The long-planned amendments of Japanese IP laws have passed the parliament and will enter into force on 1 April 2015, as the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) published on 23 January 2015.
The amendments will include the following:
1.) The possibility to defer payments in case of force majeure
2.) Introduction of an opposition system to give the patent holder certainty at an early stage; from now on, invalidation can only be requested by an interested party
Instead of having to file the same application in each country where one seeks protection, the applicant can now file one application at one office, which will lower the costs (adaptation to the Geneva revision of the Hague agreement).
As in other countries, colours and scents can now also be protected.
For further details, please see the METI website (Japanese only).