The subject of protection of trademark is letters, diagrams, symbols, three-dimensional shapes and a combination thereof having the effect of identifying the subject of various products or services.
Starting in April 2015, motion mark, hologram mark, color per se mark, sound mark, and position mark can be registered as trademarks.
The whole procedure from filing to registration in Japan is shown in the flowchart below.
? In order to obtain a trademark right in Japan, one must submit an application for trademark registration to the Japan Patent Office (JPO).
? The JPO publishes the content of an application in the Official Gazette after filing.
? 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 there are no reasons for refusal, a decision to register a trademark is made.
? If the written argument and the amendment can not eliminate the reasons for refusal, and if the examiner judges that the trademark 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 trademark right is established. A Trademark Gazette is published containing the contents of the right of trademark registration.
? Any person may file an opposition to the decision to register the trademark with the Commissioner of the JPO. The term of trademark rights terminates in 10 years from the date of registration of establishment. However, the term of ten years may be renewed as many times as required by filing an application for registration of renewal of the term if necessary.