When applying to register a trademark at the JPO, the mark itself can be one of several types.
- Word mark in standard character
- Word mark in specific style
- Design (logo)
- 3D mark (trade dress)
- Combination of above elements (other than standard character trademark)
For a mark to quality as a standard character trademark, it must consist of only acceptable standard characters – alphabetical letters, Japanese characters (Hiragana, Katakana), Chinese characters, numbers and some symbols.
Article 5(3) of the Japan Trademark Law provides:
Where a person desires to register a trademark consisting solely of characters designated by the Commissioner of the Patent Office (hereinafter referred to as “standard characters”), the application shall contain a statement indicating thereof.
Trademark Examination Manual 19.01 enumerates standard characters available in obtaining Japanese trademark registration.
New Standard Characters
From January 1, 2017, “New Standard Character Set” becomes effective.
Newly adopted standard characters, almost Chinese characters as below listed, are aimed to comply with characters provided in the New Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS).
In terms of trademark registration, a standard character claim allows for the registration of words, letters, numbers and some symbols without any specific font, size, style, color or other design element. It simply requires the mark to be typed out without regard to the font, style, size or color. Registering a trademark in standard characters provides the broadest form of protection regardless of the form it appears in.
Masaki MIKAMI – Attorney at IP law (JAPAN), MARKS IP LAW FIRM