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This page contains the transcript of the video that introduces the design registration sytem and its uses. It is aimed at persons who have never used the system with the purpose of deepening their understanding of the basics of the system.

■List of Characters
● Koichi Chiba   ●Sanae Chiba
A husband and wife team who run Chiba Metal Processing Co., Ltd., a small metal processing factory. They know almost nothing about design rights.
● Shinji Okuno   ● Yumi Kurata
A venture capitalist and one of his employees. President Okuno handles product development, and Ms. Kurata firmly supports him in terms of rights-related issues and sales.
● Daigo Naito
A popular designer. Under the mistaken impression that his work is protected by copyrights.
● Yusuke Tadokoro   ● Mai Nomura
Students pursuing industrial design at a fine arts university. They know absolutely nothing about the design rights system.

Trailer    Design Rights: The More You Know, the More You Want to Learn

Koichi Chiba:

I love my work. Every day, I make machine parts…

Sanae Chiba:

Koichi, this is awful! Our product…

Koichi Chiba:

What?!

Shinji Okuno:

In order for the new business to succeed, this new product must become a best-seller!

Yumi Kurata:

Sir, we have a problem.

Daigo Naito:

Rights to a design? The copyright must be mine….what? It's not?!

Koichi Chiba:

Why might we be sued…over our product?!

Koichi Chiba, Shinji Okuno, Daigo Naito, together:

Design rights?

Yosuke Tadokoro:

I've heard of them, but…what are they?

Mai Nomura:

Aren't designs something visual?

Yosuke Tadokoro:

Huh? Then what about the "RIGHTS" part?

Yumi Kurata:

Design rights…

Shinji Okuno:

…create business opportunities.

Daigo Naito:

Design rights…are for designers like us!

Koichi Chiba:

Design right! I got one!

NA:

Design rights. The more you know, the more you want to learn.

Basic Version    Design Rights: To Know is to Benefit

1. Design Rights: To Know is to Benefit

NA:

Koichi Chiba and his wife run a small factory. Mr. Chiba is a professional and a born craftsman. He does not know what awaits him…

Sanae Chiba:

Oh no, Koichi! Our product infringes on a design right!

Koichi Chiba:

A design right? What's that?

Sanae Chiba:

I'm not sure...

NA:

Shinji Okuno, a venture capitalist, uses technical skill and innovation to develop attractive products, but counterfeit goods damage each one. His next challenge awaits…

Shinji Okuno:

This time we must enter the cosmetics market successfully!

Yumi Kurata:

Don't worry. Our biotechnology has improved the quality of this new skin toner, and with this chic bottle design, it's sure to be a hit!

Shinji Okuno:

True, but I'm worried about the knock-offs. They could look similar on the outside but have contents of terrible quality.

Yumi Kurata:

My research shows that obtaining a design right can help.

NA:

Daigo Naito is an up-and-coming young designer whose innovative work is applauded throughout the industry. But he's fallen into a serious misunderstanding…

Client:

Fabulous design, Mr. Naito!

Daigo Naito:

Thank you.

Client:

You've handled the rights issue, haven't you?

Daigo Naito:

Huh? Rights? I think I have the copyright…

Client:

What? You haven't gotten design rights? That worries me…

Nv:

You all seem unfamiliar with design rights. But by obtaining them, you can expect to reap significant benefits for each of your businesses.

Koichi, Shinji, Daigo:

Huh?!

Nv:

Take this laptop, which is popular due to both its functionality and its novel design. Design rights protect designs and differentiate them from those of other companies.

Interview #1 (Toshio Horiki of Panasonic):

Toughbook users are those who use computers outdoors, like the police, firefighters, and construction workers.
We continue improving its functions and design while thoroughly meeting the needs of outdoor users. Good designs don't come from imitations.

Interview #2 (Yasuhiro Tao of Panasonic):

I believe we're here today because of a consistent development concept and effective design rights.

Panasonic Interview #2:

For us at Panasonic, design is a key added value for products.
Design rights help us protect that value and protect our competitiveness.
Designers and the IP Department discuss design rights issues at strategic meetings like this one.
Designers explain the features and points they want to protect, and the IP Department points out existing similar designs and registration possibilities to decide on application contents.
The design rights department helps protect our designs and raises competitiveness.

