Over 1,200 applications filed for Reiwa-related trademarks in China within a month after announcement of the new Imperial era name “REIWA” by the Japanese government on April 1, 2019.
According to a search site of China’s trademark office, prior to the April 1 announcement of the era name, there was only one trademark application for the name, filed in 2017. However, 238 applications related to REIWA were filed on April 1 alone, when the new era name was announced. The number of such applications further swelled to 1,276 as of April 30.
The applicants seem to be trying to take advantage of the new era name. Those requests are for registration of names such as “Reiwado,” “Reiwaya” and “Reiwa tenka.” The applications were in a variety of fields ranging from cosmetics to food, with examples including “Reiwa beef” and “Reiwa hall.”
It is unclear whether their applications will be approved. Chinese authorities are unlikely to grant any new permission for trademark names related to REIWA.
Other neighbor nations (Taiwan, Korea)
According to a search site of Taiwan’s IP office, 8 applications related to REIWA were filed after announcement as of May 1.
In Korea, a search site revealed only 3 applications related to REIWA were filed in April.
48 applications related to REIWA were filed to the Japan Patent Office in three days after announcement of the new era name.
As mentioned in the previous blog article, the revised trademark guidelines to ensure trademarks do not feature any era name now clearly state that all era names, in principle, cannot be used for trademarks.
It is expected most of the applications are rejected for registration under the latest guidelines.
Masaki MIKAMI, Attorney at IP Law – Founder of MARKS IP LAW FIRM