In Japan, there is a big problem caused by so-called “bad faith” trademark applications.
It means that there are some applicants who continuously file a lot of applications for registration of any kinds of mark, which are popular words or something like that, also in Japan.
The applicants that we have to pay special attention to are the Japanese company named “Best License Co., Ltd.” and the person named “Ikuhiro Ueda”. He is actually a representative of the company, so they are substantially the same entity.
They are filing a huge number of bad faith trademark applications really. That’s why we often face the objections caused by their applications in our filing cases.
What is the worst point of their actions is that they do not pay the official fees for filing applications to be paid to the Japan Patent Office (JPO). Of course, the JPO require them to pay the fees by issuing the Office Action and make their applications lapse if no fee is paid within the prescribed term. However, they divide their applications objected, which means that they file divisional applications, to save the early filing dates of their original applications and keep the examinations of their applications pending without paying any fees.
Such strategies have caused the big problem that our applications for registration of the marks, which are identical or similar to those of their bad faith applications, are rejected or kept pending for a long time due to them.
However, the JPO recently announced its policy that it indicates in the Office Action Letters which cite their bad faith application as a bar that the cited application has a lack of formality (no fee is paid) so it will lapse and be no longer a obstacle if the lack is not resolved. Furthermore, the JPO shows its opinion that even their bad faith applications with the payment of fees can be rejected in accordance with the Trademark Law in Japan. That’s why the JPO saids that we do not need to give up our trademark applications conflicting with their bad faith applications.