Nv:

So effectively protecting designs through design rights is linked to a product's success.

Koichi Chiba:

I see. But that's only for big companies, not small factories like mine, right?

Sanae Chiba:

Yeah. Design has nothing to do with us. Right?

Nv:

You might think that design is irrelevant to companies who rely on their technical strength, but design rights are actually important to people like Mr. Chiba who create tangible objects.

Koichi Chiba:

But if it's something I made, and I didn't copy anyone, why might I be sued?

Nv:

Design rights are granted to the first party to file.

Sanae Chiba:

So, someone else had already created the design and obtained the design right?!

Nv:

Design rights also exist for the benefit of designers like Mr. Naito.

Daigo Naito:

Not copyrights but design rights?

Nv:

That's right. In short, design rights protect industrial designs. The Patent Office conducts an examination and publishes the Design Gazette, so rights holders and their designs are clear to all

Daigo Naito:

Oh…. What I need is a design right!

Nv:

Design rights can also help handle counterfeit goods, Mr. Okuno's concern. Specific action such as suing for compensatory damages and banning the sale of such goods can be taken.

Shinji Okuno:

Without fakes on the market, business will take off!

Mai Nomura:

Design rights aren't anything like what we'd imagined.

Yosuke Tadokoro:

"We"? Speak for yourself!

Nv:

Actually, many of the products that we use every day are protected by design rights.

Nv:

The mobile phone that Ms. Nomura is using is one such example.

Mai Nomura:

Wow! Really?

Nv:

Yes. In addition to mobile phones, many of the industrial products around us have been registered. You could say that we all live with design rights.

Koichi Chiba:

So this is covered by a design right, too?

Nv:

That's right.

Yosuke Tadokoro:

Design rights are actually everywhere.

Mai Nomura:

Yeah. We've been surrounded by them this whole time and didn't even know it.

Nv:

Design rights have also been obtained for articles like small parts, building construction materials, and industrial machinery.

2. Benefits of Design Rights

Daigo Naito:

So how can I get a design right?

Nv:

Well, there is a process. It is recognized only after an application has been filed with the Patent Office, an examination has been conducted, and the design has been registered.

Nv:

The Patent Office then publishes the newly registered design on the Design Gazette, which is available to the public.

Yumi Kurata:

So from that point on, no one can question your design right!

Nv:

Precisely. The scope of a registered design right covers similar designs as well. It is valid for as long as 20 years. During this period, the rights holder enjoys various benefits.

Yosuke Tadokoro:

What kind of benefits?

Nv:

You can expect benefits like these.

Koichi Chiba:

I see.

Sanae Chiba:

You "see"? Do you really understand?

Koichi Chiba:

Well, not really.

Nv:

Then let's look at how some companies are using design rights.

Nv:

This industrial rubber product company is using the design registration system to handle counterfeits after a negative experience.

Interview #3 (Yusuke Kato of Fukuyama)

We began manufacturing these tires about 12 or 13 years ago.
We had decided to get a patent, but since the design of the tire with holes had such a unique look, we also wanted design rights.
Once, two Asian manufacturers presented tires similar to ours at an exhibition, which was a problem.
By this time, we had obtained design rights.
Meanwhile, our patent was still pending.
We decided to file a request with Customs using the design right to ban importation of the counterfeit tires.
Comparing the designs was easy, so they were able to stop the tires from entering Japan based on our design right.
One of the reasons why our business has expanded this far is our ongoing product development and the protection of design rights
(*As for the case with this tire, since the design right owner did not actually file a request with the Customs because the interest parties had reached to agreement for reconciliation.)

Nv:

Clearly, design rights are effective in preventing counterfeit goods from entering Japan. You should even consider utilizing design rights to protect products that represent your technology.

Koichi Chiba:

Now I see! Design rights are even relevant to technologists.

Nv:

This manufacturer of breakers and distribution boards has been strengthening both its technology and its designs. With design rights, it has differentiated itself and gained a competitive edge.

