What is the application process?

Examination will be conducted automatically once a design application is filed. After a formality check, the examiner will conduct an examination for substantive requirements such as novelty and creative difficulty. The examination period takes approximately six to seven months.

When an office action is issued, the applicant may file a written argument and/or amendments in order to overcome the rejections. Amendments which change the gist of the design are not allowed. If the reasons for rejection cannot be resolved after an applicant’s argument, a decision of rejection will be issued.

Examination and appeals

How are the examination and appeals procedures conducted?

Applicants can file an appeal against a decision of rejection if they disagree with it. Appeals will be judged by a board of appeal examiners. If an applicant disagrees with the appeal decision, they can file a lawsuit against it at the IP High Court. If the applicant disagrees with the IP High Court decision, the suit can be brought to the Supreme Court.


What are the opposition rules?

There is no opposition system in Japan and the only means of revoking a design registration is an invalidation trial. A request for invalidation may be filed with the Japan Patent Office (JPO) by any person. If the registration of a design becomes invalid, the design right will be deemed never to have existed.

Registration time frame

What are the registration time frames?

It currently takes about eight months from filing a design to registration.

Removal from register

In what instances does removal from the register occur?

If a third party requests an invalidation trial and the trial examiners determine that it is invalid, the design right will be extinguished retroactively. The main reason for invalidation is that the design had no novelty at the time of filing or was easy to create. A request for invalidation may be filed with the JPO by any person.

Law stated date

Correct on:

Give the date on which the information above is accurate.

30 November 2020.