Introduction of Japanese Design System




Release time:2016-10-18

As the strength of Chinese enterprises increases and gradually enters the Japanese market, the demand for intellectual property protection is also increasing rapidly. This paper makes a brief introduction to the design law in Japan's four major intellectual property laws (concession law, utility model law, design law and trademark law), and compares the differences between the two in order to better understand the Japanese design system.


The Japanese design law aims to protect the visually aesthetic design of the shape, appearance or color of products available in industry. The term of protection of the right to design is 20 years from the date of authorization. This is longer than the current Chinese design right protection period of 10 years from the date of application.


historical evolution


Japan's original design regulations were promulgated on December 1, 1888 (Meiji 21), and the "Designs Regulations" implemented in 1889 (Meiji 22) were changed to "Designs Law" in 1899 (Meiji 32). The current design law has also undergone many changes.


Authorization Conditions for 1. Designs


In order to obtain the authorization of the right to design in Japan, an application must be submitted to the Japan Licensing Office and subject to substantive examination whether the following conditions are met. This is different from the Chinese design does not require substantive examination.


It is worth noting that the substantive examination of Japanese designs is different from the substantive examination of invention patents. Since Japan will conduct substantive examination of all design applications submitted, there is no need to submit another application for substantive examination. In addition, applicants can also apply for early review to speed up the authorization.


2. specific substantive conditions are as follows:


1. Industrial availability

That is, it is an industrially available design. That is, in order to have industrial applicability, it is necessary to satisfy the conditions for mass production. For example, designs such as art that cannot be mass-produced are not part of the design and are classified as copyright protection.


2. Novelty

Authorisable designs are not known to the public prior to their application. Designs that are already known or that have been published in publications or designs in similar circumstances will not be authorized.


3. Creativity

That is, it is not easy to create. Known shapes, looks, colors, or their combinations, changes in structural proportions, or just continuous increase or decrease in the number of units, are not creative.


4. A design that is not the same as or similar to part of the previously applied design

A part of the design applied for earlier is directly used as the design applied for later. Since the design applied for later is not a new design, it cannot be authorized.


5. is not an unauthorized object. Design rights cannot be granted for objects that are not delegated for the following reasons.


(1) Violation of public order and good customs

For example, images of national leaders, flags or royal logos, and designs that are immoral cannot be authorized.


(2) Easy to cause misidentification

Design rights cannot be granted to those that are likely to cause confusion with other people's business-related products.


(3) Belongs to the shape used to ensure the function

For example, the pin shape of the connector terminal, which is a shape necessary for ensuring its connection function, cannot be authorized.


6. Whether it is the first application


(1) When two or more persons apply for the same or similar design, the applicant who applied first shall be granted.


(2) When multiple different applicants apply for the same or similar design on the same day, the Licensing Office will issue a negotiated order against multiple applicants, and only the applicant finally determined by the negotiation will obtain the design right. If it is still difficult to reach an agreement to determine the sole applicant, neither party can obtain the right to design.


7. One application is limited to one design

Exceptions, for the design of complete sets of products, can be applied as a piece.


3. Design Application Process


In order to obtain the right to design in Japan:


(1) The application must first be submitted to the concession hall and attached drawings. Photographs, samples, etc. may also be submitted instead of drawings.


(2) After the application is submitted, a formal review of whether the application, etc., meets the prescribed format.


(3) A substantive review of whether the conditions for authorization are met after the formal review is met.


In addition, for the modification of the design, the design applicant may submit a modification letter to modify the application or drawings during the review. However, if the gist of the original application or the attached drawings is modified and changed, it will be rejected. This point is obviously more relaxed than China.


4. the unique system of Japanese design


1. Associated design system


The right to design is not limited to the authorized design, and designs similar to the authorized design applied for within a certain period of time will also be protected. For a similar scope, if pre-confirmation is required, an authorization for a similar design may be applied.


2. Design confidentiality system

When a design is authorized, it will, in principle, be made public in the design bulletin. However, there are exceptions. If the application for confidentiality is requested, it may not be disclosed for a certain period of time (three years).


3. The protection system of local design.

In general, the design is the whole of the product as the object of its protection, but in 1998 Japan revised the design law, for the shape of the design with local characteristics, the part can be granted the right of local design. In this way, a third party that uses the partial design of the feature part, even if it is different on the whole, can also claim the right to bring a lawsuit.


4. Protection of display screen design

Through the amendment of the law in 2006, the picture design (for example, the picture design for DVD recorder video reservation operation, the picture design for mobile phone call selection, and the picture design for printer printing selection) can be protected as included in the shape of the product under certain conditions.


Finally, for the similarities and differences between Chinese and Japanese design systems, the list is compared: