Region: Japan

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

Assessment of fame of abbreviations altered

On remand from the Supreme Court, the Tokyo High Court has invalidated the registration of a mark for teaching services on the basis that it includes the famous abbreviation of another school's name. The Supreme Court had held that the criterion for assessing the fame of an abbreviation under the Trademark Law is whether it is generally recognized, not whether it is recognized only by the relevant consumers.

04 April 2006

Amendments to Unfair Competition Prevention Law promulgated

Law 75/2005, which amends the Unfair Competition Prevention Law, was promulgated on June 29. The new law introduces, among other things, (i) definitions to clarify the provisions on the protection of product configurations, and (ii) criminal penalties against counterfeiting activities. The amendments are expected to enter into force on April 1 2006.

28 September 2005

Bills will strengthen the protection of trademark rights in Japan

The Japanese government has submitted to the National Diet (the Japanese legislature) bills modifying the Unfair Competition Prevention Law and the Tariff Law in order to strengthen protection of well-known and famous indications and designs. Among other things, the bills provide criminal penalties for the use of another person's famous indication.

11 March 2005

Consent required at the time of examination, rules court

The Supreme Court of Japan has ruled that when an applicant applies to register another party's name as a trademark, it must have obtained permission from that party to use his or her name at the time the Japan Patent Office examines the trademark.

08 October 2004

Japan sets up IP high court and amends IP laws

The House of Councillors, Japan's upper chamber, has passed a law that provides for the creation of an IP high court. It is also considering amendments to the country's IP laws that will give courts the power to depart from normal court proceedings in certain circumstances. The new act and the amendments, if approved, will come into force on April 1 2005.

01 July 2004

New bill will allow disclosure of IP infringers' identity

As part of the government's campaign against counterfeiting launched lastyear, the Ministry of Finance has submitted a bill amending the Customs TariffLaw that will help IP owners take immediate action against infringers by allowingcustoms to reveal the identity of the importers of suspected counterfeit goods.

22 March 2004 loses fight for transfer of ''

The Tokyo District Court has ruled that System KJ, a Tokyo developer of equipment for personal computers and communication devices, may use its '' domain name despite a claim against it by Inc, an online music distributor based in California. The court ruled that System KJ obtained the name without bad faith.

10 September 2002

Japan's country code to be operated by ICANN

Japan's country-code top-level domain is to be operated by ICANN. The owner of '.jp' is only the second to agree to recognize ICANN's authority as internet policymaker since country-code owners voted in June 2001 to withdraw from ICANN.

28 March 2002

J-Phone triumphs in landmark cybersquatting case

For the first time ever, a Japanese court has awarded damages in a domainname dispute. Whether the precedent in the <i>J-PHONE Case</i> will be followedin future is questionable, however, as Japanese law is based on the civil lawsystem.

03 July 2001

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