Coronavirus vs the Tokyo Olympic Games

With fewer than 80 days to go until the Tokyo Olympics, Japan just extended a state of emergency in the capital, Tokyo until May 31, 2021, to stem a surge in coronavirus cases.

Japanese trademark applications in 2020

One year has passed since Japan’s first state of emergency was declared on April 7 last year and lasted into late May.

Recent JPO statistical data, released on April 30, 2021, revealed the number of trademark applications newly filed in the Japan Patent Office (JPO) in 2020 fell by 5.1% to 181,072 compared to the previous year, 2019. When counting the total number of classes specified the trademark applications in 2020, it fell by 24.5% from the previous year.

A total of 17,924 trademarks were filed in the JPO via the Madrid Protocol in 2020. The number dropped by 7.8% from 2019.

The data also showed a 3.4% decrease in the number of international trademark applications filed with the JPO as the office of origin in 2020 to 3,033.

The Tokyo Olympic Games

The Tokyo Olympic Committee filed an initial trademark application for the “TOKYO 2020” mark (see below) in 2011, two years before the IOC decision.

In January 2012, the Committee applied for registration for the wordmark “TOKYO 2020” in standard character covering all 45 classes to which the JPO granted protection in November 2013.

However, because of the pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed to 2021. The Olympics will now run from July 23 to August 8 2021 and the Paralympics will be held from August 24 until September 5, 2021.

On March 25, 2020, the Committee filed a trademark application for the wordmark “TOKYO 2021” for use on goods and services in 45 classes and subsequently divided the application so that the mark would remain pending the JPO examination as long as possible in fear of trademark theft.

It came to my notice that the following trademarks are filed with the JPO by other entities.

TM application no. 2020-27573 “tokyo 2022” (cl. 32)
TM application no. 2020-32238 “Tokyo 2022” (cl.18)
TM application no. 2020-35399 “TOKYO 2020+1” (cl. 41)
TM application no. 2020-14136 “TOKYO2032” (cl. 35, 41)
TM application no. 2020-125468 “Tokyo 2021 Samurai Athlete” (cl. 41)
TM application no. 2021-16249 “TOKYO 2020-2032” (cl. 41)

Who knows when and how the Tokyo Olympic Games are safely held?
Rather, I would eager to know when will the COVID-19 pandemic end.

Masaki MIKAMI, Attorney at IP LAW – Founder of MARKS IP LAW FIRM