Kind Code of Japanese Industrial Property Documents Stored at JPO

Japanese patent system is very complicated, which has at least 12 kind of documents, and 5 numbering systems.

12 Kind codes and Document Types

A: Published patent application, and Japanese translation of PCT international application;
B: Examined patent application publication;
U: Published utility model application, Registered utility model, and Japanese translation of PCT international applicationof utility mode;
U1: Unexamined utility model specification;
Y: Examined utility model application publication;
A1: Domestic re-publication of PCT international application;
N1: Journal of technical disclosure, and Patent;
C: Patent specification;
H: Corrected patent specification;
I: Corrected utility model specification;
Y: Examined utility model registration;
Z: Examined utility model specification.

5 Numbering Systems

For patent appication and publication documents published before 2000, numbering uses 1 letter indicating imperial era (X), 2 digits for the Japan imperial year (y) and up to 6 digits for the number (n), with the number format as: Xyy-nnnnnn. For example, S60-156789, or H06-20458.

However, from 2000 onwards, four-digit Western year is used instead so the format becomes: yyyy-nnnnnn, such as 2006-256783.

For granted patents, seven digit numbers are used without year, with the format as: nnnnnnn. For example, 2356791.

Japanese imperial years vs. Western years

Imperial yearsWestern years Numbering
Meiji 1 - 45 1868 - 1912M01 - 45
Taisho 1 - 15 1912 - 1926 T01 - 15
Showa 1 - 64 1926 - 1989 S01 - 64
Heisei 1 - 11 1989 - 1999H01 - H11
Heisei 12 - 2000 onwards 2000 -

Conversion of Japanese imperial years to Western years:

SHOWA + 1925 = Western year;
HEISEI + 1988 = Western year.

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