Japan 11 Mar 2020

Revisions of the Japanese Design Law – now more resembling the EU

Japan will implement revisions of its law for design protection. The revisions include a range of news and expanded opportunities to use design protection. The changes mean that Japanese law will be more resembling to the EU legislation on design protection. The new amendments come into force on April 1, 2020.

The most important changes in the Japanese Design Law will be:

  • The maximum duration of a design registration is extended from 20 to 25 years.
  • It becomes possible to apply for design protection regarding a number of new products, including Graphical User Interfaces (GUI), interior design and exterior of a building.
  • It becomes possible to apply for design protection for a part of a product, such as the handle of a kitchen knife.
  • It becomes possible to file for several designs with “similar character” based on one base application. These associated designs must be filed within 10 years from the application date of the first design application, the base application. This allows companies to extend their design protection when selling updated versions of the same product. These associated designs have a maximum protection period of 25 years from the filing date of the base application.
  • The Locarno classification system is implemented to classify design applications and registrations.

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