IP registration in Japan

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Trump Card for Countermeasures against Imitations

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. (TOPPAN) has developed the world’s first hologram that shines in pastel color when viewed from the front, and shines in monochrome when viewed from certain angles. And this hologram can be manufactured by only TOPPAN’s proprietary manufacturing method. Therefore, if this hologram is affixed only to a genuine article, we can easily distinguish authentic one.  


Trademark Race in Japan

Zen International Patents and Trademarks In 2019, the new emperor of Japan will take the throne. And when the new emperor succeeds to the throne, the new era name will be adopted. Many companies consider this as a business opportunity and are trying to register trademark containing characters of the new era name. The trademark rights is granted to the company that applied for trademark registration earliest. Therefore, as soon as a new era name is announced, Trademark Race to gain trademarks related to new era name will start. By the way, the new era name itself can not be registered as a trademark.

illustration of race

QR Code

Zen International Patents and Trademark The QR code was invented by a Japanese company, DENSO WAVE (DENSO at the time of invention).  Although DENSO owns several related patents, it has decided not to exercise the rights in order to standardize QR code. Nowadays, we can see QR code in various places. The QR code that links to the GO TOKYO tourist information site, appears even on the back of the uniform worn by the Tokyo Tourism Volunteers. (See below image) A QR code that is capable of being read in 360 degrees, is made of multiple rows and columns and a position marker is placed at the three corners of the …

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 …

11 Countries Except the United States Agreed in Principal on TPP

Zen International Patents and Trademarks In a ministerial meeting held in central Da Nang in central Vietnam on 11th November 2017, Japan and Vietnam, the presidencies, announced that 11 countries participating in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreeded in principle about the content of the new agreement named “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP)”. However, regarding the extension of the duration of the copyright to 70 years, 11 countries decided to continue discussion further. Japan is aiming to conclude the new agreement at an early date.

Illustration of TPP meeting

Trademark for the Game Boy

Zen International Patents and Trademark It turned out that Nintendo Co., Ltd. (Nintendo) filed a Japanese trademark application with respect to the mark which includes an image of the original Game Boy. The original Game Boy was a portable game machine released in 1989, and with this machine people enjoyed playing popular games such as Pokemon-Green, Pokemon-Red. In recent years, Nintendo sold “Nintendo Classic Mini” and “Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System” which miniaturized game machines sold in the past. Therefore, there is a rumor that Nintendo is planning to sell portable game machines that miniaturized the original Game Boy in the near future.

Trademark for the Game Boy

GI Protection – Nishio Matcha

Zen International Patents and Trademark The Japan Geographical Indication (GI) Law takes effect only in Japan and basically GI are not protected overseas. However, if a bilateral agreement between a foreign country and Japan related to conditions of GI mutual protection is reached, GI will be protected in a partner country.  In this meaning, GI protection system is expected to boost export of Japanese agricultural products. In this connection,  GI registration of “Nishio Matcha,” the brand name of finely ground green tea in Aichi Prefecture of Japan, was accepted in March 2017. This summer, it turned out that a Chinese company had filed a trademark for the mark similar to “Nishio Matcha” in …

Japanese Agricultural Product Name in China

Zen International Patents and Trademarks In recent years, it has become problems that trademarks related to Japanese agricultural product names were registered in China without permission. The other day, it turned out that a Chinese companiy registered trademark consisting of Kanji characters and having a meaning of “Sky berry” without permission. “Sky berry” is a popular large-sized strawberry breeded by Tochigi prefecture and traded at a high price. Tochigi prefecture is worried that this trademark may be an impediment to exporting “Sky berry” to China. Meanwhile, registered trademark “Iwate” was in the same situation revoked because an opposition made by Iwate Prefecture was approved. In this way, it may be possible …

illustration of strawberry

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” …

Foods with Function Claims

Zen International Patents and Trademark More than 2 years has passed since the system of “Foods with Function Claims” was introduced in Japan. The purpose of the system is to make more products available clearly labeled with certain nutritional or health functions and to enable consumers to make more informed choices. The market of “Foods with Function Claims” has been growing.  According to the report by Fuji Keizai, Japanese marketing research & consulting group, the market in 2015 was 30 billion yen, and in 2017 it is expected to reach 131 billion yen. It is reported that the sales of the Kagome’s (Kagome Co., Ltd.) tomato juice with label stating …

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