IP registration in Japan
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Intellectual Property

the word “TOKYO 2020”

Zen International Patents and Trademarks A citizen of Aichi Prefecture, selling pin badges with the word “TOKYO 2020” has been arrested. The word “TOKYO 2020” is a registered trademark owned by the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, the detection of infringement of the word mark “TOKYO 2020” is the first case in Japan. The suspect denied the charge and told he did not think the word “TOKYO 2020” is a trademark. Brand Protection Standers of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games specifies that all intellectual properties including emblems, logos and designations relating to the Olympic and Paralympic …

iTQi – The International Taste & Quality Institute

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Recently, lots of Japanese food and beverage companies have tried to win iTQi award. iTQi, “the international taste & quality Institute”, based in Brussels is the world’s leading organization dedicated to testing and promoting superior food and drink products. Taste and Quality of food/beverage is judged by food and drink opinion leaders such as Michelin starred Chefs and Sommeliers. One of our clients won the iTQi “Superior Taste Award 2017” and earned three stars, which is the highest mark. (We assisted them to file iTQi.) iTQi will grant a free license of use of iTQi related marks, such as logos and graphics, to the awarded companies for …

GI cooperation memorandum of understanding between Japan and Vietnam

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan and National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam signed cooperation memorandum of understanding relating to Geographical Indications protection system (GI) on June 2, 2017. Under the memorandum, Japan and Vietnam will cooperate with each other in terms of following things. (1) Promotion of GI in both countries (2) Exchange of information on GI (3) Spread enlightenment of GI (4) Set up official level meeting In Japan, 35 products have been registered so far.  On the other hand, 55 products has been registered in Vietnam.

Status of GI protection system in Japan

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Almost two years have passed since Geographical Indication (GI) protection system was enforced in Japan. Under the system, a sign used on agricultural, forestry and fishery products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin is protected as Intellectual Property. In this May, five products including “Miyagi Salmon” were newly registered.  (Please check here.) For now, 35 products in 25 prefectures among 47 prefectures in Japan has been registered. GI system is expected to contribute to regional revitalization. Source: http://www.maff.go.jp/j/shokusan/gi_act/register/31.html    

Japan-ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan

Zen International Patents and Trademarks From May 15 to 16, 2017,the 7th Japan – ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting and the ASEAN Intellectual Property Offices Symposium 2017  was held in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. At the meeting,  they agreed on the FY2017 Japan-ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan as follws: Studying for Forecasting the number of IP applications to IP offices in the ASEAN region and Proposing option ideas in terms of visions and policies, both of which will be conducted by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) Supporting accession of the ASEAN countries to the international treaties (Madrid Protocol/Hague Agreement) and supporting the operation thereof …

World Map

2016 Retail sales of character merchandise in Japan

 Zen International Patents and Trademarks 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, decreased by 1.8% from the previous year. Although retail sales related to adults consumer market has steadily increased, those related to kids consumer market have lowered and this result influenced decreace of total sales of 2016. In terms of character (retail sales) ranking, “Mickey Mouse” got the first place, the same as last year. Below are the rest of rankings: No. 2  Anpanman No. 3  Hello Kitty No. 4  Yo-kai Watch No. 5  Snoopy Among the above mentioned characters, except for Hello Kitty, all characteres are originally catoon characters.  

Brand Protection related to Tokyo Olympic Games-Paralympic Games

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Himeji City of Hyogo Prefecture announced on May 12, 2017  that it will remove the term “2020 Tokyo Olympic-Paralympic” from the mark which was designed to promote Himeji sports, culture and tourisum activities, looking ahead to Tokyo Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. Please see the image: The left one is the logo with the term “2020 Tokyo Olympic-Paralympic” & “Himeji Project”. The right one is the mark after removing the term “2020 Tokyo Olympic-Paralympic”.           (Image Source: https://mainichi.jp/articles/20170513/k00/00e/040/273000c)   According to the media report, Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games requested Himeji City not to use the term “2020 Tokyo Olympic-Paralympic”. Brand Protection Standers of …

How to protect regional branding of agricultural products

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Effective ways to protect regional branding of agrcultural procuts are to use a regional collective trademark system and (or) geographical Indication protection system. A regional collective trademark system was enforced in 2006 in Japan. For now, more than 600 regional collective trademarks have been registered.  However, this system do not assure of “quality” of agricultural products and in this respect it is not satisfactory system. In 2015, the Act on Protection of the Names of Specific Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Products and Foodstuffs (Geographical Indication (GI) Act) entered into force.  Diffrent from a regional collective trademark system, GI system assure quality of agricultural products. As of May 12, 2017, 30 GIs have …

Kao v.s. Daio Paper – Package design

Zen International Patents and Trademarks According to the media report on May 1, 2017, Kao Corporation filed a provisional disposition in the Tokyo District Court against Daio Paper Corporation to seek the suspention of sales of Daio’s sanitary napkin “elis Megami Suhada-no-kimochi”. Kao explains in it’s news release that comsumers confuse Kao’s sanitary napkin “Lorie F Shiawase-Suhada” and Daio’s “elis Megami Suhada-no-kimochi” and it is concerned about the adverse effect on Kao’s sales. The following images are Kao’s “Lorie F Shiawase-Suhada” and Daio’s “elis Megami Suhada-no-kimochi”.                                        On both packages, plant drawing and two colors are used.  In addition, the word “Suhada” (bare skin) is commonly used. However, personaly, we do not have an impression …

JPO plans to use AI in examination tasks

Zen International Patents and Trademarks According to media reports, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) in tasks such as examination of applications for patents, trademarks, and designs. AI is expected to be used for various complicated tasks, such as classification of patent applications into each technical fields, and investigation of prior art patents, utility models and designs. The demonstration project will start from this summer and the trial introduction will take place in 2018. In the future, many tasks of JPO might be replaced by AI.  

picture of JPO
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