Trademark Registration in .
Japan is considered to be one of the most advanced and developed countries presently. The country is leading in many different industries, including automobile, electrical appliances, ships, machine tools, chemicals, etc. In that capacity, Japan is a business hub. Considering the business opportunities in the country, it is pretty beneficial to get a Japanese trademark. Through a Japanese trademark, businesses can protect their identity and create trust among the customers by building an image for themselves and protecting it legally. Regardless of the business’s size, anyone can get protection for 10 years at a low cost through a trademark!
Japan’s trademark registration process is slightly different from other countries, considering the Japanese characters. To understand, let us have a look at the complete process from start to finish.
Japan Trademark registration services
Japan follows a first to file system. This means that whoever files an application for the trademark first becomes the trademark owner if the application is accepted.
Japan’s law protects overseas businesses and individuals; it does not differentiate between a person residing in Japan or overseas regarding the registration process and the conditions applied.
To get the trademark registered, it should be unique. Three things define the uniqueness of the trademark:
The trademark must be unique in its sound, which means that it should not have a similar sound or ambiguity in its pronunciation. English and Japanese words are easily understood, but if the words are in a different language, then it is advisable to use Japanese characters to show the words’ actual pronunciation to remove the ambiguity.
The meaning of the trademark should have a clear and actual representation. The people should understand what the trademark is portraying. If the trademark is in a foreign script, people might not exactly understand its meaning thus mistake it with another trademark. In this case, it may be better to protect the Japanese translated version of the original foreign script.
Suppose the appearance of the trademark is in different characters than those that the Japanese people understand. In that case, the trademark owner might not reap the benefits it would have if the trademark was in Japanese written characters.
Types of Trademarks
Types of trademarks in Japan
Trademarks in Japan are described categorically under the law. This includes:
- Trademarks that consist of Japanese and alphabetical characters
- Trademarks that have devices or symbols;
- Trademarks that consist of both: characters and symbols/devices
- Three-dimensional trademarks: this is a new addition to the law; under this, spheres, dolls, and three-dimensional signs are protected
- Collective trademark registration: this was included in the law when a revision was made in 1996. Under this, a group comprising of businesses can register trademarks to allow its members to use the trademarks.
To get a trademark registered, the owner must submit the application to Japan Patent Office. This application will consist of the applicant’s full name, nationality, and address.
How to register a trademark in Japan?
Before filing an application, it is always good to conduct a search to see if the trademark has already been used or is currently in use by someone else. This saves time and energy and possible rejection of the application.
Publication of the Application that is Unexamined
After the application is filed, the JPO will publish the application’s content in the official gazette.
The application will be checked to see if all the formal and procedural requirements are met. If there are incomplete documents or some of the fields are not filled properly, an invitation to correct them will be made.
The application will again be checked if it fulfills the substantive requirements. These requirements are:
- Trademark enables the consumers to differentiate between the applicant’s goods and services from that of others.
- Trademark does not go against public or private interests.
Notification of Reasons for Refusal
If these requirements are not met, a notification will be sent to the applicant in which all the reasons for refusal will be given.
If the application is refused, the applicant can give a written argument or an amendment to nullify refusal reasons.
The argument or amendment is taken into consideration, and if there are no reasons for refusal, a decision to register the trademark will be made.
Suppose the argument submitted by the applicant cannot eliminate the reasons for refusals, and the examiner deems the trademark cannot be registered, a decision of refusal will be made.
If the applicant thinks that decision for refusal is not justified, he can appeal against the decision.
Three to five appeal examiners judge the appeal. Their decision is called the appeal decision. The appeal decision can decide whether the refusal should be solved or not. If they judge that the refusal was solved, an appeal decision to register the trademark is given. If the reasons cannot cancel the reasons for refusal, then an appeal decision for refusal is given.
Registration Fee Payment
Once the payment for the registration is made, the trademark is registered.
The contents of the trademark are published on the trademark gazette for other trademark owners to see.
Anyone can file for opposition with the commissioner of the JPO against the decision of trademark registration.
Specific documents are not required but depending on the applicant, JPO can ask for documents to confirm nationality, corporation entity, tax returns etc.
Price of Trademarks
Trademark registration cost in Japan
There are different fees; application and registration fees.
The application fees for a trademark in one class is ¥12,000 or around $109. If the applicant decides to get a trademark registered in multiple classes, he will pay the same amount for the first class, which is ¥12,000, and then ¥8,600 or around $78 for each additional class.
For registration, the fee is ¥28,200 or around $256 for a trademark per class. These are only the official fees and do not include an attorney’s or agent’s fees.
Other than these, if the applicant wants to renew the trademark, he will have to pay ¥38,800 or $352 per class, excluding the attorney’s fee.
Age of Trademarks
How long does the Japanese trademark last?
Trademark in Japan lasts for 10 years. For renewal, the applicant can apply six months before the expiration or six months after the expiration date. If the applicant applies after the expiration date, a late renewal fee would be charged.
Japanese Trademark gives protection against infringements and provides exclusive rights to distribute, in addition to many other benefits. Japan is also a member of the Madrid Protocol: a system through which a single application can get trademark registration in many member countries. Having a first-to-file process, it is advisable to get your trademark registered as soon as possible.
At Trademark International, we provide hassle-free trademark registration services catered to your needs in compliance with the international requirements and standards. Japan’s trademark registration doesn’t have to be complicated, and that’s why Trademark International is here to assist with all of your intellectual property needs.
What to do? How to do it? When to do it? Will it work?
If these are the questions that come to your mind when thinking of registering a trademark, you have come to the right place. We, at Trademark International, answer these questions and more! Offering multiple trademark services, we guarantee client satisfaction. For expert advice and consultation, contact us now!
Frequently Asked Questions
The process for registering a trademark varies from country to country. To file for a trademark in the US, you can file an online application with the USPTO. The USPTO entertains two types of applications: ‘In-use’ and ‘Intent to use’. The online application is known as Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
Just like every country has its own registration process, the cost varies as well. Depending on the legal fees and the length of the process, the cost can go up or down. In the US, the price of registering a trademark ranges from $500 to $3000.
You need to file an application which should contain: your name and address, if it’s a business then the type of legal entity it is, details of the trademark, list of goods and services, the details of the class(es).
Yes, you can file for both: a local and an international trademark. Some countries entertain a single application to register a trademark locally as well as internationally.
Yes. It is possible to register a trademark in multiple countries with a single application but it depends on which union the country is part of. You can do this through the Madrid Protocol or EUIPO.
Countries have different laws regarding what can be registered as a trademark. In the US, the types of trademarks that can be registered are slogans, shapes, names, phrases words, images, 3D shapes, holograms, smells, and colors.