IP conciliation is designed to provide simple and speedy resolution of IP rights disputes. IP conciliation is suited to patent infringement cases when the issues in dispute are clear but have not been able to be resolved through negotiations between the parties.
The IP divisions of the Tokyo District Court and Osaka District Court provide IP conciliation services.267 While summary courts have general jurisdiction over conciliation cases, the Tokyo District Court and the Osaka District Court handle IP-specific conciliation cases. A case is handled by the district court agreed to by the parties.268
The Osaka District Court has published information on its IP conciliation process in English:
- Explanation of the New IP Conciliation at the Osaka District Court; and
- Guidelines for IP Conciliation Proceedings at the Osaka District Court.269
IP conciliation is conducted by a conciliation committee composed of three members: a judge of the IP division of the district court and two experts, such as a patent attorney or a lawyer with extensive experience in IP cases. In cases that involve technical matters, a judicial research official may administer some matters during a conciliation process.270
The parties to an IP conciliation are required to submit their allegations and related evidence by the first day of proceedings, and the conciliation committee is required to provide its opinion verbally by the third date of the proceedings. The committee’s opinion includes not only its determination on the issues but also its view on whether the case would be more suited to litigation, given the difficulties of proof and the complexity of the case.
The parties may then choose to either continue or terminate the conciliation (due to an unsuccessful conciliation process or the withdrawal of the petition). If the conciliation is terminated, the case may return to out-of-court negotiations, or a party may file a lawsuit or request a preliminary injunction. If the parties reach agreement during conciliation, and the agreement is recorded, this record will have the same effect as a judicial settlement.271
If a lawsuit is filed in relation to the same claim as a terminated conciliation, judges of any of the IP divisions other than the division of the judge who served as a member of the conciliation committee will conduct the lawsuit proceedings.