The protections granted under the Japan Design Law last for 20 years. This protection of the design provides considerable benefit to the design’s creator. Having the monopoly right to exclusively market a product with a design, or license it out to others, can be a very profitable business. However, payment of an annual fee is required to maintain these protections. This annual fee increases the longer the protection is maintained. This makes sense because the longer the monopoly right lasts, the larger the potential benefit to the right holder. In addition, for some designs, even after the 20 years of protection have expired, if the design has become famous enough it may qualify for further protection under the Unfair Competition Prevention Law.
If you have any questions about design law in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.