Japan will introduce secret military patenting system

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The Japanese government wants to introduce legislation to keep patents secret for possible military purposes. Tokyo wants to reimburse companies and applicants for lost license income, writes the Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

Patent applications for uranium enrichment and other nuclear weapons development technology, according to the newspaper, will be assessed on the basis of the new security legislation. This also applies to quantum technology and other groundbreaking innovations.

Patents in Japan are normally made public 18 months after filing and are then accessible to foreign governments and companies, as well as ‘terrorists’.

Patents that may pose a threat to national security in the event of disclosure may not be made public in the future; applicants are also prohibited from applying for patents abroad.

A panel of the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the National Security Secretariat and other agencies will screen patent applications for possible abuse by foreign actors.

Dozens of restrictions on disclosure are expected to be imposed annually. The government will reimburse roughly twenty years of license revenue, writes Nikkei. License fees usually amount to 3-5 percent of sales.

The legislative framework will be announced in January; approval by the Cabinet is scheduled for February. The measures are expected to enter into force in fiscal year 2023.

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