Statistics regarding the current trend in business-related inventions have been published on the website of the Japanese Patent Office. The main points are as follows.

(1) Trends of Application and Request for Examination The number of applications for business-related inventions increased rapidly, up to 19,231, in 2000, but thereafter, steadily decreased. However, there was an upturn in the number of applications after the number bottomed out in 2011.  The number of applications was 7,376 (18% increase over the previous year) (provisional values) in 2014.

The number of requests for examination in the business-related field also started to increase after 2011. The number of requests for examination was approximately 4,712 (6.2% increase over the previous year) (provisional values) in 2014.

(2) Trend of Application for Each Technical Field The number of “applications whose main features are business-related inventions themselves” out of applications for business-related inventions showed a steady decrease across all technical fields after peaking in 2000. However, since 2011, the number of applications has been increasing in the fields of service business, e-commerce and payment service.

The “applications whose main features are business-related inventions themselves” herein correspond to applications to which the following FI classifications were assigned as main classifications.

G06F15/20@G,N,R; G06F15/20,102; G06F15/21; G06F15/24-G06F15/30;  G06F15/42; G06F17/60; G06Q

(3) Status of Examination The allowance rate of applications whose main features are business-related inventions was approximately 8% (average rate across all fields was approximately 50%) in 2003 – 2006. However, the allowance rate has been increasing since 2007, and has increased up to approximately 64% (provisional value) (average rate across all fields was approximately 69%) in 2014.

From the viewpoint of the above statistics, it could be said that the environment surrounding business-related inventions in Japan is in a remarkable situation. It is to be expected that the number and scope of applications in this field will be further expanded.