Is there “disclaimer” in the Japanese trademark system?
The answer is “No” although I don’t know whether it is good or not for you.
What is “disclaimer”?
I can imagine that many visitors to this blog know what “disclaimer” is.
But, I now explain that just is case.
The “disclaimer” in the field of trademarks means the system to specify the part having an exclusive right in a trademark.
A trademark sometimes has a non-distinctive part in itself.
For example, in the mark “ABC light” used for the goods “pen”, the part of “light” is not distinctive because the term indicates a quality of the goods.
In the country adopting the “disclaimer” system, the Applicant of the application for the trademark “ABC light” is required by the IP Office to disclaim the exclusive right of use of the term “light” apart from the entire mark.
In such case, the application is not granted unless the Applicant accepts the disclaimer.
How about in Japan?
In Japan where the disclaimer system is not adopted, the above-mentioned “ABC light” mark is interpreted to be distinctive as a whole without being required to disclaim.
Do you prefer the “disclaimer”?
In the disclaimer system, it is clear which part has an exclusive right in a combined mark.
It means that a third party who wants to use and/or register the mark “DEF light” goes to bed with a relief in spite of the registration of “ABC light”.
In Japan, on the other hand, it is possible that he cannot do so.
That’s because it is not easy for him to judge whether the exclusive right of “ABC light” covers his mark “DEF light”.
Therefore, it could be said that the system in Japan is not friendly for the public.
In other words, however, it may be good for the trademark owner.
Which do you prefer?