Interview #4 (Shigeru Aihara of Tempearl)

We've been making distribution boards and switches for a long time. Because they started becoming more visible in houses in the late 60s, we began focusing on their design in consultation with designers.
At that time, we also started filing for design registration.
Design rights protect our designs and position us apart from our rivals.
No one can imitate our designs, so I think design registration is effective.
We match product and package design to differentiate them from competitors.
I think the idea of obtaining a design right for something the customer can touch and see is important, so that's what we're doing.

Shinji Okuno:

So you have to be proactive, too! This is what my business has been missing.

Yumi Kurata:

Let's obtain design rights and do everything we can to succeed!

Shinji Okuno:

Look at you!

Nv:

Since a registered design may not be imitated, it is a valuable piece of intellectual property. It may be licensed out, and there have even been cases in which registered designs were used as collateral for loans.

Daigo Naito:

Yeah, the designs I create myself are extremely valuable to me. Design rights are what allow you to rightfully claim that value as your own.

Nv:

That's right. Both the design and the name of its creator, the designer, appear in the Patent Office's Design Gazette.

Nv:

We spoke to Design Director Kazuo Kawasaki, who designs products ranging from traditional handicrafts, eye glasses, interior decorations, and machinery to computers.

Interview #5 (Kazuo Kawasaki):

Design is about creating a shape, and there's an overall vision behind it.
Without originality, a shape will not take form.
This is where the designer's vision comes shining through.
I believe that the protection of design rights is indispensable.
As a specialist, a designer is entitled to earn money.
If you want to benefit, that is, if you want to earn money from your design, you should be aware of how the design protection system works in our society.
Some procedures are well-established.
Once you create a new design, you must follow the set procedures for receiving design rights before product launch. I believe that as design professionals, we have a special responsibility to do so.

3. Excellent Protection Through Useful Filing Methods

Nv:

When filing your design, you should be aware of several useful filing methods that will allow you to protect your design more efficiently and effectively.

Mai Nomura:

Like what?

Nv:

Well, you can register the design of a distinctive part of an article, not the whole design. This is called "Partial Design".

Yumi Kurata:

I see! So we can defend ourselves against counterfeit goods that have a slightly different overall design but that preserve the design's critical element, which causes us a lot of damage.

Nv:

Exactly. This car parts manufacturer is filing partial designs as a defense against counterfeit goods and to set themselves apart from Japanese and foreign competitors.

Interview #6 (Yukio Kanemitsu of Kanemitsu Corp):

"Partial Design" is truly an excellent filing method.
It's really been like a savior to my company.
A product's shape depends on a number of design points.
We can obtain design rights for each critical point of a product, so this filing method is key.
When we file for a partial design in Japan, we also file it with foreign countries where "partial design" is protected.
At the present time, there have been no infringements on our designs throughout the world.
I strongly want to encourage manufacturers to seriously consider the importance of "Partial Design."
It really is effective.

Nv:

Many people have been using "Partial Design". About 25% of all applications are for partial designs.

Shinji Okuno:

That many? We should think about it, too…

Nv:

You can even protect designs with graphic images such as mobile phone screens.

Mai Nomura:

Really? Wow! "Partial Design"'s a great idea!

Yosuke Tadokoro:

Anything else?

Nv:

There's also "Related Design," which protects the original design and its variations.

Daigo Naito:

That makes sense! When you create a design, you also develop variations. How useful!

Nv:

That's right. By making the most of "Related Design," this company has been protecting a wide range of rights and raising its competitiveness in the market.

Interview #7 (Atsushi Takabe of Leben):

At our company, we make consumer goods like spoons and ladles.
We place a lot of importance on giving shape to function.
This is why design rights are so important to us.
We obtained about 200 design rights.
Over 10% are for related designs.
We obtained related design rights to protect product design variations.
Many variations can be designed at once.
To maintain a certain level of design consistency, I think we'll need a lot of related design rights.

Yumi Kurata:

Partial and related design. They both sound effective. We' must use them.

Daigo Naito:

Um, can I ask you a question?

Nv:

Go right ahead.

Daigo Naito:

I've already exhibited my design in a design show. Is it too late to file an application?

Nv:

Under the Design Act, designs that have been made public are not usually registered.

