There are two ways to protect your trademark in Japan: the filing of a Japanese Trademark Application or the designation of Japan through the international trademark registration.
Any trademark to be used in connection with goods or services pertaining to the business of an applicant may be registered.
After the filing, the Examining Attorney makes a complete review of the mark, including a search for earlier conflicting marks.
If the Examiner finds some obstacles to the registration, a notification for refusal will be sent and the examiner provides the applicant with an opportunity to submit a written opinion, designating a reasonable time limit for such purpose.
There are many reasons for issuing a refusal; the most typical reasons for refusal are lack of distinctiveness of the trademark, existence of prior registered trademark and vagueness of the designated goods/services.
In case of unfavorable decision of the Examiner, it is possible to appeal against the decision of refusal.
In the event no refusal is issued by the Examiner of in case you have overcome the refusal, a decision to register a trademark will be made and the applicant will be due to pay the registration fee.
After the registration, the trademark is published on the Trademark Gazette.
Any person may file with the Commission of the Patent Office an opposition to registration within two months from the date of publication of the bulletin containing the trademark.
Trademark registration is subject to cancellation in the event of non-use for three consecutive years.
The trademark right lasts ten years from the date of registration and renewals can be made every ten years.