Following the Act on the Partial Revision of the Patent Act and Other Acts of March 2014, several amendments to different aspects of intellectual property rights will enter into force in the course of the year 2015 in Japan. These include:

  • Trademark law: Effective April 01, 2015, the scope of trademark types eligible for registration will be expanded to include animated marks (movement), hologram marks, color per se marks, sound marks as well as position marks.
  • Design law: With effect from May 13, 2014, Japan joins the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. Therefore, the deposit of an industrial design at the International Bureau of the WIPO then will have the same effect as national application in Japan would have.
  • Patent law: Effective May 14, 2015, an opposition system for granted patents – as abolished in 2003 – will be reintroduced. Thus, in Japan it will then be possible to oppose patents within a 6-month period after publication of grant as well as to file a nullity action at any time during its duration.
  • Patent procedural law: Likewise with effect from May 14, 2015, applicants are entitled to extend certain time limits required for filing, examination, and other procedures, in case any exceptional unavoidable circumstances, for example disasters or catastrophes, happen.