Region: Japan

Marks consisting of Ethiopian geographical names held to be distinctive

The IP High Court has reversed a Patent Office decision in which the latter had invalidated trademark registrations owned by the Ethiopian government for the marks SIDAMO and YIRGACHEFFE for coffee and coffee beans. The court ruled that the marks were not merely geographical names indicating origin, but were recognized among dealers and consumers as brand names or types of high-quality coffee beans from Ethiopia.

19 May 2010

Use of 'smiley' device mark not proper use by non-exclusive licensee

The IP High Court has reversed a Patent Office trial decision in which the latter had rejected an action for the cancellation of a 'smiley face' device mark. Among other things, the court ruled that the defendant had failed to prove the use of the mark by the non-exclusive licensee and others within the meaning of Article 50(2) of the Trademark Law.

11 March 2010

LOVECOSME story ends in victory for mark owner

The IP High Court has reversed a decision of the Patent Office in which the latter had invalidated the trademark LOVECOSME. The court ruled that the trademark LOVECOSME was not similar to the earlier registered LOVE trademarks in English or Japanese katakana characters under Article 4(1)(11) of the Trademark Law.

08 July 2009

Japanese prefectures stamp out ‘trademark takeovers’ in China

Japanese prefectures have applied to register their names as trademarks in China to stop third parties using the marks to sell local products, a practice known as ‘trademark takeovers’.

20 February 2009

Shape of Guylian chocolates registered as 3D mark

The IP High Court has allowed the registration of the shape of confectionery manufacturer Guylian’s shell-shaped chocolates as a three-dimensional trademark. The decision is significant in that the court concluded that the mark itself was distinctive without considering whether it had acquired distinctiveness through use.

05 December 2008

Shape of Coca-Cola bottle registered as three-dimensional mark

The IP High Court has reversed a decision of the Patent Office in which the latter had rejected the registration of the shape of the Coca-Cola bottle as a three-dimensional trademark. The court ruled that although the mark was descriptive under Article 3(1)(3) of the Trademark Law, it had acquired the degree of distinctiveness required under Article 3(2) of the law.

19 September 2008

'Real draught' mark fails descriptive test

The IP High Court has upheld a Japan Patent Office trial decision that rejected a trademark application for the mark HONNAMA ('real draught') for sparkling malt liquor with beer flavour. The court ruled that the trademark was descriptive of unpasteurized goods and had not acquired secondary meaning.

04 June 2007

Protection to three-dimensional mark refused

The IP High Court has reversed a Patent Office trial decision that deniedthe invalidation of a three-dimensional trademark consisting of the shape of achick for '<i>manju</i>' confectionery. The court ruled that the trademark wasnot famous and thus did not satisfy the requirements of Article 3, Paragraph 2of the Trademark Law.

01 March 2007

JPO launches anti-counterfeiting awareness campaign

The Japan Patent Office has launched a campaign aimed at reducing purchases of counterfeit and pirated products by Japanese tourists. Many governments are now realizing that anti-counterfeiting campaigns cannot work unless demand for such products is eradicated first.

16 January 2007

IP laws amended

Law 55/2006 has introduced several amendments to the IP legislation. Among other things, the effective period of design right protection has been extended under the Design Law. Moreover, trademarks used by retailers may now be registered as service marks and the range of legal entities allowed to register collective trademarks has been expanded to broaden trademark protection under the Trademark Law.

18 September 2006

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