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Q1. Representing Competitors

Q1. Representing Competitors
Are there any restrictions placed on the Japanese patent attorney with respect to simultaneously representing competitors in overlapping areas of technology?
If not, do the patent attorneys have an obligation to notify their foreign clients of such conflicts of interest?

A1. Yes, there is a restriction.
Patent attorney – The Patent Attorneys Law Art. 31 provides that a case should not be accepted which may have a conflict of interest with another case being represented. However, simultaneous representation is allowed if the parties concerned give consent to the patent attorney.
The Patent Attorneys Law Art.31 applies equally to foreign clients, who should be notified and whose consent is required when a patent attorney wants to represent simultaneously competitors in overlapping areas of technology.