The subject of protection of a design is an item which gives rise to a sense of beauty through a visual perception, such as the shape, pattern, color, and other design characteristics of items relating to their external appearance. A simple picture or drawing is not a valid subject.
The whole procedure from filing to registration in Japan is shown in the flowchart below.
? In order to obtain a design right in Japan, one must submit an application to the Japan Patent Office (JPO).
? The application submitted to the JPO is examined whether the application fulfills the substantive requirements.
? Where the application fails to meet the substantive requirements, a notification of reasons for refusal is sent.
? An applicant may submit a written argument against a notification of reasons for refusal and/or an amendment.
? If the examiner judges that the application fulfills the requirements, a design registration is registered.
? If the written argument and the amendment can not eliminate the reasons for refusal, and if the examiner judges that the design can not be registered, a decision of refusal is made.
? When dissatisfaction is in the decision of refusal of the examiner, the applicant may appeal against the decision of refusal. The appeal examination against the decision of refusal is performed by a collegial body of appeal examiners.
? When the applicant pays the registration fee subsequent to receipt of the decision to register, the design right is established. A Design Gazette is published containing the contents of the right of design registration. The term of design right terminates in 20 years from the date of registration of establishment.