Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


This article reviews and addresses criticisms that have been leveled against the Japanese patent system by U.S. businesses and the government. It begins by exploring the operations, history, and cultural background of the Japanese patent system, and drawing contrasts with the system employed by the United States. From there, it introduces and analyzes the validity or invalidity of the criticisms most commonly raised. While a definitive answer is not possible for all criticisms, this article concludes that a number of criticisms are more selfserving than constructive, and several of the most important criticisms do not address aspects of the patent system itself, but misuse or abuse of the system. However, this article does find that some criticisms are valid, principally those directed at claims limitations and interpretation; and the lack of redress and judicial remedies for infringement, an issue for the Japanese legal system at large, remain pressing problems.