Every year, Japan's Manufactured Imports and Investment Promotion Organization ("MIPRO") publishes a "Directory of Foreign Brand Right Holders" (the "Directory"). This is a well-regarded reference book used by various enforcement agencies containing key information about foreign businesses' trademarks as well as the contact details of the brand owner.
Getting your brands listed in the Directory is a simple and cost- effective way to protect your brands in Japan. Over 150 companies have recently done so, listing more than 850 trademarks in a range of sectors including luxury goods, fashion, electronics, entertainment and automotive. Japanese Customs and the police receive the Directory for free and use the information in it to expedite import suspension and crackdown measures to the benefit of the listed brand owners.
In particular, for enforcement agency officers who handle an overwhelming amount of goods every day, the Directory is a powerful supplement to the Trademark Registry and databases – the Directory is in a simple, easy-to-flip-through book format, with trademarks and contact details clearly set out. For brand owners, listing key trademarks in the Directory increases the chances of being notified about potential infringement at an early stage.
Registration is open for the next 3 months
Applications to list your brands in the forthcoming issue of the Directory can be made until this September. The application form normally becomes available in June.
The Directory will list only registered trademarks of products or services owned by foreign businesses (but including cases where the current right holder is a Japanese company).