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Intellectual Property

GI Protection between Japan and the EU

Zen International Patents and Trademark Japan and the EU have reportedly reached a political agreement in principle on an Economic Partnership Agreement. (The negotiations were launched in 2013.) The agreement includes the term related to bilateral Geographical Indications (GI) protection which aim to encourage the export of well-known agricultural products mutually. Japan is supposed to protect 210 items of the EU, while the EU is supposed to protect about 40 items. To begin with, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan gave public notice of information on 71 items which the EU seeks the same level protection in Japan as they experience in the EU. The well-known names in the Japanese market, …

Japan and EU Reached a Broad Accord on the Conclusion of EPA.

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Japan and the EU held summit talks in Brussels on July 6, 2017 and reached a broad accord on the conclusion of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). This EPA will lead to tariff reduction of cheese and automobiles, facilitation of customs procedures and unification of protection system of intellectual property rights. Particularly in the protection of intellectual property, mutual protection of geographical indications (GI) will be put into effect. We hope that through this agreement, the awareness of GI in Japan will increase more and more.

shake hands

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, …

Partnership between Toyo Shinyaku and Kyoto University

Zen International Patents and Trademark Toyo Shinyaku Co.,Ltd., one of Japanese leading companies in health foods and cosmetics field, announced that it signed a partnership agreement with the Kyoto University on June 29, 2017. Since Toyo Shinyaku is an ODM manufacture, the company name is behind the scenes. (ODM: an original design manufacturer) However, it is famous for it’s strong R&D capabilities and abundant performance. On the other hand, Kyoto University is one of the most accomplished research-oriented universities and has produced many Nobel Prize laureates including Dr. Shinya Yamanaka who first succeeded in establishment of iPS cells. It is expected to create new markets for health foods and cosmetics through promotion of joint …

Japan Character Award 2017ーThe grand prize was given to ”Pokemon”

Zen International Patents and Trademarks On June 28, 2017, Japan Character Award 2017 ceremony was held at Tokyo Big Sight.  The award is given to the most prominent character properties in Japan in the past year. The grand prize was given to “Pokemon”. Pokemon might be loved by people of all ages. Pokemon Go has been as big hit around the world, attracting not only kids but also adults. In addition, retail sales of Pokemon goods has increased steadily and gave a big influence to the market. By the way, according to the data provided by Character Databank Corporation, retail sales of character merchandise in Japan reached one trillion and six hundred billion yen in 2016. Japan …

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. …

Annual Report on the Office of Intellectual Property Protection (2017)

Zen International Patents and Trademarks The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and related ministries released the Annual Report on the Office of Intellectual Property Protection. This report summarizes countermeasures against counterfeit and pirated goods in the past year. The points of this report are as follows: The number of consultation cases marked a record high The number of consultation on the Internet continues to be a high proportion  Among cases of counterfeit goods which countries of manufacture were identified, the number of products manufacture in China were the largest The proportion of trademark infringement is high

Number of consultations and cases where information was provided

“G-SHOCK” experiences a resurgence in popularity

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Casio G-SHOCK, which was released from Casio Computer Co., Ltd. in 1983, is now experiencing a resurgence in popularity. G-SHOCK shipments in fiscal 2016 was 8.5 million units and reached record high. Well-known brands like “G-SHOCK” are often targeted for imitation. In the past, a huge number of “G-SHOCK” counterfeit products including those with the mark such as “A-SHOCK” etc.  appeared in the markets. Casio owns 26 trademark registrations from “A-SHOCK” to “Z-SHOCK” as a countermeasure for imitation. By the way, “G” of the G-SHOCK is the word derived from “gravity”.

Impact of strawberry varieties being brought to Korea without permission

Zen International Patents and Trademarks According to the report of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Japan (MAFF), 90% of the strawberries cultivated in Korea are regarded as varieties imported from Japan to Korea without permission. If these varieties were not brought into Korea and cultivated, it would have been possible to export the strawberries from Japan to Korea. MAFF estimates that this damage would be up to 22 billion yen in five years. In contrast, the export value of Japanese strawberries for the past year was 1.1 billion yen. In order to improve this situation, MAFF has decided to support the registration of plant variety overseas.  


Welcome back ”Aiwa”

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Great but almost forgotten brand, ”Aiwa” reportedly will make a come back. In February, “Towada Audio” of Akita Prefecture in Japan was granted “Aiwa” brand license from Sony and established a new company to release CD boombox, 4K TV equipment and other equipment from September. Speaking of ”Towada Audio”, it has build a strong relationship with Sony for a long time as EMS (Electronics Manufacturing Services) supplier. This news is a hot topic among strong fan of ”Aiwa” brand in Japan.  

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