Under the patent system, the government awards exclusive rights (patent rights) for a fixed period of time to the creator of an innovative invention, provided that the inventor publishes details on the invention.
Patent rights are granted through the following process: First, the inventor prepares a document about the invention called a patent specification, and submits this as an application to the patent office. The examiner at the patent office then reviews this document. If the patent office judges that the invention meets the requirements to obtain a patent, the inventor can pay a registration fee to obtain the rights.
Patent rights do not apply indefinitely; they are limited to 20 years from the day of application. After 20 years have elapsed, the patented invention enters the public domain and can be implemented by anyone. Furthermore, if the inventor does not pay annuities for the patent, the rights will expire at the end of the last year that is paid for. Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi declared his aim in 2002 to establish Japan as a nation built on the platform of intellectual property, and there has been a strong focus on IP in the country ever since. At companies and other organizations that pursue profit through business activities, it is extremely important to obtain and utilize intellectual property rights in order to achieve differentiation from competitors and to secure business continuity.
The Patent Act and other intellectual property laws in Japan aim to contribute to industrial development. Innovation is achieved on a regular basis as times change, and it is crucial to carry out accurate procedures in accordance with these changes. Companies that engage in fierce competition within globalized markets produce ever more refined inventions that serve as the foundations of their business and products.
In light of these circumstances, we at the Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. believe that it is vital to hold detailed discussions and build the optimal IP strategy for each client as we work to obtain patent rights for them. We also believe that it is crucial for clients who engage in manufacturing to obtain rights through a three-part effort, with the IP manager (patent division or executive), inventor (developer or designer), and patent attorney (IP professional) all working together.
The Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. is home to a group of intellectual property professionals, and we are all ready to hear from you about your requirements for patents.
The Design Act in Japan defines the term "design" as "the shape, patterns or colors, or any combination thereof, of an article (including a part of an article), which creates an aesthetic impression through the eye." In other words, a design means the aesthetic exterior of an article.
Designs on the outside of articles are clearly visible, so products with eye-catching designs are more likely to be chosen by customers. The highly visible nature of designs also makes them easy to replicate; for every successful product, you will always find imitations that follow it into the market. To address this issue, it is crucial to prepare protections based on the Design Act by obtaining design rights for a product with a unique design once it has been developed.
Within Japan's intellectual property industry, and particularly in the country's patent firms, it is common for staff members involved in trademarks to also carry out work related to designs. However, a design represents the exterior of a product with a distinctive appearance. When working to acquire rights for an industrial product, it is crucial to have the skills to create accurate and detailed drawings based on a firm knowledge of mechanical design and 3D CAD.
With the business landscape growing increasingly complex in recent years, it is not advisable to only consider intellectual property rights from individual areas of legal jurisdiction. Acts of imitation and infringement are growing more and more intricate. To combat these acts, it is vital to adopt an IP strategy to protect intellectual property in a multifaceted and comprehensive manner.
In light of this business landscape, we at the Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. believe that patent representatives are best suited for work in designs rather than trademark representatives, as they can understand the technical details of the design. We also believe that we can achieve a comprehensive view of products that goes across individual legal jurisdictions through the talent of people who can adapt their knowledge and experience in design for use in the field of patents.
The team at the Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. has engaged in many design applications to date. In a ranking held by a private research company regarding design publications from law firms, Representative Patent Attorney Hiroaki Kaita came in first place in the 14th week of 2021 regarding the number of design applications for which he served as an agent. He assists with over 100 design applications every year.
With our extensive track record in designs, the Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. is here to help.
A trademark is a type of mark used by a business to distinguish its products and services from those of other companies.
Trademarks cover company marks as well as the names of products and services, and general consumers rely on these trademarks as an indication of the products and services that they purchase or use. Businesses engage in marketing efforts so that consumers gradually build trust in their products and services, ultimately producing a brand image associated with the trademarks. Through this process, businesses can appeal to consumers so that they do not confuse their products and services for those of other companies.