Daigo Naito:

That figures.

Nv:

But there is a provision for exceptions, so if you file within six months of the exhibit, you may be in luck.

Daigo Naito:

Great! It was three months ago, so I may be safe.

Nv:

You can even keep your design a secret.

Yosuke Tadokoro:

A secret?

Nv:

Registered designs are published in the Design Gazette. But you don't want to reveal the design of a new product until it's announced, right? If you need design confidentiality for reasons like pace of development or sales strategy, you may defer publication for up to three years.

Yumi Kurata:

Oh. So even if your new product's release is delayed, you won't have problems.

Mai Nomura:

So how long's the examination period?

Nv:

About 7 months from the filing date of your application to the first notification from the Patent Office. The examination schedule is posted on the Patent Office's website. I encourage all of you to take advantage of these useful methods!

4. Ending

Nv:

You can easily browse registered designs by accessing the Japan Patent Office's website.

Daigo Naito:

Cool! So I'll be able to see who's obtained which designs!

Koichi Chiba:

From now on, product development and design rights are a pair!

Shinji Okuno:

Design rights create business opportunities.

Yosuke Tadokoro:

Design rights is a deep topic.

Mai Nomura:

Totally.

Nv:

You now seem to understand the importance of design rights. In the next video, we'll take you through the application process. Don't miss it!

Nv:

And now, let's all work towards obtaining design rights!

Practical Application Version    Aiming to Obtain Design Rights

1. Aiming to Obtain Design Rights

Koichi Chiba:

Yep. Next time, I'm filing for design registration!

Sanae Chiba:

I'll help, too!

Shinji Okuno:

This new product is sure to be hot!

Yumi Kurata:

The bottle design's ready. We just need to file for design rights. Leave it to me.

Daigo Naito:

My only goal has been to create something amazing, but from now on, I'll have to think about design rights, too.

Mai Nomura:

To get design rights, you've got to register. Nothing happens until you file with the Patent Office.

Yosuke Tadokoro:

That's right.

All together:

But…what do we have to do to apply?

2. The Application Process

Nv:

You all seem enthusiastic about obtaining design rights. Let me explain application filing procedures.

Nv:

You may file electronically or on paper.

Yumi Kurata:

We have Internet access, so I'd like to file online.

Nv:

In order to use Internet e-filing, you must first purchase an e-certificate. This e-certificate serves as your electronic identification.

Shinji Okuno:

Oh, so it's like your signature.

Nv:

The Ministry of Justice's e-Certificate Registry Office issues the certificate to companies. To learn how to purchase one, please visit the Ministry of Justice's website.

Daigo Naito:

What do individuals need to do?

Nv:

Individuals can purchase an e-certificate from their local government using a Basic Resident Registry IC card. Private organizations called Designated Certification Authorities also sell them.

Nv:

You'll also need Internet e-filing software. Please visit the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training's website and submit a request for the software at their filing support site. You'll then receive a URL from which you can download the required software. You can also download several templates.

Yumi Kurata:

I've downloaded the software. Now I'm ready.

Nv:

When filing an application via the Internet, you must register as an applicant with the Patent Office. To do this, simply start up the e-filing program and fill out the required fields. After this, you must obtain the payment number needed when paying the application fee.

Yumi Kurata:

I have a payment number.

Nv:

Now let's fill out the application documents.

Shinji Okuno:

Ms. Kurata, you're in charge of the application.

Yumi Kurata:

Got it. Now, please tell me how to fill out these forms.

Nv:

You'll use the templates you just downloaded to complete your application. They will help you fill out the application form and prepare the required drawings.

Nv:

First, the form. Complete it in accordance with the template. The reference number is used to identify your application if necessary. Enter a combination of no more than ten letters and numbers of your choice. Next, enter fields including your address and "the article to the design."

Shinji Okuno:

"The article to the design"?

Nv:

In other words, the article to which the design applies, like "chair" or "table."

Yumi Kurata:

Based on past examples, this bottle of skin toner is a "bottle for packaging."

Nv:

Next, the drawings. In principle, you need:

a front view, a rear view, a left view, a right view, a plan, and a bottom view; in total, six drawings.

