patent procedure in general

Patent procedure:

1.Filing a patent application
2.Filing a request for examination
3.Filing Remarks and/or Amendment if receiving a "Notification of Reasons for Refusal"(i.e. Office Action)
4.Pay Patent registration fee if receiving a "Decision to grant a patent"(i.e. Allowance)

Language of applications is Japanese. English applications are acceptable if Japanese translation is filed within 2 months from the filing date.
Request For Examination can only be filed within 3 years from the filing date. No extension.

keep in secret

It is difficult to find infringes of software patents, especially,
software without any outputs that a human can recognize...

Therefore, for some software inventions, keeping them in secret may be better than filing patent applications of them.

Patentable categories of software

Patentable categories of software invention are (1) device using program, (2) method, (3) computer readable medium storing program, and (4) program.

software or program

The word "software" has the almost same meaning as the word "program".

Program is a series of instructions for a processor.