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The most notable feature of the intellectual property practice of City-Yuwa Partners is the fact that it has handled numerous patent litigation cases. Masashige Ohba started his practice in patent infringement litigation in the 1960s and has 50 years of experience in this practice area. Hideo Ozaki has been a specialist in patent litigation for almost 30 years. In the past, the patent invalidation defense was not permitted in patent infringement cases in Japan. 15 years ago, it was extremely difficult for patent holders to win patent infringement cases in Japan since the interpretation of claims was very narrow due to the rationale that "since the definition of claim is not clear, it should be interpreted to mean the composition of working example itself". Patent litigation practice has changed dramatically since then. However, patent litigation practice in Japan still requires many changes. City-Yuwa not only approaches each case to achieve the most favorable result for the client, but also is making efforts to improve the patent litigation practice in Japan by becoming actively involved in the actual cases.
The patent system exists to contribute to the development of industries. Patent litigation should also contribute to the development of industries. Technological innovation is indispensable to break out from the current bleak economy of Japan. The purpose of the patent system is to assist the development of industries by protecting the technological innovation of each company. Intellectual property such as patents gains importance only when there is technological innovation. However, the IP boom in the past 10 years has created a trend in which IP is a tool for gaining money and the purpose of the IP system has become more obscure. Therefore, such an IP bubble must disappear.
City-Yuwa is keenly aware that the purpose of the patent system is for innovation and development of industries. City-Yuwa assists patent holders by taking full advantage of the patent litigation system if such patent holders are not properly protected. On the other hand, there are those who assert themselves as a "patent holder" even though they should not receive any protection, and they interfere with a company's business. It is necessary to protect the industries under the patent system by preventing such allegations from the "patent holder". City-Yuwa assists companies in their fight against any threat to their business from "patent holders" who should not be receiving any protection.
Methods of resolving patent disputes include not only litigation, but also negotiation and arbitration. With respect to arbitration, there are cases in which arbitration is conducted pursuant to the arbitration clause in the existing agreement or there is an ad hoc arbitration in which the parties separately agree to enter into arbitration on certain issues under dispute for which the decision will be made by a third party. It is possible for the parties to agree on a dispute resolution method for each issue for which the result is foreseeable unless such issue is already under dispute (Such agreement may include not only selection of arbitrators or an arbitration organization, but also the amount of money payable by the losing party.).
Filing patent applications with the Patent Office is not one of the practice areas of City-Yuwa. Although there are times when City-Yuwa handles a trial for invalidation of a patent at the Patent Office in connection with a disputed case, City-Yuwa generally works together with a patent attorney (benrishi) in such case.
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