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The Japanese share in the global market for innovative technologies is increasing not only due to its own unique technical solutions, but also due to the utilization of foreign inventions and other IP objects by Japanese companies. 

To this end, the relevant legal norm requires foreign companies wishing to operate in the Japanese market to obligatorily grant licenses for their technology to all Japanese companies that express their interest in concluding a license agreement. And that’s not all! In order to save Japanese companies from high royalties on such agreements, the maximum royalties are strictly regulated at the government level.

To stimulate domestic companies to constant technological progress, the government also puts forward the following requirements for Japanese companies: A company that wants to use foreign development and obtain a foreign license must provide convincing evidence that it has the appropriate capabilities to effectively use innovative foreign technical solutions.

Features of Trademark Registration in Japan

Registration of a trademark in Japan gives its owner the exclusive right to use the mark, and the right to compensation for losses if the rights to this trademark are violated.  If you intend to register a Japanese trademark, then you should know that a trademark will be registered by the Japan Patent Office only provided that it has obvious distinctive features and does not contradict moral standards or public order.

Trademark registration in Japan is regulated by the Trademark Law, and the amendment to this Law as of 2015 allows non-traditional marks such as colors and sounds be registered as trademarks. 

It is very easy to register a TM in Japan using the online application. The requirements for preparing documents for registering TM in Japan are very simple and include the following:

  • the mark graphic representation;
  • applicant’s name and address;
  • indication of goods/services that should be covered.

Before filling out the form and submitting an application, it is strongly recommended that you search for trademarks.

The State Patent Office will give its approval for the registration of TM within the period of up to 10 months from the date of filing an application for registration of TM in Japan. A trademark registration certificate will be issued after payment of fees within approximately one month.

Who can register a TM in Japan?

First of all, any Japanese individual or legal entity that uses or will use a trademark in Japan in connection with its business can register TM in Japan. Foreigners residing in Japan or having a residence permit, as well as legal entities operating in Japan, or if a foreign legal entity appoints its representative in Japan, can also apply for TM registration in Japan.

Validity of TM in Japan

A trademark in Japan is valid during 10 years from the date of registration. In case you want to renew it, all you need to do is submit a request for TM renewal in Japan within 6 months before the expiration date. If the registered trademark has not been used in Japan by the owner or his licensee for 3 consecutive years, any person can initiate legal proceedings to cancel such registration of TM.

IP Protection Policy in Japan

Intellectual property creation and careful protection are among the priority areas of state policy in Japan. In 2000, the Government of Japan defined the transformation of the nation into an information society based on intellectual property as a national idea. Government policy pursued by the authorities pays priority attention to inventions, creativity and the production of innovative goods and services. Using intellectual property as the main resource in the economy is the only way to maintain a leading position in the global economy for a country lacking in natural resources. 

At the legal level, Japan has developed relevant documents detailing the legal relations and their development in the field of IP up to 2025. The main objective of strategic calculations in Japan is to achieve global dominance in the IP market in the very near future. And, as evidenced by inexorable statistics, it has been doing very well so far.

The main principles for implementing a policy of business expansion in the field of IP are:

  • The maximum stimulation of the processes of intellectual creativity within the country and the effective use of its results;
  • Creation of an advanced legal system of IP protection, which is able to fully regulate legal relations in the field of IP from the moment of creation of IP objects to the moment of their active introduction into production, promotion on the market and transfer of exclusive rights in full or in part, that is, by alienation or issuance of licenses or franchise sales;
  • Active use of not only domestic innovative developments, but also unique foreign technical solutions.

Japan effectively uses foreign experience, attracting the best specialists and allowing advanced foreign companies to enter the Japanese market.

IP Dispute Resolution in Japan

The most acceptable way to resolve the IP dispute in Japan is arbitration. Active institutions in relation to such disputes are the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association ( and the Japan Arbitration Center for Intellectual Property (

The use of mediation is also encouraged if both parties agree to resolve the dispute peacefully. The number of arbitration cases involving intellectual property in this country is small. The only exceptions are disputes over domain names which are at all time high.

IQ Decision UK lawyers will provide assistance if you plan to register a TM in Japan, or you can order a consultation on the registration of a Japanese brand.