Introduction to Trademark Registration Process for Japan

Trademark Meaning

Trademark refers to any type of word, symbol or logo which is used to represent the product or business. Once your trademark gets registered with proper paperwork and fees are paid then no other organization or party can use the same. In this article, we explain the process concerning the trademark registration in Japan.

In addition to words, logos and three-dimensional marks and non-traditional marks that can be registered may include:-

  • Colors (Owens-Corning registers pink color as the pink panther on the use of packaging)
  • Sounds( When applying for a sound mark the mark can be represented by a sound file or by an exact description of the sound in notation. For example, the roar of MGM Lion registered in Canada in 1992)
  • Positions(The parts that are not included in the exclusive right should be separated from the trademark in the representation, for example by dashed or unbroken lines. For example, the logo of a registered trademark is denoted by a circle outside “R”. )
  • Motion(In an animated logotype mark can be represented either by a video file or a series of still images that show the motion. As who has not played the dinosaur game of Google)
  • Hologram marks(For example Glaxo Group’s trademark  appear on their packaging of goods such as toothpaste, dental floss, and mouth wash)

About Trademark Registration Japan

  • The relevant authority for filing the trademark application in Japan is the Japan Patent Office.
  • The Japan Trademark Act is the applicable legislation.
  • Scents, flavours, and textures will not register as trademarks.
  • Only a legal and natural person can own a trademark.
  • After trademark filing, it will take 6-12 months on an average for the trademark to be registered.
  • A trademark is valid for a period of 10 years after which you have to get it renewed.
  • In Japan, collective marks are recognized under certain conditions but no certification marks are recognized.

Requirements for filing a Trademark registration Japan

  • The applicant’s full name, address, and nationality
  • Details of the mark
  • Analysis of Goods and/or services to be trademarked which signifies the classes of trademark.
  • No Power of Attorney or any other formal documents from the applicant is in principle required.

trademark registration japan

Trademark Registration Process in Japan

Trademark Search – We have to make a search to determine whether there are registered marks that are similar to your proposed mark. The search will help you to determine whether the proposed mark may be registered or not. There are benefits of trademark registration which provides protection against trademark infringement rights.

  1. Application

    An applicant has to file an application by filling the forms prescribed in the relevant ordinances. Then submit them to the JAPAN PATENT OFFICE.

  2. Publication of Unexamined Application

    After filing an application JPO submits the content of an application in Official Gazette.

  3. Formality Examination

    The application gets examine to check if it fulfills the necessary procedural and formal requirements or not. Together with, if any document is missing or required sections are unfilled then it will be notified to the applicant.

  4. Substantive Examination

    Substantive requirements must also get fulfilled by the applicant. If it does not meet the substantive requirements then trademarks will be refused.

    (a)When consumers are not able to differentiate between goods and services which belong to another party. (b)If the trademarks are unregistrable for reasons of private interests or of public interest.

  5. Notification of Reasons for Refusal

    A notification with reasons for refusal will send if the application fails to meet the substantive requirements.

  6. Written Argument / Amendment

    Against a notification of reasons for refusal, the applicant has to submit either a written argument or an amendment that would invalidate the reasons.

  7. Decision of Registration 

    If a decision of registration will be made there are no reasons for refusal.

  8. Decision of Refusal 

    A decision of refusal will be there if a written argument and an amendment cannot eliminate the reasons for refusal.

  9. The appeal against Decision of Refusal

    The applicant may appeal against the decision of refusal if he is not satisfied with the decision of the examiner.

  10. Appeal Examination against the decision of refusal

    The collegial body of three or five appeal examiners can examine an appeal against the decision of refusal. After examining if they find that the reason for refusal has been resolved then the trademark registration takes place. If the reason for refusal has not been resolved then the trademark does not get registered.

  11. Registration (Registration Fee Payment)

    The registration of the trademark right will come into force after the payment of the registration fee.

  12. Publication of a Trademark Gazette-

    The content publishes on the trademark gazette for the trademark right gets registered and comes into force.

  13. Opposition

    If any person objects to the trademark registration, it has to be filed with the Commissioner of the JPO.

  14. Appeal for Invalidation / Revocation

    Any person may appeal for the invalidation of the trademark if it has a flaw, even after a trademark has been registered.
    Moreover, an appeal for revocation may be filed if there is no use of a trademark after registration for three years or more.

  15. Appeal Examination (Invalidation / Revocation) 

    An appeal examination of invalidation/revocation is performed by a collegial body of three or five appeal examiners.

    About invalidation, if the appeal examiners judge that there is no flaw in the decision to register a trademark, they will make a decision to maintain the trademark registration. However, if they judge that the decision to grant was flawed, they will take a decision to revoke the trademark right.
    About revocation, when a trademark holder cannot prove using the trademark, an appeal decision of revocation is performed, and the trademark right is revoked.

  16. Intellectual property High Court   

    If an applicant is dissatisfied with an appeal decision of refusal of an appeal against the decision of refusal, or if an interested party is dissatisfied with an appeal decision of invalidation, revocation or maintenance then they may appeal to the Intellectual Property High Court and resolve their problem.

Description of Goods and Services for Trademark

Goods and Services classify according to the Examination Guideline which is edited by the JPO based on the Nice Classification System. It is permissible to claim whole-class headings only when headings are in accordance with the Examination Guideline. This would give protection across the whole class, provided that the applicant understands that its goods/services of interest fall into the same category with any of the headings.  A specific description is recommended even if the applicant is not sure whether a particular good/service can be cover by a heading. The description “all goods in class” is not permissible.

Refusal/Opposition of Trademark Registration Japan

Application to trademark registration in Japan will be opposed if:-

  • A mark lacks distinctiveness, e.g. it is generic or descriptive in connection with goods/services, too simple or too common.
  • The examiner finds that the mark is confusingly similar to a third party’s registered prior mark and the goods/services are in conflict with each other, or with non-registered but well-known prior marks.
  • The third party’s mark is very famous, even if the goods/services are not in conflict with each other.


In conclusion, the Trademark Law and its related regulations govern the registration and protection of trademarks in Japan. The Examination Guidelines for Trademarks plays an important role in the examination of trademark applications at the JPO. Revisions to the examination guidelines are underway and additional revisions, for example, guidelines on judging the similarities between trademarks are currently under discussion.

You will have an amazing experience if you get your trademark registration Japan with our website trademark cart. For the best services, you can give us a call at +91 8750008585. We also provide the best services for trademark registration in the USA, trademark registration in India, trademark registration in Australia.

Related Articles
Trademark filing
Trademark Search and Trademark Classification
Exclusionary Rights of a Registered Trademark Owner

By | 2019-07-04T12:17:57+00:00 July 2nd, 2019|Trademark|

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