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Benelux trademark protects Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg. In order to obtain trademark protection in Benelux you can register your trademark in two ways: First option is that you request registration in the entire European Union with one single application; this can be done via the European Union Trademark which grants trademark protection in the 28 country members of the EU (more info here). Second option is that you register directly your trademark in Benelux. If you want to proceed this way please follow the steps described belows.
Step 1 - Comprehensive Trademark Study
Planning to file a trademark in Japan? Don't risk wasting time and money on a registration that won't go through. Our Comprehensive Trademark Study helps you identify potential issues before you file, including conflicting trademarks and registrability issues. Our expert trademark attorneys provide an opinion on the registration possibilities of your trademark, giving you the confidence you need to move forward with your application.
Identify Potential Conflicts Before Filing Your Trademark
Expert Guidance to Avoid Costly Legal Disputes
Streamline Your Trademark Registration Process
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Step 2 - Trademark Application Filing
Our team of trademark attorneys will handle the entire process of filing your trademark application in Japan, ensuring that all necessary formalities are completed for the approval and final registration of your trademark. We'll keep you informed every step of the way, starting with a filing report that includes your application number and date of submission, as well as a scanned copy of your application. You can be confident that your application will be processed quickly and accurately.
Experienced Trademark Attorneys for Your Application
Filing Report and Scanned Copy of Trademark Application
Online Tracking of Trademark Registration Status
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Step 3 - Trademark Registration Certificate
Once your trademark application is approved, our team will handle all the formalities necessary to obtain your trademark registration certificate in Japan, ensuring the process is completed smoothly and efficiently. Once the certificate is issued, we'll send it to your address along with a report that includes your registration number. We'll also monitor and notify you of any important dates related to your registration to ensure that your trademark remains in good standing.
Experienced Trademark Attorneys Assistance
Delivery of Registration Certificate and Report
Monitoring and Notification of Important Dates
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Frequently Asked Questions
Trademark Registration
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Should I file my trademark in local characters?

Yes, for a broader and stronger protection in Japan, we recommend registering your trademark in local characters.

If the trademark is registered only in its original version (Latin characters), the protection does not always properly protect its equivalent in the local language. This means that a third party could use or register the same trademark (or a similar one) in local characters.

In additional to the legal benefits, the registration and use of the trademark in local characters can also have commercial benefits. The public in Japan will recognize your brand more easily if they are able to read and correctly pronounce the mark.

Registering your trademark in its original version, as well as local transliteration/translation, will provide a greater protection from any possible infringements.

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How many applications should I file?

The answer to this question depends on the characteristics of your mark, your budget and the scope of protection that you would like to have in Japan.

If your trademark contains distinctive verbal elements (text) as well as design elements (graphics or logos) and you wish both to be protected, our recommendation is to file two trademark applications; one to protect just the verbal elements (the application will be filed as “Word Mark”) and another to protect just the design elements (the application will be filed as “Combined Mark”).

In this case, proceeding with two trademark applications has the following advantages:

  1. Broader and stronger protection. If a third party files a “Combined Mark” with very similar text to yours but different design, their “Combined Mark” could be accepted for registration if you only filed a “Combined Mark” and not a “Word Mark,” because in its entirety the third party’s mark is still considered different from yours.
  2. You will be protected if your logo evolves. It is common for companies to change the design of their logo with time. If you file a “Combined Mark” and not a “Word Mark,” your new logo will not be protected. You must use your trademark exactly as registered; if you don’t, your trademark may be subject to cancellation.
  3. Effective verbal and graphics protection. Filing a “Word Mark” application provides greater flexibility to use your mark in different ways, whether it is presenting it in stylized text or presenting it with different designs (as long as they are not too similar to registered trademarks that belong to third parties). At the same time, filing a “Combined Mark” allows you to protect the design elements of your mark.

If your trademark also contains a slogan or a distinctive design symbol, we suggest you file a specific application for each, as this will give you additional protection.

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Is there a time frame for the trademark registration approval?

The average time frame for the registration approval is 6 months, if no objections or oppositions arise.

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If I register my trademark in Japan, do I have protection in other territories?

