Previously, I posted that JPO was considering prohibiting mutiple-depedent claims.
Currently, the restrictions against mutiple-depedent claims are scheduled to take effect on April 1, and the draft of the review criteria has finally been released. You can submit your comments here until March 11 (Japanese).
Now, below is the proposed review criteria.
First of all, when there is any mutiple-depedent claim, Non-Final Office Action to reject such mutiple-depedent claim will be notified to applicants, and such mutiple-depedent claim will not be examined including novelty, inventive-step, eneblement, support, clarity etc.
And when the applicant corrects such mutiple-depedent claim by amendment after the Ofiice Acition, additional Ofiice Acition which notifies only the reasons for refusal which became necessary to notify as a result of the necessity to examine the requirements other than the violation of mutiple-depedent claims shall be Final Office Action. After Final Office Action, the scope of claim amendments that can be made by the patent applicant is limited in Japan.
If the current draft Guideline is taken into effect, patent practioners must be aware of the risk to use mutlipe-dependent claims in Japan. At least, it is better for applicants to consider amending such mutlipe-dependent claims before the request for substantive examination, if necessary.