• Amendment to Trademark Act of Japan - New Marks, Including Color Marks and Sound Marks, Can Be Protected
  • September 10, 2014 | Author: Michiru Takahashi
  • Law Firm: Jones Day - Tokyo Office
  • After much debate over several years, the Trademark Act of Japan (Act No. 127 of April 13, 1959) has been amended to finally allow registration of nontraditional marks such as color and sound. Although nontraditional marks such as color, sound, motion, hologram, and position marks are not registrable under the current Trademark Act, such marks have been registrable in other nations, including the United States, the EU (through the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market), and Australia, as well as in some Asian nations, such as South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Singapore. As further explained below, not all nontraditional marks will be protected at this time. This amendment will enable brand owners to convey their brand messages in more diverse ways and seek the same protection in Japan as they have been afforded in other jurisdictions regarding these nontraditional marks. Moreover, brand owners will be able to use the Madrid Protocol system to protect their nontraditional trademarks in multiple jurisdictions, including Japan.