Changing the design law


Hiroshi Hari

As well as the discussions in the Japan Patent Office (JPO) about changing Japan’s patent law, described in my last WIPR report, there have also been talks in the JPO about changing Japan’s design law, based on the Japan Patent Office Annual Report 2013.

Possible revisions to the design law were discussed on November 19, 2012 at the design system subcommittee, established under the IP Policy Committee of the Industrial Structure Council; the first part of that discussion was about whether Japan should sign the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement on the international registration of industrial designs.

The subcommittee agreed that it should hold further talks and accordingly, at subsequent meetings held throughout 2013, the subcommittee discussed such issues as the advantages of using a single application for multiple designs, what action Japan should take regarding the period of deferred publication, and what action Japan should take regarding self-designation.

The subcommittee also recognised the advantages to Japanese companies in general of Japan signing the Locarno Agreement, which establishes an international classification for industrial designs. That was because signing that agreement would provide an effective prior-art search tool for Japanese companies conducting global business activities.

JPO, design law, Locarno agreement, trademark protection,