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The definition may have been included in light of the Utility Model Act of Japan which gives a definition of a device as "the creation of technical ideas by which a law of nature is utilized".
The procedures for obtaining a patent right in Japan is described in detail on the website of Japan Patent Office.
In addition, the Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) offers public access to IP Gazettes of the Japan Patent Office (JPO) free of charge through the Internet.
Reliable information on Japanese IP law in English is also provided by the websites of Intellectual Property High Court, For more details, see "External links" at the bottom of this page.
The patent prosecution procedure under Japanese law is similar to that in most other patent systems.
Article 39 states that a person who is the first to file an application for a patent for an invention may obtain that patent, rather than a different person who is the first to invent the same invention.
A patent may be granted for an invention if: (This is a summary; Article 49 contains a full list of conditions.) Article 30 provides a six-month grace period for disclosures made through an experiment, publication, presentation at a study meeting or an exhibition (a trade fair or the World's Fair) or for if the invention becomes known to public against the applicant's will.
This definition was introduced in 1959 following German jurist Josef Kohler's definition.
Note that I generally only blog on substantive patent / pharma cases.
The definitive version of Japanese law is the text in the Japanese language.
Request for examination and payment of examination fee are needed for an application to be examined (Article 48bis).
The applicant, or a third party, if they stand examination fee (Article 195, paragraph 2).