Japan is an island country located in East Asia. Together with China, South Korea, Japan is one of the most developing economies in Asia particularly and in the world generally. In recent years, the number of enterprise established in Japan is increasing rapidly, which creates opportunity for many individuals/organizations. However, if you are planning to do business in or with Japan, you should consider registering your brand – trademark in Japan first. That’s because trademark identity is critical for the success of an enterprise in Japan, and if you want your trademark to be protected under Japanese law, you must register them. Hereinafter, we shall consult you about the procedure of trademark registration in Japan.
1, What is trademark in Japan?
The definition of trademark is stipulated under Article 2 of the Japan Trademark Act, in which, trademark is any character(s), figure(s), sign(s) or three-dimensional shape(s), or any combination thereof, with colors (hereinafter referred to as a “mark”) which is:
(i) used in connection with the goods of a person who produces, certifies or assigns the goods as a business; or
(ii) used in connection with the services of a person who provides or certifies the services as a business (except those provided for in the preceding item).
2, Registrable sign
The following signs below are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of different individuals and organizations:
- Certain 3-dimensional shapes
- Combination of all of the above elements
3, The followings are not the signs of registrable as trademarks:
- Marks that are against the moral standards or public order of Japan
- Generic words or terms
- Symbol, flag, or name of a state, nation, region, or an international organization
- Marks that lack distinctive qualities
- Marks that are used primarily to indicate a geographical location name
- Marks that may mislead consumers
4, Time frame for obtaining the trademark registration
The processing time from filing to trademark registration in Japan is approximately 14-16 months, including:
- Application: Every applicant is required to submit an application with the Japan Patent Office (JPO).
- Publication of Unexamined Application: The JPO will publish the content of an application in the Official Gazette after filing.
- Formality Examination: An application document submitted to the JPO will be checked to see whether it fulfills the necessary procedural and formal requirements. An invitation to correct will be made where necessary documents are missing or required sections have not been filled in.
- Substantive Examination: An examination will be made of whether the application fulfills the substantive requirements. The following trademarks will be refused as they are deemed not to meet the substantive requirements.
(i)Trademarks which do not enable consumers to differentiate the applicant’s goods or services from those belonging to other parties
(ii)Trademarks which are unregistrable for reasons of public interest or for the protection of private interests
- Registration: In case there’s no objection and the trademark meets all substantive requirements, the trademark shall be granted protection certificate
- Why you need to register trademarks in Japan.
In Japan, an individual or organization may use the trademark freely without registration, however, it also means that their trademark shall not be protected by the government of Japan. In a big and competitive market like Japan, if you develop your brand – trademark without registration, your trademark may get stolen any time. Therefore, it is advíed that you should register your trademark as soon as possible. Registering trademark in Japan is a necessary step for enterprises to stand firm in the market, and distinguish their goods and services from goods and services of other subjects, as well as prevent other companies from counterfeit goods, which might affect their reputation in the Japanese market.
Besides, once you registered trademark in Japan, you may have an additional source of income for transferring the right to use the trademark.
Please click here to know the fee of trademark registration in Japan. Also, you can visit here to see the procedures and required documents for trademark registration in Japan.
Or sending your inquiry by filling the form:
- Trademark search in Japan
- Trademark registration in Japan
- The required documents
- The time frame
- The fees
- Trademark renewal in Japan