How to Set Up Business in JapanSection 5. Trademark and Design Protection Systems
5.5 The registration process

5.5.1 Application and registration fees

Following a revision of the Trademark Law in 1992, Japan's trademark system has been operated under the same international classification system as other countries; there are 45 classes of goods and services although there used to be those for goods and services unique to Japan. Applications can be made for individual classes or in several classes at once (known as "multiple-class" applications).
It is always best to consult a professional advisor such as a patent attorney—known in Japan as a benrishi—when applying for trademark registration. Naturally, applying for and being granted registration of a trademark incurs fees. The fees for this process in Japan are as follows.

  1. Application fees
    1. One trademark in one class: 12,000 yen.
    2. One trademark in multiple classes: 12,000 yen for the first class, and an extra 8,600 yen for each additional class.
    3. Note that the above amounts are official fees only, and do not include patent attorney's fees, etc.
  2. Registration fees
    When filing an application, fees differ according to whether the application is for a single class or multiple classes. Registration fees, on the other hand, are 28,200 yen per trademark per class regardless of the type of application. Remember that, if you engaged a patent attorney, you will be charged fees in addition to the above registration fees; these may include fees for the work involved in paying the official fees.
  3. Renewal expenses
    38,800 yen per class must be paid as a renewal registration fee at the time of renewal. As in the case of applications and registrations, you will also be charged other fees, such as a fee for the work involved in paying renewal registration fees, if you engaged a patent attorney.

5.5.2 From application to registration

The average period from filing an application by an applicant to issuing the first action by an examiner to the applicant is approximately 7 months. In this regard, if there is/are reason(s) for refusal in the application, the registration takes another one or two months.

Application starts upon paying application fee. After examination, decision of registration will be made. If rejected, there will be notice of reasons for rejection. When registration is decided, trademark will be registered after paying registration fee. The period of protection for the registered trademark is 10 years and the period of protection can be renewed every 10 years if renewal fees are paid. When noticed by publication in gazette, objection can be made for a certain period of time after the publication. Japan Patent Office will decide whether to uphold trademarks or to cancel them. If the Japan Patent Office decides to cancel trademarks, trademarks holder is able to file a lawsuit to Intellectual Property High Court. If the application for the registration is rejected and the applicant receives notice of reasons for rejection, applicant may submit reply to rejection notice and amendments. Then, application will be reconsidered to be registered or not. If denied, applicant may appeal against decision of rejection *1. If the decision of rejection does not change, applicant may file a lawsuit to Intellectual Property High Court for the cancellation of the decision. Superior court of Intellectual Property High Court will be Supreme Court.

(1) Under revisions to the law in FY2008, the deadline for demanding an appeal was changed from 30 days to 3 months from the transmittal of the examiner's decision of refusal.