IP registration in Japan

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Business Model Patent in Japan

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Since the late 1990s, business model patents including Amazon’s one-click patent attracted attention. Similarly in Japan, many patent applications related to business models were made in the early 2000s. However, the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) did not have clear definition and Examination Guidlines for business model patent at that time, so confusion occurred in the patent examination. After that, various discussions were made, JPO defined business model patents in Japan as devices and methods that realize business using Information Technology (IT). In addition, JPO made Examination Guidlines for business model patent. Since this Examination Guidlines was made after patent application, most of the patent applications filed in …

business model patent in Japan

Rice Cake Patent Dispute

Zen International Patents and Trademark Speaking of Japanese traditional foods, a rice cake (Japanese “mochi”) is cited.  Although a rice cake does not seem to relate to patents, it was involved in serious patent disputes in the past. That’s a case of conflict between Echigo Seika, Co.,Ltd. and Sato Foods, Co.,Ltd. over cut rice cakes with slits, which are packaged one by one in order to keep a fresh state. Echigo Seika acquired a patent related to the slits provided in side surfaces of a cut rice cake.  By providing slits, when baked, a rice cake shape remains good. (Please refer to the figure related to Echigo Seika patent. )   …

The Place of Relocation of the Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs was Decided

Zen International Patents and Trademarks The Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan (ACAJ) is one of the administrative agencies handling intellectual property rights. ACAJ administers the registration of copyright (excluding the copyright of the program). ACAJ moving plan from Tokyo to Kyoto has already been decided, and the details was reported on july 25, 2017. The new office will be located in the building of the Kyoto police headquarters. According to the move , 250 people, equivalent to 70% of those working at ACAJ, will move from Tokyo to Kyoto, but the department handling copyrights will remain in Tokyo. Since our office is located in Tokyo, we will be able to smoothly represent the copyright registration procedure even after ACA …


Dahlia Cultivation Using Bamboo Powder

Zen International Patents and Trademark One of the flowers that are sold at the highest prices in Japan is Dahlia. Dahlia is native to Mexico and it is believed that the Dutch introduced it to Japan. There is an area that is engaged in industrial promotion using Dahlia.  It’s Hanawa town of Fukushima prefecture. In Hanawa town’s “Dahlia Garden” of 7 thousand square meters, 5 thousand Dahlias are cultivated. In this Garden, “bamboo powder agriculture method” is adopted for making soil for Dahlia cultivation. This is a unique farming method that spreads bamboo powder on the soil. Bamboo powder is made by machines.  Bamboo powder is consist of organic substances …

University decided to stop the use of it’s abbreviated name

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Japanese poeple become to pay more attention to the trademark rights after contravarsial issue that the logo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games designed by Mr. Sano was allaged to be plagiarised, occured. According to the news on 21st July 2017, Iwate prefectural university decided to stop to use it’s abbreviated name “IPU”, since incorporated school of Soshi Gakuen claimed trademark infringement. Soshi Gakuen is one of educational institutions and the owner of trademark “IPU”. This is a rare case that an educational institution claims based on trademark rights to a university, but such cases may often happen in the future.


Diapers for Pets

Zen International Patents and Trademark In Japanese aging society with declining birthrate, market share of disposable diapers for adults is bigger than that of disposable diapers for babies. To increase sales of disposable diapers for babies, each diaper manufacturing company has put emphasis on attracting foreign consumers. By the way, recently demand for other types of diaper has increased. That is a disposable diaper for an aging pet! Take Unicharm company for example, they have developed functional and fashionable diapers for dogs. (please see the image) The product name is “マナーウエア (manners wear)”, that is trademark registered in Japan. The concept is that pet owners enjoy going out with their …

Food for Elderly People in Japan

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Elderly people may not be able to eat hard foods because chewing and swallowing power become weaker. Not only the taste but also the shape of food is related to the feeling of delicious in our brain. The soft foods of which shape is the same as original one, have been developed so that the elderly people eat deliciously. For example, the “Kishu Tanabe shime promotion council” composed of Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture and Kinan Agricultural Cooperative developed new food for nursing care food (See picture below). The shape of this food looks like “Umeboshi”, but it is made by mixing plum meat and polysaccharide thickening (this substance has the …


Matching Events Related to Technology Transfer

Zen International Patents and Trademarks Recently, several matching events are held in Japan to support to transfer technologies between large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through these events, the cases of licensing patents owned by large companies to SMEs have been increasing. For example, in a matching event conducted by Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, large companies such as Fujitsu Limited, Toshiba Corporation, Hitachi, Ltd., NEC Corporation, Ajinomoto Co., Ltd. participated. According to press release, as a result, 25 matches were completed, and finally 18 products were newly developed. Japanese large companies seem to have strategies for taking advantage of their patents as much as possible. We would like to keep paying attention to this trend.  


The General Assembly Meeting of the Japan Seed Trade Association

Zen International Patents and Trademark Just one month ago, we attended the General Assembly Meeting of the Japan Seed Trade Association (JSTA) in Kochi prefecture. More than 200 representatives and senior executives of seeds & seedlings companies nationwide, including major companies such as Sakata Seed Corporation, attended. Putting effort into IP protection related to plants, we have became the supporting member of JSTA since this fiscal year and attended the General Assembly for the first time. We were surprised to know each of seeds & seedlings companies have a long history.  Some companies were established more than 150 years ago. It seems difficult to entry into the seeds & seedlings industry. …

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, …

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