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Law Amendment (Japanese Patent Law, Design Law and Trademark Law)

A. Japanese Patent Law

 

(1) Bailout measures 

Bailout measures under Patent Law before April 1, 2015 did not apply to foreign residents. 

However, in line with an international trend in developing legislation concerning bailout measures, Japanese Patent Law has been amended and it has become effective from April 1, 2015. According to the amended Patent Law, foreign residents can file a request for extension of a term for filing, filing a request for examination and other procedures as mentioned in Table 1 in cases where an applicant resident abroad/domestic fail to do the same procedure for any reason attributable to the applicant, such as natural disaster or the like. 

These measures will also be applied to the same cases covered by the Utility Model Law, Design Law, Trademark Law, and Law on International Applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

For more detailed information, please see the following URL:
https://www.jpo.go.jp/torikumi_e/hiroba_e/philippines.htm

Table 1:A list of bailout measures

(2) Post-Grant Opposition System re-introduced(Article 113 to Article 120-8)
 

The following table summarizes differences between the new opposition system and the previous one abolished in 2003.
 

Table 2:New Opposition System V.S. Previous Opposition System.

B. Japanese Design Law

 

The Hague Agreement takes effect for Japan from May 13, 2015. 

Japan acceded to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. The law enables applicants to file a single international design application to pursue protection in multiple jurisdictions across the globe.

There have been such systems for having a single filing or registration to cover a wide range of countries such as Madrid Agreement for Trademarks, or Patent Cooperation Treaty for patents.

However, the most important points which are very different from Madrid Agreement for Trademark or PCT are as follows:

1. The application may also be filed electronically through the electronic filing interface (E-filing) available on the WIPO web site. (URL:http://www.wipo.int/hague/en/)

2. An international application does not require any prior domestic application or registration.

Foreign applicants, wishing to designate Japan, will also able to protect their designs through an implementation act for properly examining applications in accordance with the agreement. For more detailed information, please see the following URL:https://www.jpo.go.jp/english/applications/hague_notes_e.htm   

C. Japanese Trademark Law

(1) Expanding the scope of protection(effect from April 1, 2015) 

The following “new types of marks” are to be protected within the scope of protection under the revision of the Trademark Law: 

● Trademark concerning Motions
● Hologram Trademark
● Trademark concerning only of Colors
● Sound Trademark
● Trademark concerning Positions

For more detailed information, please see the following URL:
https://www.jpo.go.jp/tetuzuki_e/t_tokkyo_e/t_manual_2014.htm
https://www.jpo.go.jp/seido_e/s_shouhyou_e/outline_trademark.htm 

(2) Applicant eligibility requirement for filing a Regional Collective Trademarks application.(effective from August 1, 2015) 

Revisions have been made with respect to eligible entities of regional collective trademarks. Under the revised trademark law, trademark owner can be: a commerce and industry association; a chamber of commerce; a specified non-profit corporation (or NPO); or any other foreign corporation comparable to those mentioned above, all of whom are responsible for popularizing regional brands.

For more detailed information, please see the following URL:http://www.jpo.go.jp/sesaku_e/regional_brands.htm