inventors therefore can be reduced. The amendment applies to employees’ inventions made on or after April 1, 2016.