JPO – Regional Collective Trademark System

Regional Collective Trademark System

In recent years, nationwide projects promoting (regional brands) have been actively underway. These projects are designed to convey the uniqueness of certain regional products by distinguishing them from products originating in other geographical regions. In advancing such regional brand-building projects throughout Japan, there are a large number of trademarks being utilized that are derived from the names of particular geographical regions and the particular products produced in those regions. In other words, in the trademarks, the regional names are combined with the specific product names.

There was a time in the past (when the previously existing trademark law was in force), when trademarks that were derived of both regional names and specific product names were unable to be registered, except in cases when the trademarks were combined with a figure, or when they had attained a high level of recognition nationwide. This was because such trademarks were regarded as lacking distinctiveness and thus were deemed to be inappropriate for anyone, specific party to gain the exclusive rights to monopolize.

However, in an effort to allow trademarks that consist of regional and product names to be accepted for registration as quickly as possible in order to foster the growth of regional brands, the regular session of the Diet in 2005 enacted the Amendments to the Trademark Law. This Law came into force on April 1, 2006, and was followed by the start of the regional collective trademark system, which has been attracting considerable interest ever since.

* Rules/regulations and examination criteria under the Trademark Law concerning regional collective trademarks (Link to the corresponding examination criteria in the English version):
(Examination Guidelines for Regional Collective Trademarks)
Part 1: Principal Paragraph of Article 7-2(1) PDF

Part 2: Article 7-2(1)(i), (ii) and (iii) PDF

Part 3: Article 7-2(2) PDF

the Original contents from JPO :