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A Comparative View of Nanotechnology Patents in Japan and the U.S.: A Case Study of Two Patents
Volume 5, Issue 4

Shoichi Okuyama, Okuyama & Co.
Bruce Wu, Foley & Lardner LLP
Bin Sun, Foley & Lardner LLP
Stephen Maebius, Foley & Lardner LLP

Objections to patentability raised in the examiner correspondence of two nanotechnology patent applications filed in the United States and in Japan are examined to reveal national grant-making trends within both countries’ patent offices. Statistically, there are disparities between the grant approval rates on similar patents filed at United States and Japanese patent offices. The authors suggest utilizing the patent prosecution highway, recently permanently adopted between the United States and Japan, as a method to potentially beat unfavorable statistics by leveraging the approval of certain claims in one country with identical claims in the other. Predictions on the probable effects of recent cases from the Japanese Intellectual Property High Court and the United States Supreme Court on future patentability of nanotechnology are interspersed through the analysis.

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