In recent good news for the medical community, Biconcept Inc. has been granted a patent for “Device and Methods of Cell Capture and Analysis”. The Patent was granted by the Japanese Patent Office. This Japanese Patent covers use of antibodies and micro channels to detect and capture circulating tumor cells (CTC) from blood as well as from other biological fluids.
Bioconcept is a Molecular diagnostics company which deals in the commercialization and development of liquid biopsies for improved detection and treatment of cancer.
The Japanese Patent system is very similar to the EU patent system. Though there are certain features of the Japanese patent system which is very different from any other patent module. A patent application does not automatically get examined. An unexamined patent application is known as “Kokai”. These Kokai’s are published within 18months from its earliest priority date. According to Japanese patent law, after a patent application has been made the applicant has 7 years to make an examination request. The examination usually takes 24- 30 months, though sometimes it might take 18months. After the 1996 changes , the Japanese system now has moved on to a post grant opposition module where the opponents are given 6 months to oppose a granted patent, but the patent remains so unless proved otherwise..
The Japanese Patent law requires a national phase application to be filed within 30 months from the PCT international application priority date. The national phase application requires the translated Japanese copy of the description, claims, drawings and an abstract of the PCT international application. Without the translation the application would be deemed to have been withdrawn. Under the Japanese patenting system one may avail accelerated examination under the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program after submission of an examination request until starting of the substantial examination. After the national phase application has been made one may apply to the PPH program.
With this patent grant in Japan, Bioconcept has managed to get over all 13 patents granted in US and in other international jurisdictions, covering the use of these antibodies in detection and cure of cancer.