No matter how good an invention may be, a patent right naturally cannot be obtained unless it is applied for. An application requires that one fills out the forms prescribed in the relevant ordinances and submit them to the JPO.

Japan has adopted the first-to-file system, i.e. the principle that where two parties apply for a patent for the same invention, the first party to file will be granted the patent. Accordingly, it is advisable to file as soon as possible after the invention. It is also advisable not to make the invention public before filing a patent application.

An application document submitted to the JPO will be checked to see whether it fulfills the necessary procedural and formal requirements. An invitation to correct will be made where necessary documents are missing or required sections have not been filled in.