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Trademark registration in Japan

Japan is a country with a highly developed economy, ranking third in the world in terms of GDP. Japan is a leading country in the field of science and technology. The country has many large and reputable technology corporations such as Sony, Panasonic, Toyota, etc. The Japanese government invests heavily in research and development (R&D), promoting innovation. Japan has a modern and developed transportation system, including roads, railways, waterways and airways. The country also has high-quality electricity, telecommunications, and internet systems. Due to the great potential for economic development, the Japanese government has many policies to support businesses and attract foreign investment. The legal and legal system in Japan is highly valued, creating a transparent and safe business environment. Therefore, more and more businesses are expanding their business scope in Japan, in order to be able to distinguish their brand from other competitors, businesses need to pay attention to trademark registration procedures. Viet An Law Firm would like to guide customers preliminarily through the procedures for trademark registration in Japan through the article below.

Trademark registration in Japan

Legal basis

  • Trademark Law (Law No. 127 of April 13, 1959, amended to October 1, 2022);
  • Other relevant legal documents

General overview of trademarks

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a mark used by manufacturers, distributors or service providers with respect to goods or services that distinguish them from goods and services provided by other parties of the same or similar type.

Effects of trademark registration

  • The granted trademark rights are valid throughout Japan, and the trademark owner has exclusive use rights to the specified goods and services without competition from any other party.
  • The use of the same or similar trademark by another party for goods or services of the same or similar type constitutes trademark infringement. The trademark owner may demand that the infringing party cease the infringement and pay damages.

Trademark Registration Process in Japan

The process of registering a trademark in Japan consists of the following main steps:

Filing: Submit a trademark application in the prescribed form to the Intellectual Property Office of Japan (JPO).

Publication of unverified application: JPO will publish the contents of the application in the Official Gazette after submission.

Procedural inspection: Check that the application meets the necessary procedural and formal requirements. JPO will request additional information if documents are missing or have not filled out the information.

Publication in the Trademark Gazette: Registered and valid trademarks shall be published in the Trademark Gazette. During this period, anyone can file an objection to the decision to register a trademark with the Director of JPO.

Content inspection: Check if the trademark meets the content requirements. The following trademarks will be rejected for failing to meet the requirements:

  • Do not help consumers distinguish the goods/services of the registrant from other parties.
  • Not to be registered for reasons of public interest or protection of private rights.

Where a trademark is approved for registration

Registration decision: JPO will make a trademark registration decision.

Registration (Payment of registration fee): After paying the registration fee, the trademark will be officially registered and take effect.

Where a trademark is refused registration

Notice of reason for rejection: If the application does not meet the content requirements, JPO will send a notice of reason for the rejection.

Written Argument/Amendment: The applicant may submit written arguments in response to the denial notice or amend the application to rectify the reason for the denial.

Registration decision: If there is finally no longer a reason for refusal, JPO will make a decision to register the trademark. After paying the registration fee, the trademark will be officially registered and take effect.

Decision to refuse: If a written argument and amendment fail to remedy the reasons for the refusal, the JPO will make a decision to refuse.

Appeal the denial decision: If the applicant is not satisfied with the JPO’s refusal decision, the applicant can appeal.

Trademark registration documents in Japan

To register a trademark in Japan, the applicant needs to submit a complete application to the Japan Patent Office (JPO). Here is a summary of the required documents:

Application form: The applicant uses the application form provided by JPO. The application form usually asks for information such as: Information about the applicant (Name, Address, etc.), Photographs or detailed description of the trademark, List of goods and/or services (Classification according to the Nice Classification System), Information about the right of way (if applicable)

Trademark representation: The applicant needs to submit a clear image of the applicant’s trademark. Can be image files, drawings, or detailed descriptions for non-visual trademarks (e.g. audio).

List of goods and/or services: The applicant clearly identifies the specific goods and/or services for which the applicant intends to use the trademark. The applicant can use the Nice Classification System to determine the appropriate classes for the goods/services of the applicant.

Power of attorney (if any): Authorization in case of filing through an intellectual property representative on behalf of the applicant.

Payment fee: Regular brand: ¥3,400 application fee + ¥8,600 per classification. The application fee after a decision to apply is approximately ¥32,900.

How to file for trademark registration in Japan

To file for trademark protection in Japan, customers can file using the following filing methods:

  • Direct filing: You can go directly to the Japan Patent Office (JPO) at 3-4-3 Kasumigaseki Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8915 to file the application and related documents.
  • By Post: You can send your application and all required documents via postal service or courier service to the address of the Japan Patent Office (JPO) at 3-4-3 Kasumigaseki Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8915.
  • Submit online via website:

Log in to the website and vehicle to guide the filing of a trademark registration in Japan https://www.jpo.go.jp/e/system/process/shutugan/yusen/das/document/jpo-tetsuduki-first/juryosho-sample.pdf    When filing online, you should pay attention to the payment of the relevant fee according to the instructions of the Japan Patent Office.

Registration of trademark protection in Japan through the Madrid System

The Madrid system is a convenient and cost-effective solution for global trademark registration and management. File a single international trademark application and pay a one-time fee to apply for protection in up to 130 countries. Claimants can modify, renew or expand their global trademark portfolio through a centralized system.

Madrid Protocol:

  • Japan accessed the Madrid Protocol on 14 March 2000.
  • The Madrid Protocol modernizes and simplifies the international registration system of trademarks established under the Madrid Agreement.
  • The Madrid Protocol allows trademark owners to designate additional member states to an international application already filed under the Madrid Agreement or Madrid Protocol.

Trademark registration dossier under the Madrid System

The Madrid Applications consist of the Madrid Singles of Vietnamese origin and the Madrid Applications with Japanese designations.

For the Madrid Application of Vietnamese origin, the applicant must submit through the state management agency for industrial property rights, i.e. the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam. According to Article 25 of Decree 65/2023/ND-CP, a Madrid application of Vietnamese origin includes the following documents:

  • Declaration of request for international registration of a trademark of Vietnamese origin (Form No. 01 in Vietnamese in Appendix II of Decree 65/2023/ND-CP);
  • 02 MM2 declarations according to the form of the International Office in English or French;
  • 02 trademark samples exactly as the trademark in the application filed in Vietnam (establishment application) or trademark registration certificate (establishment registration);
  • 02 MM18 declarations in English (if the application has a US designation);
  • Written authorization in Vietnamese (According to the form of Viet An Law Firm);
  • Documents of payment of fees for international registration of trademarks of Vietnamese origin;
  • Other relevant documents (if necessary).

Application fees through the Madrid System

The fees include:

  • Basic fee (653 Swiss francs; or 903 Swiss francs for a color mark) (Note! A 90% discount applies if the applicant lodges an application with the Intellectual Property Office of a developing country at least); and
  • Additional fees depend on where the claimant wishes to protect his trademark and the number of classes of goods and services he or she wishes to register. In order to expand its geographic reach, or modify or renew its international registration, the applicant will have to pay additional fees.

Trademark registration service in Japan of Viet An Law Firm

  • Perform the search and notify customers in writing of the results of trademark search in Japan;
  • Draft dossiers and directly file and monitor the status of trademark application filings in Japan on behalf of trademark owners;
  • Inform, advise and handle deficiencies/refusals of competent State agencies (if any) in the process of monitoring trademark applications in Japan;
  • Support monitoring, representing the resolution of objections and feedback with intellectual property representatives carrying out procedures in Japan.
  • Receive dispatches, certificates and hand over to customers (if any).

If you need to file a trademark application in Japan, please contact Viet An Law Firm for the most effective support.

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