Japan to consider regulating GAFA under the secrecy of communication

The previous article covered a failure of legislation for piracy website blocking due to legal considerations of constitutionally guaranteed secrecy of communication. Now the secrecy of communication is likely to apply to foreign platform providers, especially to big tech companies called GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple), according to a draft document distributed in an advisory committee meeting which was held on January 21 2019. The scope of the secrecy of communication covers not only the communication content but also the date and time of the communication, the identification of communication parties, and everything which can be used to infer the semantic contents of the communication. Therefore, it may make an impact […]

Japan fails to legislate for piracy website blocking

Piracy website blocking has been one of the most controversial topics in Japan. In April 2018, the government decided on a policy to legislate for piracy website blocking by Internet providers, to combat piracy websites with copyright infringing content of manga, animation etc. However, it has been strongly opposed by lawyers and academics out of fear that it is likely to infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed secrecy of communication. Accordingly, the government reportedly has decided to postpone the legislation, and instead it is considering alternative measures – e.g. regulating leech sites which guide users to piracy sites. It is rare (at least in the intellectual property field) that the government […]

Updates of discussion on possible revision of Japan’s IP dispute resolution system

The discussion on possible revision of Japan’s intellectual property dispute resolution system, reported in the previous article, has started from last October, and the second meeting was held on November 21 2018 at the Japanese Patent Office (JPO), on which I had a chance to sit in. The objective of the meeting was to hear opinions from users of the litigation system, i.e. a lawyer, Masakazu IWAKURA (Partner at TMI Associates), Keidanren for the voice of big business in Japan, and The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) for the voice of SMEs. In their presentations, large companies seemed to want the continuation of the status, while SMEs want […]


In Japan, a platform business has been considered just a vehicle for service providers and users, and assumed no responsibility. However, in response to recent trends in regulations on platform businesses (e.g. against Google) in Europe, Japan has commenced studies toward tightening of regulations since July 2018, and published the draft interim report on November 5 2018 to invite public opinion until December 4 and commence to discuss detailed regulations after the turn of the year. Here are several issues addressed in the report which will be discussed next year. Market manipulability based on algorithmic profiling and opaqueness of the technologies. The necessity of disclosure of code or algorithm will […]

JPO commissioner mentions the review of damage calculation method

IPBC Japan 2018 began with a keynote speech by Naoko Munakata, commissioner of the Japan Patent Office (JPO), in Tokyo on September 13. Munakata introduced the recent measures taken by the JPO, such as; SEP licensing negotiation guide Startup support system (Fast track examination, Dispatch of experts for IP advice, financing, and business) Collection of patent examination cases in the field of  artificial intelligence (AI) In addition, Munakata said that the JPO is considering measures to improve attractiveness of intellectual property litigation system, especially from the following two aspects; Improvement of evidence collection procedures for IP right holders to collect all the necessary information to prove infringement and calculate damages […]

Japan to consider expanding design protection

Japan may expand design protection beyond definition of ‘design’ in the design law. As previously reported, Japan has been discussing ‘design’ to strengthen the Japanese companies’ competitiveness since July 2017, and finally published the report on May 23 2018. From IP perspective, the report suggests amendment of the design law to address increasingly diverse ways of design under development of technologies. Specifically, the government will consider the expansion of the scope of protection of design to the following designs. Projection design that is design of image projected on a wall, the human body or the like Spatial design such as interior and exterior design of buildings or stores The Japanese […]

Japan may become a better option as a place to solve international disputes even for foreign companies

Japan may become a better option as a place to solve international disputes even for foreign companies. It is reported that the Japanese government is considering legal revision to make it easier for foreign lawyers to work in Japan, and may introduce the bill to the extraordinary Diet session this year. Specifically, the legal revision is reportedly being considered in the following two aspects. Shortens the requirement of experience of having performed professional duties to two years (which includes one year of experience in other countries) from three years (which includes two years of experience in other countries). Makes it possible to establish a joint law firm by Japanese lawyers […]