The use of ADR procedures as a means by which disputing parties can engage in negotiations to settle a dispute, without resorting to civil litigation, has increased in Japan since the 2011 East Japan earthquake.
The use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures as a means by which disputing parties can engage in negotiations to settle a dispute, without resorting to civil litigation, has increased in Japan since the 2011 East Japan earthquake.
This trend is based on the realisation that ADR (alternative dispute resolution) can significantly reduce the costs required to resolve a dispute. Even after a civil action has been initiated, the parties involved tend to seek an early resolution using ADR proceedings. Among the intellectual property related cases that I have handled since the earthquake, some clients have accepted court-mediated settlements to avoid all-out fighting to the end.
An example of an IP trial that ended with an out-of-court settlement is the case involving Sanrio and Mercis. On June 7, 2011, Sanrio, which owns the trademark ‘Cathy’, and Mercis, which owns the trademark ‘Miffy’, reached an agreement that enabled the two companies to avoid spending additional money on the lawsuit. Instead, they donated a combined total of €150,000 ($217,000), which would have otherwise been spent on legal fees by the companies, to provide assistance for the victims of the March 11 earthquake.
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