IP registration in Japan
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A shoulder strap for canes

Zen International Patents and Trademark A shoulder strap for canes named “ARUKUTOMO” has been featured on TV in Japan. The biggest feature of the product is that a cane will not fall on the floor even if a cane user let go the cane. “ARUKUTOMO”’s shoulder belt does not slip off a user’s shoulder easily and it is designed to enable the user to hook the cane. Mr. Kazuyoshi Endo invented the product after a stroke left him paralyzed on his left side of the body. People in the same situation as Mr. Endo, are very worried about dropping their canes since picking up them is extremely difficult. – For …

Instagram as a Marketing Tool

Zen International Patents and Trademark Nowadays, many Japanese companies try to use Instagram as a marketing tool. For example, a certain travel agency started to provide tours for people who want to visit ”photogenic places” in the world.  The tours are especially popular among young women. Some companies work on developing photogenic product labels (packages). The simple package of “THE chocolate” of Meiji Co., Ltd. released in September 2016 has become a topic in Instagram.  “The chocolate” has multiple lines and the package color is different depending on the taste of chocolate.  Some people enjoy producing bookmarks or accessories using the package and post on Instagram.  The sales of “THE chocolate” …

The Power of the Design in Branding Strategy

Zen International Patents and Trademark A well-designed logo is an important element in branding strategy. The logo can appeal to consumer’s sight, the most important sense, and remain in the memory with frequent exposure. Some companies succeeded in branding themselves by redesigning company logo. We believe Japanese apparel retailer, Uniqlo Co., Ltd., is that kind of company. Please see the below images.     The current logo was made by Kashiwa Sato, a famous designer, in 2006. The old logo is somewhat unsophisticated. On the other hand, the current one is simple and allows for easy recognition. Uniqlo made world debut at 2006 NY shop with the current logo, and …

Cooperation with Brazil in the Field of Industrial Property

Zen International Patents and Trademarks On August 1, 2017, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the National Institute of Industrial Property of Brazil (INPI) agreed on a memorandum of cooperation to expand cooperation in the field of industrial property. The outline of the memorandum is as follows:  Exchanging information on IP systems and practices at the Offices, such as IP strategy, IP international treaties, legislation, regulations, guidelines and manuals, as well as on statistical data on IP administration Cooperation on substantive examinations including the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) and the Examiner Exchange Program (enhanced initiative) Cooperation in the field of Information Technology Cooperation in the field of human resources development for the officials …

national flag of brazil

Fireworks and Design

Zen International Patents and Trademark Under Japanese Design Law, “Design” means the shape, patterns or colors, or any combination thereof, of an object which creates an aesthetic impression through the eye. In other words, the shape, form and external appearance of an object can be protected under Design Law. Therefore, the logo or character which do not directly connect with an object are out of protection.  Also, electricity, light, heat, sound etc. are out of protection since those are not recognized as objects. To be protected, it must be tangible. For example, the shapes and patterns of fireworks launched in the sky are not tangible objects, and can not be protected under …

Pet Coffin and IP

Zen International Patents and Trademark In Japan, when a pet passes away, it is usually cremated and its cremated remains are buried in a pet cemetery.  Memorial services for pet is also hold. In relation to death of a pet, many kinds of pet coffins are sold.  Among them, assembly type coffins made of cardboard seems to be the most popular.  (See the below image) The cardboard is a cheap, light and strong material, so that it is well suited to pet coffins. Some designs of pet coffins have been registered with Japan Patent Office. The following image is a design of a pet coffin that was registered in the …

JPO Gets First Female Commissioner

Zen International Patents and Trademarks The Japan Patent Office announced a new personnel affair on July 4, 2017. The most noteworthy personnel affairs is that Ms. Naoko Munakata was appointed as the first female Commissioner. She entered the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1984 and became the prime minister secretary in 2015. The share of female executives of Japanese listed companies is merely 3.4%, which is the lowest among developed countries. As the Japanese government aims for a society in which women’s participation will expand even further, she will be the symbol. Taking this opportunity, we hope that the number of female …

illustration of female

Industrial Design

Zen International Patents and Trademark The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced that it will establish the meeting for the study for discussing how to enhance industrial competitiveness by industrial design. The agenda such as how to establish a national strategy to promote industrial design or how to revise the Japanese Design Law will be discussed. Japanese Design Law does not seem to sufficiently address the demand for perfect protection of industrial designs.  Since the scope of rights is too narrow, it is unable to protect registered designs from copied designs. Japanese Design Protection system is not utilized well.  Actually, number of Design Applications in 2016 was only 30,879, …

Honda Miimo HRM520 Robotic Lawn Mower

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HONDA) launched the robotic lawn mower “Miimo HRM520” in Japan on June 28, 2017. It is the first time selling in Japan, although it had been sold in Europe since 2013. HONDA has been studying robots since 1986 and succeeded in developing the humanoid robot “Asimo”. Miimo* is the first product to apply that technology. Miimo* has a function of automatically returning to charge when the remaining battery level becomes low, as with iRobot “Rumba”. The basic design concept of Miimo and Asimo is similar, and they have partly round shape. The design of “Miimo HRM520” is protected by design rights in Japan. *Miimo is an abbreviation of “My Intelligent Mower”


Generic Furniture

Zen International Patents and Trademarks According to Wikipedia, “a generic drug” is a pharmaceutical drug that is equivalent to a brand-name product in dosage, strength, route of administration, quality, performance, and intended use.  In many cases, the drug manufactured and sold after patent has expired is referred to as “a generic drug”. Like a generic drug, in many cases, furniture manufactured after design rights owned by a famous designer has expired is referred as “generic furniture”. Although design is identical or similar to the original one, “generic furniture” is sold at a low price. The image below is one of furniture design registered to Japan Patent Office. (design registration no. …

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