Ikuhiro Ueda: The first individual in history to have filed over 100,000 trademark applications

As a mass filer, there are a number of differences between Ikuhiro Ueda and Michael Gleissner. Where Gleissner’s brand acquisition activities span the globe, Ueda has limited his applications to Japan. He has also been open about the reason for his filings in a 17-page, 5,000-word manifesto outlining his vision for a reformed global IP rights system.

However, Ueda’s filing spree is notable, and not only because he was the first individual in history to have filed over 100,000 trademark applications.

The first reason for this is that his applications have covered terms associated with major international brands, including ANDROID, BABA, GOOGLE, INSTAGRAM, PANASONIC, POKEMON, SUPREME, TESLA, TWITTER and UBER. By mid-2019 at least 335 Ueda applications had been recorded featuring the term APPLE.

As a result, rights holders must rigorously monitor and challenge his filings. While the number of Ueda applications that have progressed to registration is miniscule (the two that did were subsequently cancelled), Japan’s first-to-file, first-to-win system means that policing efforts can never be relaxed.

The second reason that his filings are notable is due to their impact on both the Japanese filing landscape and operations at the country’s trademark office. Considering the scale of Ueda’s activity, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) has been forced to amend its rules and guidelines in order to stem the flow of filings – although commentators suggest that it could do more.

From a peak of 32,015 applications in 2017, the pace of Ueda’s activity is slowing. In 2020 he was ‘only’ responsible for 10,996 filings. However, that is still more than most companies lodge in any given year, making it vital that brand owners keep him on their radars. (The data collected by CompuMark for this section is up to 31 December 2020 unless otherwise specified.)

Get unlimited access to all WTR content