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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Jul 20, 2009 (Newsletter Issue 1/09)
Japan
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3D-Shapes Only Non-Traditional Trademarks Registrable Under Japanese Trademark Act


Three-dimensional shapes are the only non-traditional trademarks that can currently be registered under the Japanese Trademark Act. In practice, however, registration of three-dimensional shapes is often rejected by the Japanese Patent Office due to a lack of distinctiveness.
The following marks cannot be protected in Japan: invisible marks (like sounds, tastes, smells and textures), a color or combination of colors (e.g., colors without any shapes) and shapes of marks that are moving or changing (e.g., holograms and moving images).