The Cabinet of Japan approved on April 28, 2023, a framework for a patent non-disclosure system which was stipulated in the Economic Security Bill enacted in May 2022. The operation of the system is scheduled to start in May 2024. The patent non-disclosure system aims to prevent overseas leakage of technologies important to security, including civilian technologies (sensitive technologies) which could be transferred for military use. Inventions of technologies important to security will not be disclosed unlike ordinary patent applications.
According to the framework, examination for non-disclosure will be conducted in two stages. The first stage examination will be conducted by the Japanese Patent Office (JPO). If the JPO finds that a patent application may fall under “specific critical technology areas” relating to sensitive technologies, then the Cabinet Office will subsequently conduct a “preservation examination” on the certain application. Upon the examination, if the invention is designated as a preservation technology, the publication and patent grant will be suspended, and the applicant will be imposed with duties on prohibition of working the patent without permission and disclosure of the invention, and be forced to implement measures to ensure the proper management for information leak prevention. Read more