A Japan trademark application has to be filed at the Japanese Patent Office. Currently the Japanese Trademark Act only accepts traditional trademarks such as alphabet or logo, three-dimensional shapes are the only non-traditional trademarks that can be registered under the Japanese Trademark Act. However, registration of three-dimensional mark is extremely hard in Japan.
Japan is a member of the Madrid System therefore a trademark registration in Japan using the Madrid System (International trademark registration through WIPO) is possible instead of a national trademark registration in Japan.
A Japan trademark application has to be made in the Japanese language and filed by a Japanese agent. The examination includes publication of the unexamined application, formality examination, distinctiveness examination and a search for prior trademarks. Once these steps have been successfully completed, your trademark will be registered in Japan. After the registration, the trademark will be published in the Japanese trademark gazette for a period of 2 months from the publication date, this period is called the opposition period. Any third party who has a similar or identical trademark could oppose the registration of your trademark in Japan during the opposition period. Therefore, a proper search for previous trademarks before filing the trademark in Japan is advisable to prevent wasting time and money. The duration of a trademark registration in Japan is 10 years from the date of registration and can be renewed for a period of 10 years.
After obtaining your trademark registration in Japan you will have to use it inside the territory of Japan within 3 years. If the trademark is not used within this period or you stop using it for 3 consecutive years later, third parties may request the cancellation of your trademark.
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