Japan adopts a first-to-file basis for the trademark protection. A granted trademark right is effective throughout Japan, and its owner is able to use it exclusively in respect of the designated goods and services without exclusion by any other party. The use by another party of an identical or similar trademark in respect of an identical or similar range of goods or services constitutes infringement, and the Japan trademark owner may claim the infringer to cease the infringing acts and payment of damages.
The legal framework for Japan trademarks is set by the Trademark Act. According to Article 2 of the Trademark Act, a trademark is defined as 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).
The trademark application should be filed to the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and then the JPO publishes the content of the filing in the Official Gazette to verify if it meets the substantive and formal conditions. The most typical reasons for refusal are lack of distinctiveness of the trademark, existence of prior registered trademark, and vagueness of the designated goods or services.
In the event no refusal is issued by the Examiner of in case you have overcome the refusal, a decision to register a trademark will be made.
After the Japan trademark registration, the trademark is published on the Trademark Gazette. Any person may file an opposition to the decision to register a trademark with the Commissioner of the JPO.
Even after a trademark is registered, any person may appeal for invalidation of the trademark if it has a flaw. Moreover, if the trademark has not been used after registration for three years or more, an appeal for revocation may be charged.
Duration of Application: one and a half to two years (if no objections or oppositions arise)
Mark Validity: 10 years from the date of registration
Mark Renewal: Renewal application for 10 years to be submitted prior to the date of expiration
Mark Cancellation: If a registered trademark has not been used in Japan by the owner or with his consent, in relation to the goods or services for which it is registered, for a continuous period of 3 years, the trademark registration is subject to cancellation.
For enquiry of the Japan Trademark Registration, please contact us for free trademark consultation.