FAQ for Registering Design in Japan

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What is Design?
A design that can be registered in Japan is a shape, a pattern, or a color of an article or part of the article.
What are the requirements for filing a design application in Japan?
A person requesting a design registration shall submit an application stating the following matters and drawing depicting the design for which registration is requested:
(1) Full name and address of applicant
(2) Full name and address of creator/designer
(3) Name of article to which the design is applied
(4) Article to the design
(5) Drawings/Photos of the article to be claimed
(6) Filing date, application number and country of the priority application, if claimed
(7) Priority document (which can be filed within 3 months from the Japanese filing date)
What is required for drawings?
The Japan Patent Office requires at least six views such as front, rear, left side, right side, top plan and bottom plan views. These views must be consistent with each other both in size and shape.
Additional drawings such as perspective and cross-sectional views also may be submitted.
Is it acceptable to file photographs with the Japan Patent Office as formal drawings?
Photographs are acceptable for a Japanese design application. Please note that the Japanese Patent Office requires at least six views (as in the case of drawings).
Is it possible to file a multiple design application in Japan?
No. Each design application must relate to a single design. Multiple design applications are not allowed under Japanese design law.
When is the deadline for claiming priority under the Paris Convention?
The deadline for claiming priority for a design application in Japan is 6 months from the filing date of the priority application.
Can I (individual residing outside Japan) apply for a Design right in Japan?
If you belong to a company, please contact us through its IP works or related department. If this is not the case, we can introduce to you our associated law firm in your country. Please feel free to ask us.
Are any executed documents required for filing an application?
No executed documents are required for filing an application.
Is it necessary to file a Request for Examination of design patent applications?
The examination will be automatically carried out after the formality check.
How long will it take from filing to receiving a certificate of registration?
It takes about six months to register a design if there are no intervening office actions.
Is annual fee required ?
A person obtaining a registration establishing a design right shall pay annual fees for each year to the expiration of the duration.
How long is the term of protection of design registration?
20 years from the filing date.
What are the differences in the requirements of application forms between partial designs and whole designs?
For partial design applications, the following descriptions are necessary:
(1) Indication of “partial design”
(2) In the item “article to which the design is applied,” describe the title of the whole article of which the
subject matter is a part
(3) In the item “explanation of design,” explain how the subject matter of the partial design and the rest of
the design are identified in the drawings, photographs, models or specimens.
How should a partial design be identified in the drawings?
(1) Distinguish the part for which design protection is sought from the part for which design protection is not sought;
(2) Draw solid lines to include the part for which the design protection is sought and draw broken lines to indicate the rest;
(3) If the border separating the subject matter of the design and the rest is not clearly shown by the use of solid lines and broken lines only, dot-dashed lines on the border, and describe in the item “explanation of the design” how such border is identified.
(4) It is possible to apply lines or dots to the part for which design protection is sought in order to identify patterns, colors or shapes
Is it possible to obtain a design registration for patterns as a partial design?
Although it is not possible to obtain a design registration for a pattern, it is possible to do so as long as the pattern is applied to a part of an article having a distinctive shape.
Is it possible to file related design applications for partial designs?
It is possible to obtain related design registrations for partial designs as long as the requirements for related design are satisfied.
Is it possible to file related design applications between a partial design and a whole design?
No. This is because partial designs and whole designs are considered to be different subject matter and the methods of obtaining registrations are also different.
International Design Registrations
As from May, 2015, Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs was applied in Japanese design applications.
In what cases will priority based on Paris Convention be accepted for partial design applications?
A priority claim may be accepted if the design is identical between the original partial design application and the priority-claiming Japanese partial design application. Therefore, a priority claim may not be accepted in the following cases:
(1) When the original application relates to a whole design and the Japanese application relates to a part of the whole design;
(2) When the original application relates to a partial design and the Japanese application relates to the partial design with additional elements that are not disclosed in the original design; and
(3) When the original application relates to plural design registrations for partial designs and the Japanese application relates to a combination of such designs.

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