Japan is Well Known as a Market that Respects Intellectual Property
One of the considerations companies must face is whether they have sufficient protection of their brand name and logo before attempting to enter overseas markets and launch their product or service there.
If you have built up significant value in your brand name or logo within your domestic market, it may be worth evaluating the benefits of registering them as a trademark.
Securing Intellectual Property Rights Can Help Build Awareness of Your Brand in Japan
Having the correct trademark and patent protection in place opens up possibilites of different revenue streams that come with brand licensing and potential limited edition collaborations with well-loved and established Japanese brands and companies.
For example, Peter Rabbit characters are often used for limited edition collectors' items by the Japanese convenience store franchise chain Lawson, and popular theme park Fuji-Q Highland boasts a Thomas Land section, where visitors can enjoy Thomas the Tank Engine themed rides and attractions.
In order to register a trademark in Japan, you first need to have the trademark registered in the UK.
However, an international trademark application can be submitted while a UK trademark application is in progress.
It is important to note that the international trade mark application will be linked to the domestic registration. This means that if your UK trademark registration is allowed to lapse due to lack of use for example, then the international registration will also end. Similarly, the international trademark must be identical to your UK trademark.
Next Steps for Registering Your IP in Japan
There is an international system of trademark classification which allocates trademarks to a specific class of goods and services. There are 45 different classes of goods and services. A list of these classes can be found at www.ipo.gov.uk/tm/t-find/t-find-class.htm.
The Japan Patent Office website may also be a good point of call for information about intellectual property rights in Japan. Their section on Obtaining IP Rights contains extensive material on applying for patent and trademark protection.