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

5.8.1 Application and registration fees

Naturally, applying for and being granted registration of a design incurs fees. The fees for this process in Japan are as follows.

  1. Application fees
    1. 16,000 yen per design
    2. Note that the above amount is the official fee only, and does not include patent attorney's fees, fees for design drawings, etc.
  2. Registration fees
    A registration fee is required when registering a design, however these fees differ from those of trademarks. The design registration fee for the first year is 8,500 yen and an annuity must be paid each year in order to maintain the validity of the design rights. The annuities are as follows.
    Years 1 through 3
    : 8,500 yen / per year
    Years 4 through 20
    : 16,900 yen / per year

5.8.2 From application to registration

If the examination process goes smoothly, a design can be registered in as little as three months from the time of application. Generally, however, the examination takes approximately six months, and the registration takes another one or two months. Allow about eight months after application to complete the process.

Application starts upon paying application fee. Decision of grant design registration will be made after the examination. If rejected, there will be a notice of reasons for rejection. When the application proceeds to decision of grant design registration, design will be established after paying registration fee. Afterwards, it will be noticed in publication in Gazette. The period of protection for the design is 20 years. After 20 years, protection expires. If the applicant receives notice of reasons for rejection, applicant may submit reply to rejection notice and amendments. Upon submission, application may either be decided to grant design registration or if reply is not submitted or rejected, decision to deny registration will be made. Applicant may appeal against decision of rejection *1. If still rejected, applicant may file a lawsuit for the cancellation of the decision of rejection to Intellectual Property High Court. 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.