No. The registered mark will be protected only in Japan.

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Do I need to sign a Power of Attorney?

Yes. A power of attorney is a requirement for completing the application.

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What are the phases of application after a trademark has been filed in Japan?

The sequence of trademark application in Japan is as follows: 

  1. Examination – The trademark office will examine the application in terms of:
    • Deceptiveness
    • Distinctiveness
    • Clarity
    • Classification
    • Formalities
    • Conflict with earlier registrations
    • Violation of morals or public policy
    • Unauthorized use of a stage name, pen name, or portrait of a person
    • Similarities with a mark that has recently expired (within one year)
    • Marks that mislead the consumers about the good’s or service’s quality
    • Conflict with a name that is being used for rice
  2. Registration – A registration certificate will be granted if the application passes the examination phase.
  3. Publication – The following details will be made available to the public so interested parties can oppose if need be. Note that there will be no print version of the publication rather it will be saved in a DVD format.
    • Mark
    • Goods/services
    • Name and address of applicant
    • Citizenship and country of incorporation of the applicant
    • Date and number of application
    • Date when the mark was first used
    • Trademark representation
    • Information about priority claim
    • Specimen
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Is there any possibility to claim priority in Japan?

Yes. The filing date in home country can be used as the filing date in Japan if:

  • Home country is a Paris Convention member
  • Filing date in home country does not exceed 6 months prior to filing date in Japan
  • Home country is a WTO (World Trade Organization) member
  • International registration can be based in Japan
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What do I need to do to satisfy the use requirement?

The mark must be used within 3 years after the registration date and within any 3 consecutive years during its term of validity. Minimal use is necessary and it must occur in this jurisdiction.

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Once my trademark has been registered, for how many years will it be valid?

The registered mark is valid for 10 years starting on the registration date.

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Does having a registered trademark in Japan afford me any right?

Rights are established through registration. However, a well-recognized mark is still protected in Japan even if it is not registered.

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Is there any need to use my trademark before I apply for registration?

Yes. Before you can apply for registration, it is mandatory that there is actual use of the mark or at least an intention to use the mark.

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Who can contest my trademark registration?

Any interested party may initiate the opposition.

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Is it possible to cancel a registration?

Cancellation against registration is possible on the following grounds: 

  • Marks is disparaging to a person’s dignity
  • Bad faith
  • Prohibited marks
  • Mark is used in a deceptive or misleading manner
  • Mark uses a protected badge or emblem
  • Mark contradicts moral standards or opposes public order
  • Geographical indication
  • Mark uses a protected armorial bearing, flag or state emblem
  • Generic or too common marks
  • Functional, misleading, deceptive, disparaging, non-distinctive, or descriptive marks
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Are there any rights established by having a registered trademark?

Yes. Owners of a registered mark in Japan obtain these rights: 

  • Exclusive right to use the mark
  • Right to object to succeeding conflicting applications
  • Right to petition for the cancellation of a succeeding conflicting registration
  • Right to take a legal action against third parties for infringing the sign
  • Right to obtain payment or damages from third parties due to infringement
  • Right to authorize third parties to use the mark
  • Right to petition for the confiscation (by customs authorities) of counterfeit goods
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How long is the opposition period?

The opposition period will begin on the date the Official Gazette was issued and will end two months after that date.

Basic Concepts
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What are trademark classes?

Trademark Offices around the world use classes to divide commercial products and services into defined categories.  When you apply for your trademark to protect your brand, you must define the class or classes that you believe best describe your business activity. 

Countries around the world have standardized 45 classes (34 for products and 11 for services) for international use under the Nice International Classification.

These classes group all known products and services. If applicable, you can register the same trademark in more than one class; for example, you may register the trademark KING for computers in class 23 and register the same trademark in class 24 for cosmetics. 

Trademark protection only extends to commercial use within your specified classes.  It is, therefore, possible for two entities conducting business in different classes to use identical or similar trademarks and for each entity to enjoy full trademark protection in their respective classes. If you feel that protection should extend to include more than one class, you can choose multiple classes under which to conduct business.

You can search for your trademark class with this Trademark Class Search tool.

