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Protecting Technologies with Law


Japanese - English

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Doctrine of Equivalents in Japan

On February 24, 1998, Japan's Supreme Court handed down its 1st decision on doctrine of equivalents; and made it clear that said doctrine isrecognized in Japan on the following 5 conditions (The so-called "Ball SplineCase"; THK vs. Tsubaki Nakashima) :

@@1. The literal difference does not relate to the essential element of the patented invention;

@@2. Functional equivalency between the patented invention and the alleged infringement;

@@3. Substitution is obvious for those skilled in the art;

@@4. The alleged infringement does not belong to the public domain; and

@@5. No estoppel is applicable to the patentholder.

We were involved in this important case as the defendant's attorney; and eventually won the litigation.


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