What inventions cannot be patented in Japan?

According to the Japan Patent Act and the JPO’s Examination Guidelines for Patents, the following items are not patentable in Japan:

  • any invention that is liable to injure public order, morality or public health
  • laws of nature
  • scientific discoveries
  • inventions not using the laws of nature (e.g. economic laws, mathematical methods etc.)
  • inventions contrary to a law of nature
  • arbitrary arrangements (e.g. rules for playing a game)
  • mental activities
  • personal skills
  • mere presentation of information
  • aesthetic effects (e.g. paintings, carvings)
  • methods for medical treatment of the human body

For more information, see the Japan Patent Act and the JPO’s Examination Guidelines for Patents and Utility Models.