Marks and names are forms of intellectual property assigned to products and services, and they are protected by trademark rights.
There are multiple types of trademarks, including text, figures, symbols, three-dimensional shapes, and combinations of these. Since April 2015, it is now possible to register moving trademarks, hologram trademarks, trademarks consisting of colors only, sound trademarks, and position trademarks.
To apply for trademark registration, it is imperative to decide on the kinds of products or services that the mark or name will be used for (this is also called "determining the class"). Determining the class of a mark or name requires an accurate understanding of past examinations and registrations, as well as application documents that are prepared in an optimal way. We carry out trademark searches before making an application, and these searches are crucial for determining how feasible it will be to obtain trademark rights, as well as for confirming that the mark or name will not infringe on other people's trademark rights.
At the Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C., we build a firm understanding of our clients' current position and future outlook in business, and we offer proposals for securing a suitable scope of rights.
The Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. is home to a group of intellectual property professionals, and we are all ready to hear from you about your requirements for trademarks.
Japan's utility model system only protects "devices that relate to the shape or structure of an article or combination of articles," unlike the patent system (a method cannot be registered as a utility model, for example), but it has the same objective as the patent system. Rights will be registered for a utility model as soon as an application has been filed for it, unless the application is invalidated due to a reason such as the omission of essential information. In other words, creators can obtain IP rights for a utility model without anyone needing to check the effectiveness of the registration.
In Japan, the utility model system is used to obtain protection for small inventions, devices that do not meet the requirements of an invention, or technologies with short lifecycles. Clients who have developed a product but are not familiar with the field of IP may often be unsure whether to protect their product with a patent or a utility model. We at the Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. believe that it is vital to hold detailed discussions and build the optimal IP strategy for each client. We can offer proposals on the best area of legal jurisdiction to pursue for protecting your intellectual property.
The Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. is home to a group of intellectual property professionals, and we are all ready to hear from you about your requirements for utility models.
With business activities becoming more globalized, it is now more important than ever to obtain international property rights in multiple countries worldwide.
Patent rights, design rights, trademark rights, and other IP rights obtained in Japan will only be effective within the country, and these rights cannot be enforced overseas (this is called the territorial principle). As such, companies need to follow the laws in each country and submit applications to acquire rights for patents and any other IP in all countries where they will conduct business activities.
International patent applications are made via the Paris route or the PCT route.
International design applications are made via the Paris route or the Hague route. International trademark applications are made via the Paris route or the Madrid Protocol route.
Clients need to make thorough considerations based on their business, budget, and schedule for business development in order to choose the best route for international applications, the local agent in each country, and the plan of action for filing the application, passing the examination, and obtaining rights.
The Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. boasts extensive experience and contacts regarding applications in different countries around the world. We believe that it is vital to hold detailed discussions so that we can propose the optimal direction for each client to make an international application.
The Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. is home to a group of intellectual property professionals, and we are all ready to hear from you about your requirements for filing international applications.
Business competition is growing fiercer with the globalization of business activities and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This in turn is bringing a significant impact to the field of intellectual property. In this age of uncertainty, it is extremely difficult to find the optimal solution for achieving business continuity while mitigating business risks to the greatest degree possible. However, we can also say that our present circumstances have made IP rights even more important than ever. As a group of IP professionals, we see it as our mission to offer comprehensive advice on creating intellectual property and obtaining and utilizing rights based on each client's business and management practices.
At the Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C., we have a track record in creating value that our clients did not realize they already had with respect to securing rights of prior use and protecting their industry knowledge. For example, in one case, we stayed at a client's production floor and were able to uncover intellectual property that had lain dormant in the workplace.
We have also worked to protect a client who is developing business overseas, by collaborating with an agent overseas to win a dispute initiated against this client.
We have worked as a mediator between trademark rights holders and clients to carry out the procedures for purchasing rights smoothly.
The Kaita International Patent Office, PA.C. is home to a group of intellectual property professionals, and we are all ready to respond to your inquiries regarding intellectual property in general.