Recent Developments in Japanese Trademark Law

The Japanese trademark law underwent comprehensive developments over the past years. For example, the Japanese Trademark Act was amended, in particular to allow new types of trademarks. The examination guidelines at the Japanese Patent Office were amended correspondingly. Moreover numerous important decisions were rendered by Japanese courts in the field of trademark law, in particular by the Intellectual Property High Court. In this article, the amendments to the Trademark Act as well as the introduction of a new law regarding geographical indications are described. Moreover, important court decisions of the last years are discussed. These court decisions concern recordability as trademark and trademark infringement. In this regard, the decisions on trademark infringement relate especially to aspects of trademark similarity, the lack of use as a trademark as well as trademark infringement in the internet.