Misunderstandings on Trademarks in “Standard Characters” in Japan



Fumi
Today’s topic is trademarks in “standard characters” in Japan.
Kuma
In the first place, can we file a trademark application claiming “standard characters” in Japan?
Fumi
Yes.
It is available if you file the application for a word mark.

In case that you have not yet decided a particular font for the mark to be used or it is possible you will change its font style in the future, it would be useful to claim “standard characters”

Kuma
Then, it is better to always claim “standard characters” when filing a word mark application, right?
Fumi
Unfortunately no.

Although some people understand that a registration of a word mark in standard characters means a protection of any style of the word mark, it is misunderstanding actually.

Kuma
Is that so?
Fumi
Yeah.

The “standard characters” system in Japan is just a way to reduce a labor to make a representation of a mark to be filed.

If you claim “standard characters” when filing a new application, the mark filed is interpreted as a mark represented in the font prescribed as “standard characters” by a Commissioner of the JPO, which looks like general plain block letters. And, the scope of protection of the registered mark in standard characters shall be determined based on the mark in the prescribed font.

Therefore, an application for a word mark claiming standard characters should not be different from one for a word mark with a representation of the mark in general plain block letters made by yourself.

Kuma
I didn’t know that.
The meaning of “standard characters” in Japan is different from that in the US.
Fumi
Right.
Take care when you file a trademark application in Japan.






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