New types of trademark


Hiroshi Hari

As a follow-up to previous reports regarding discussions by subcommittees of the Industrial Structure Council’s IP Policy Committee concerning possible changes to Japan’s patent IP laws, here I will introduce once again, based on the Japan Patent Office Annual Report 2013, recent discussions by the Trademark Subcommittee regarding possible changes to Japan’s Trademark Law relating to new types of trademark.

Protection for new types of trademark

Advertising media, such as audiovisual ads on websites, have become more diversified worldwide due to recent developments in communications technology, and some countries have been adjusting their trademark systems to enable the registration of such ads and other new types of trademark.

At the same time, the demand by companies to use not only conventional trademarks that consist of letters and/or goods, but also various types of non-traditional trademarks, such as colour marks without silhouettes (eg, green as the colour of a roof of an oil company’s petrol station; UK trademark No. 1469512 for BP); sound marks (eg, engine sounds used in a motorcycle company’s ad; motion marks (eg, a mark moving in a special way); hologram marks (eg, US trademark No. 3045251 for American Express); or position marks (eg, a red track-point button arranged at the centre of a computer keyboard; US trademark No. 2363544), is increasing.