A simple explanation of the Japanese Patent Numbering System
Japanese patent applications have several numbers. Once they are registered as a patent, they will even get an additional number. The system can be a little confusing so we would like to help you understand it better.
The first number issued is the Patent Application Number
The first number that is issued is the application number. For national filings and filings under the Paris Convention, you will receive the application number right upon filing. For PCT filings it takes a few weeks for the number to be issued.Currently, the numbers will have the format JP2021-xxxxxx, the current year followed by a 6-digit number. If the 6-digit number starts with a 5 the application in questions is a PCT application that entered the Japanese national phase. An example number for a PCT application that entered the Japanese national phase in 2021 would be JP2021-512345.
The application number can be found on the left side of the front page of a Japanese patent publication.
Previously the Japanese system, which counts the years based on the reign periods of the emperor was used. Applications filed before 2000 will not begin with JP19XX but with JPHXX. H stand for Heisei, which marks the period between 1989 and 1999. 1989 is H01 and 2000 is H11. Patents filed before 1989 will have numbers that being with JPSXX, where S stands for the Showa period from 1926 to 1989. Below you can find a list of the Japanese imperial periods and their corresponding western years.
Japanese Imperial Years vs. Western Years
Meiji 1 – 45
1868 – 1912
M01 – 45
Taisho 1 – 15
1912 – 1926
T01 – 15
Showa 1 – 64
1926 – 1989
S01 – 64
Heisei 1 – 11
1989 – 1999
H01 – H11
Heisei 12 –
After publication the Application receives a Publication Number
A national application will be published 18 months after filing date of the application in the Japanese Patent Gazette. In case of a PCT application that entered the Japanese national phase the Japanese translation will be published about 7 months after it was submitted.
At the time of publication, a publication number will be issued for the application. The numbering system is the same as for the application numbers. You can distinguish the two because the publication numbers have a suffix A at the end of the number. An example publication number for a patent application published in 2021 would JP2021-512345A.
The publication number can be found on the top right of a Japanese patent publication.
After Registration the Patent receives a Patent Number
Once a patent is registered a patent registration number will be issued. The registration number is a seven-digit number, for example, JP3678955. This number is also shown on the top of a Japanese letters patent.