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Do I have to specify the products and services?

Yes, you have. It is not possible to register trademarks that are too descriptive or generic. For example, you cannot register the term 'CAR' for automobiles. You also cannot register a trademark that is like other marks. For example, you cannot register a trademark like HAMASON as an online bookstore because it resembles the Amazon brand name.  

If you are unaware of which class or classes best protect your goods and services, we recommend you order the Trademark Study. Our experienced attorneys will review your product or service description and match it to the class or classes most for your business activity. 

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What is a priority claim and when can I use it?

A priority claim is an allowance based on Article 4 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. It enables you as the owner of a filed trademark to file subsequent trademark applications in any of the Convention’s signatory countries using the effective date of your first application as long as you file the subsequent applications within six months of your original trademark application.  That means if you apply for a trademark in Canada, five months later, you can apply for a trademark in France using the effective date of your Canadian application.

We strongly recommend that you submit your additional applications as soon as possible after your base application.  Many countries have strict requirements regarding the type of documentation required in order to claim priority (sometimes including legalization and translation of the original application). 

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What happens if oppositions or objections arise during the registration process?

The purpose of the Trademark Study is to assess the probabilities of objections and oppositions. If objections or oppositions arise, Nominus.com relies on experienced Trademark Attorneys that will guide you in the appropriate course of action.

Upon notification of an office action or opposition, we strive to:

  • Communicate the details of the action to you as quickly as possible.
  • Include future steps and possible arguments.
  • Monitor deadlines and explain the costs to prepare and submit a response, if applicable.
     
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What does it mean to file a trademark with a Claim of Priority?

A Claim of Priority, often referred to as Convention Priority, is a provision outlined in the Paris Convention. This provision enables applicants to seek trademark protection in any member nation within six months from their first filing, all while maintaining the initial application date. This mechanism provides applicants with a priority advantage for registering their trademark in all member countries of the Paris Union, streamlining the process of securing international trademark protection.

Trademark Search
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Why do I need to perform a trademark search?

Once you have a product or service and think you have a name for it, how do you know you can use it as your own? What happens if you unintentionally use a registered trademark name? 

Too many people use a name without knowing whether or not they have the legal right to do so. They organize massive marketing campaigns with names they later find they’re not allowed to use. Performing a trademark search before deciding which trademark to register is a wise thing to do, especially when you consider future risks of litigation.  

It is a good idea to carry out some research before starting to do business with a trademark. It may not be in your best interest to use a mark if another company is already actively conducting business in the same class.  The other company may object to you using the trademark and legally prohibit you from doing so.

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What is a preliminary trademark search?

Your preliminary trademark search is an important first step before you spend time and money considering whether to apply for a potential trademark or not.

If you have trademark experience, you can use our free trademark search engine, or others like the TMView trademark search engine, to search for existing marks that are identical to your planned trademark. While preliminary trademark searches are a critical part of your registration process, a successful search that shows no conflicts with identical marks does not necessarily mean the Trademark Office will not reject your registration application. 

if you have little or no experience dealing with trademarks, we suggest you find professional help. Our company offers the service Trademark Study. The Study will give you details about the classes where might want to register your trademark, it will also list identical and similar trademarks, and finally, it will provide you an Attorney's recommendation about registration possibilities and use of your trademark.

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Where can I perform a trademark search?

If you know a little about trademark registration, you can search using any online trademark search tool. If not, we recommend that you hire a trademark attorney or trademark service like Nominus.com to handle your trademark registration requirements, especially the trademark search because the process is complex and relatively time-consuming.

Please note that if you don’t manage to complete the application process correctly, the registration can drag on for several months and end up costing far more than you intended to pay. The trademark search is a critical part of the process.

A broad trademark search is essential in today's marketplace, given the increasing number of unregistered and common law trademarks. Globalization also raises the question of entering international markets and registering trademarks in foreign countries to protect both your brand and your property rights.

Please note that even a complete trademark search does not necessarily guarantee your trademark will be accepted and registered. A  Trademark Study includes an extended review process and, more significantly, a formal evaluation of the likelihood that your application will be successful.

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