What is a trademark?
A trademark is a name or mark used to distinguish a customer's product or service from other companies' products or services, and can be protected by filing and registering with the Japan Patent Office.
Features of our office in trademark registration application
In recent years, simply filing and registering trademarks is not enough to protect your precious brand. It is necessary to be fully prepared in case of emergency, such as license negotiations with other companies and infringement cases.
Furthermore, in the present globalization, it is necessary to fully consider the acquisition of rights in foreign countries. We have a lot of experience in protecting intellectual property in foreign countries, e.g., Europe, the United States, India, China, South Korea, Singapore and emerging Asian countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia and so on, which are getting more important as new markets these days. We provide total support for companies considering overseas expansion, such as acting on behalf of complicated procedures with the embassies of each country.
Protect your rights and avoid risks
Applying for a trademark may seem easier than applying for a patent or the like. However, if a person who does not have sufficient knowledge only applies formally, he / she may get into unexpected troubles. For example, when applying, it is necessary to specify the category of "goods / services". However, it is often difficult to determine which category the products you handle belong to, so you may find that your products are not included in the right after it is registered.
Also, if you are thinking, "Trademark registration is still too early. …", the reputation of your product may increase before you knew it. When you think that it is about time to get a trademark right, you might receive a "warning letter" which notifies the trademark infringement. If this happed, you would have to change your "store name" or "product name" credibility of which has been built up through your efforts up to that point, and your business partners would be forced a great inconvenience by collecting your products using the trademarks. That may lead to a situation where you lose the credibility you have built up.
In order to avoid such risks, it is very important to secure trademark rights before your business goes into full swing. Especially in recent years, the Internet has increased the opportunities for even small business entities to be known worldwide, so it is thought that the environment is becoming easier for others to find the use of your unregistered trademark and exercise their rights.
Flow from trademark application to acquisition of rights
This is the procedure from filing a trademark application to obtaining a right. The following flow is just a basic flow and may differ depending on cases.
- When a trademark is filed with the Japan Patent Office, the trademark will be listed in the trademark publication. Anyone can access the content of the application as a "public patent document" for free through the official website J-PlatPat (Japan Platform for Patent Information).
Although a patent is published one year and six months after filing, the trademark is published as soon as it is ready after filing. (Currently about 30 - 40 days after filing)
- Formality examination
- The officer of the Patent Office will check the application documents for any errors in formalities. At this point, the substantial examination will not be done.
- Substantive examination
- If the application has no deficit under the formality examination, it undergoes substantive examination. Unlike patents, trademarks do not require the request for examination.
The examiner of the Japan Patent Office conducts a substantive examination of the trademark application. Specifically, whether or not the application meets the requirements for obtaining a trademark right, and in other words, whether or not the application has a reason for refusing the registration (reason for refusal). Here, The "decision of a grant" is made for the application that meets all the requirements.
- Notice of reasons for refusal
- Even if the reason for refusal is notified, it does not mean that a decision of refusal will be made immediately. You can respond to the notified reason for refusal by submitting a written opinion or making an amendment. As a result, it is possible to obtain a trademark right if the reason for refusal is resolved.
- Preparation and submission of written opinions and amendments
- In response to the reasons for refusal notified by the JPO, you can submit a written opinion or make amendments for the application. If the reasons for refusal can be resolved through these procedures, the registration of the trademark will be granted.
- Decision of registration
- If there is no reason for refusal in the application, or if the reason for refusal is resolved by submitting a written opinion or making an amendment, the examiner of the JPO will approve the registration and issue the "notice of allowance". However, at this point, the trademark right has not yet been issued.
- Payment of registration fee
- You can choose to pay the JPO in a lump sum for 10 years or in installments for 5 years within 30 days from the date of issuing the notice of allowance. When you pay the registration fee, the registration of the right will be made.
- Rights acquisition
- When the registration is established, the trademark right will arise and you will receive a "registration certificate".
- Renewal of rights
- Trademark rights protect the business credibility accumulated in trademarks, so as long as you continue to use the trademark, the right needs to continue. However, since it is necessary to sort out unnecessary trademark rights, duration of 10 years is set and the rights are allowed to continue by renewal registration procedures if necessary. The application for renewal registration must be done from 6 months before the expiration of the date of expiration.
* We will send you the deadline notification and take procedures for maintaining rights on your behalf.
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