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Jul 25, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 14/16)
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Preemptive Trademarks Are Not Abandoned

On May 17, 2016, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) made an announcement regarding preemptive trademark applications.

In recent years, some individuals and companies have filed a large number of "preemptive trademark applications", for example, well-known phrases of other persons. According to the JPO, most of such trademark applications are flawed applications for which no payment of the fee is made, and thus will be dismissed. However, the Trademark Act and the Trademark Law Treaty, to which Japan acceded, provide that a filing date is admitted even if no payment of the fee is made. Furthermore, a process for dismissal of the application requires a certain time period. Thus, if a trademark search is conducted before the process is completed, the trademark that has preemptively been applied for is shown as a search result.

The JPO advises not to abandon filing a trademark application in the above case, stating that even if a payment of the fee is made, a trademark is not registered in a case where:
1. A trademark filed for registration is not to be used for goods or services pertaining to a business of the applicant; or
2. A trademark application is, for example, a preemptive application for registering another person's well-known trademark.