INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN JAPAN
02 Months from the Publication Date of Registration
First Renewal Term
Subsequent Renewal Term
The Trademark Act (Act No. 127 of April 13, 1959) - is the primary law governing the mechanism of trademark registration and protection in Japan.
For obtaining trademark rights in Japan, an applicant must fill out the forms prescribed in the relevant ordinances and submit them to the Japan Patent Office.
Japan adopts the ‘first-to-file’ system in which trademark registration is granted to the person who has first filed an application, when an application for similar or identical trademark is filed, regardless of whether the trademark has been used previously.
The JPO follows the latest version (11th edition) of the International Classification of goods and services (Nice Classification). Multi-class trademark applications are possible in Japan.
Japan adopts a post-registration opposition system, and therefore, applications are not published for opposition. Any third party may oppose a trademark or service mark only after registration.
An opposition may be filed with the JPO within two (02) months from the publication date of the registration showing the said trademark or service mark in the Official Gazette.
The term of trademark registration in Japan is ten (10) years from the date of the registration. An owner of a trademark desiring the renewal of the registration needs to submit a request for renewal with the JPO within six (06) months prior to the expiry. Even after the expiry of the term, the owner may make a request for renewal within six (06) months from the date of the expiry. No proof of use is required for renewal. However, where a registered trademark has not been used in Japan by an owner or its licensee for three (03) consecutive years, any person may file a request for a trial for rescission of such trademark registration.
The Patent Act, Act No. 121 of April 13, 1959 - deals with the realm of patents in Japan.
Japan is a Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). It is a signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property and the TRIPS Agreement.
For obtaining patent rights in Japan, the applicant must apply to the Japan Patent Office. The application then goes through examinations to determine whether the application fulfils all the necessary requirements.
An opposition against a patent application in Japan may be filed by an interested party within six (06) months from the date of its publication upon payment of the corresponding fee.
The official grant fee for a patent in Japan should be paid within thirty (30) days from the date of receipt of the notice of allowance.
The annuities for the first three (03) years should be paid simultaneously with the grant fee. The maintenance fees for the fourth and subsequent years must be paid annually before the anniversary of the original grant date.
There is a grace period of six (06) months with a 100% surcharge. The annual maintenance fee depends on the number of claims. It is possible to pay the annuities in an accumulated manner.
The Utility Model Act No. 123 of April 13, 1959 - safeguards the domain of utility models in Japan.
In Japan, inventions may be protected as utility models. For obtaining utility model protection in Japan, the invention must be a device that is related to the shape or structure of an article or combination of articles, industrially applicable, and characterized by creative technological concepts based on natural laws and rules. Utility models in Japan are subject to formal examination only. The validity term of a utility model in Japan is ten (10) years from the filing date.
Designs protection in Japan is stipulated in the Design Law Act No. 125 of April 13, 1959 (separately from the Patent Law), and is implemented by the Enforcement Law and the Enforcement Regulations of the Design Law.
The types of industrial design applications that can be filed in Japan include Non-Convention Application and Convention Application.
Multiple design applications are not possible in Japan. However, it is possible to file one application for registration of a set of articles (items that are used together and specifically designated by an Ordinance of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry as a set of articles, for instance, a set of a necklace and earrings, a set of a toothbrush and a cup, a set of chairs).
The duration of a design right (excluding design right of a Related Design) shall expire after a period of twenty (20) years from the date of registration of its establishment.
The grant fee, which includes annual maintenance fee for the first year, is to be paid within thirty (30) days from issuance of the notice of allowance. Upon request, the term for payment may be extended by thirty (30) days. Industrial design patents in Japan are valid for twenty (20) years from the date of registration. Annual maintenance fees are due from the second year of the validity term and should be paid by the end of the previous year.
Late payment is possible within a grace period of six (06) months with the corresponding surcharge.
Japan acceded to the Berne Convention in 1899.
The Copyright Act (Act No. 48 of 1970) is the basic legislation governing copyright protection in Japan.
The protection of copyright is a part of the responsibility of the cultural authorities of the Government of Japan, i.e., the Japan Copyright Office (JCO) of the Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA), which is a part of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT).
Copyright registration is not mandatory in Japan.Voluntary registration is available in recognition of creation of only in the case of computer program works.
Japanese Copyright Law provides that the term of copyright protection shall be fifty (50) years after the death of the author (in the case of a joint work, it shall be fifty (50) years after the death of the last surviving co-author) in principle (Article 51(2)), but also provides for certain exceptions (Article 52 and succeeding articles).
For cinematographic works (Article 54), the copyright protection term is seventy (70) years from the date on which the work is made public (if the work has not been made public within seventy (70) years after its creation, the copyright will expire seventy (70) years after the creation).
For anonymous and pseudonymous works (Article 52), the copyright protection term ends fifty (50) years following the making public of the work (if it is obvious that fifty (50) years have already passed since the death of the author, the copyright protection term expires at that point).
The term of copyright protection does not apply to an author’s moral rights; because of the inalienability of moral rights, they expire with the death of the author.