Intellectual Property

January 1, 2018

What is the most common reason for rejecting a trademark application in Japan?

When applying for a trademark, it is very important to provide an accurate and detailed description of the designated goods or services related to the trademark.  The trademark should either be already in use or there should be plans to use it in the future relating to these goods or services.  A majority of trademark applications that are denied are rejected for an inadequate description of the goods or services.  This specific ground for rejection is especially common for foreign applicants for trademarks and as much as 70% of rejected foreign trademark applications are due to unclear descriptions of the […]
December 7, 2017

What are an author’s moral rights?

Moral rights differ from normal rights to a copyright in that they serve to protect an author’s image even in cases where there is otherwise no infringement.  For example, an author’s moral rights might be violated when his or her work is used in a way that damages the author’s reputation, such as if a composer’s religious hymn is used as the background music for a pornographic movie.  Even if this behavior would otherwise not infringe on the author’s copyright, the author may claim that his or her moral rights have been infringed by use of the work.
November 17, 2017

Can I prevent a third party from filing for a patent in Japan?

When someone is trying to patent something in Japan that is not unique or for some other reason should not be patentable, third parties are allowed to intervene in the patent application process to argue against granting the patent.  These interventions can even be filed anonymously and, if successful, will prevent the granting of a patent for products that are not unique or not patentable for some other reason.
October 19, 2017

What are the unique aspects of Japan’s Design Law?

While Japan’s Design Law provides much of the same protection as other intellectual property laws around the world, it also has a few unique elements that provide protections not found in other countries.  For example, since 2006, the Japanese Design Law also protects the design of screens for cell phones, DVD recorders and other electronics that are not normally subject to protection in other countries.