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Japan’s IP scene saw a slight shift with the promulgation of the revision to the Patent and Trademark Acts in May 2021. To curb the rampaging number of counterfeited goods imported by individuals, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) has widened the scope of what qualifies as ‘trademark infringement’. Now, any import of counterfeit goods via postal mail, even for private use, will be treated as such. Second, to adapt to the new, post-pandemic reality, the JPO has leveraged the use of virtual technologies: in oral proceedings, the use of online meeting tools is officially permitted, and international application status updates will be issued via email. The JPO has also reviewed the structure of IP-related fees, which are expected to go up from April 2022. Trademark registration and renewal fees will increase by 17% and 12%, respectively. Trademark filing fees for both domestic and international applications remain unchanged. Finally, the requirements for the reinstatement of rights have been relaxed.
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