Japan's Patent Office Thinks Net

Back to Contents of Issue: April 2000

by Kyoko Fujimoto

The patent office is considering granting patents for distinctive Internet-related technologies and ideas, such as ways of distributing music over the Web and e-commerce specifications.

Currently, software-related patents in Japan are limited to "things," such as programs recorded on storage media and developed using computer hardware. Sounds patently absurd in this day and age. The agency's planned move, however, will likely bring Japan's scope of patent protection more in line with other countries', and also help Japanese companies stay in the competition to set global standards in related markets.

Modifications to the country's patent system, including possible legal changes that might be required, could come as early as this year.

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