The renewal fees for years 1 to 3 are paid as registration fees to the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) upon the grant of a patent. The first renewal fee is due 4 years from the grant date, NOT from the filing date.
For example, if the filing date of a patent is 2006-03-23, and the grant date of the patent is 2012-06-22 you will only have to settle the 4th annuity from 2015-06-22.
A patent right can be maintained in Japan by paying patent fees on an annual basis, starting with the settlement of fees from 4 years after the grant.
In Japan, there are two other kinds of intellectual property types.
Intellectual Property Type #1 - Utility Models
The duration of a utility model is 10 years from the date of filing. The renewal fees for the first 3 years must be paid as registration fees, upon the filing of an application. A utility model right can be maintained by paying renewal fees.
Intellectual Property Type #2 - Designs
The duration of a design right is 25 years from the date of filing. The renewal fees for the first year must be paid as registration fees upon the filing of an application. An industrial design right can be maintained by paying renewal fees.
Patent Renewal Fee Intervals in Japan
In Japan, the patent renewal fee is paid from year 4. It is worth noting that In Japan you need to pay an additional renewal fee for each claim depending on the number of claims your patent application has.
For example, if a patent has an annuity due for year 4 as well as 11 claims, the formula will go as follows:
(6400.00 JPY for year 4) + (500.00 x 11) = 11900.00 JPY
The patent renewal fees increase each year:
The renewal fees for the patent’s first 3 years have to be settled upfront, and within 30 days from the decision to grant. From thereon, the annual fees for the 4th year and those to follow, will need to be settled before the end of the previous year.
In Japan, no annuity payments are needed for pending applications.
The renewal fees from the 4th year onwards fall on the anniversary of the grant date. There is no specified payment window before which the renewal fees must be paid. The renewal fees can be paid anytime before the due date.
Yes, it is possible to renew a Japanese patent after its deadline. A 6 month grace period is given from the patent’s renewal due date whereby, the renewal fees can still be settled. However, when entering the grace period you will incur a 100% surcharge for late payment. If you fail to meet the deadline for payment of the annual fees as well as the 6 month grace period, the patent will lapse.
You can either appoint a local council registered with the JPO. Alternatively, one can also send a physical copy of the official patent renewal form alongside the payment proof made to the JPO.
Once a JP patent has been granted, you have the option to maintain the patent by paying for its renewal fees every subsequent year, starting from year 4. By settling the patent’s annual renewal fees, the patent is guaranteed to last for 20 years from the date of filing. In short, a patent will last for 20 years from its date of filing, provided that it gets granted.