Yumi Kurata:

So I just follow the template and add the drawings, right?

Nv:

Right. The drawings present the design's shape, so add a perspective view or cross-section if necessary.

Yumi Kurata:

Finished. Once you've done the drawings, it's actually easy.

Shinji Okuno:

Nice work, Ms. Kurata. I can count on you.

Daigo Naito:

Well, I'd like to use CGs that I made on my computer in my application. Is that allowed?

Nv:

Aaah, computer graphics. Yes, you may base drawings such as front and rear views on computer graphics.

Daigo Naito:

So I can use CGs as drawings!

Koichi Chiba:

I can't make a drawing on a computer!

Nv:

Mr. Chiba, you may also submit photos, specimens, and models.

Koichi Chiba:

Huh? If so, then even I can file!

Sanae Chiba:

Great, Koichi!

Yumi Kurata:

Our application is ready.

Shinji Okuno:

So let's send it in!

Yumi Kurata:

Okay, here it goes.

Nv:

You're not done just yet. You must still pay the Patent Office a 16,000 yen application fee.

Yumi Kurata:

Oh, that's right!

Nv:

You may pay via Internet banking or at ATMs that have a Pay-easy function.

Yumi Kurata:

Okay. Then I'll pay at a nearby ATM.

Koichi Chiba:

I'd really like to hand deliver my application.

Nv:

You certainly may. Just prepare the application, affix patent revenue stamps, and take it to the reception counter at the Patent Office.
■ Mr. Chiba files his application at the reception counter (looking very nervous)

Nv:

You can also submit it by post, like registered mail.

Koichi Chiba:

I've finally submitted my application.

3. Outline of Examination Criteria

Nv:

An examination is then conducted to determine whether registration requirements are met.

Koichi Chiba:

I'm nervous, like a kid taking exams.

Nv:

If all goes well, a decision of registration is made.

Daigo Naito:

What if there's a problem?

Nv:

Applications are not rejected immediately. The applicant is first sent a Notification of Reasons for Refusal, which presents the problems found with the application.

Daigo Naito:

So we can present our opinion if we disagree with the decision's reasoning, right?

Nv:

Right. Once you've submitted your opinion, your application is reconsidered by examiners, who determine whether to grant or refuse registration.

Shinji Okuno:

Not all designs should be registered, should they?

Sanae Chiba:

So, what are the points considered during examination?

Nv:

There are several requirements, but the two most important are novelty and creativity.

Koichi Chiba:

Of course. Novelty and creativity.

Sanae Chiba:

"Of course"? Do you really understand?

Nv:

Novelty refers to whether the design already exists. It must be something new that the world has never seen.

Shinji Okuno:

Oh, so it can't be something you've seen before.

Nv:

Exactly.
Creativity is also important. The design must be something that could not have easily been created. An innovative approach is key to design.

Daigo Naito:

Yeah, we can't allow designs that aren't worth protecting to be registered.

Nv:

Examination is based on other requirements as well.

Nv:

Examiners with specialized knowledge in design, technology, and the laws conduct these examinations and base their decisions on the several million designs accumulated over the past 120 years.

Shinji Okuno:

It's boiling out today.
Ms. Kurata, could you get some ice cream?

Yumi Kurata:

Uh-uh. Oh! The registration decision!

Shinji Okuno:

What registration decision?

Yumi Kurata:

The design application for the new product. Look!

Shinji Okuno:

Yipee!!

Nv:

Congratulations. But registration is not yet complete. You must submit a Design Registration Fee Payment Form and pay 8500 yen as a first year registration fee.

Yumi Kurata:

So I just get another payment number with the e-filing software.

Nv:

Exactly. Your design right has now been established, so your design will appear in the Design Gazette. By continuing to pay the registration fee, your right will be valid for as long as 20 years from the time it was established.

4. Support Systems

Nv:

Now you know how to apply for design registration. Nevertheless, many first-time applicants may still be unsure about how to proceed.

Daigo Naito:

That's for sure!

Nv:

Don't worry. A variety of support is provided for those who need it.

Nv:

Organizations such as INPIT and JIII accept inquiries regarding application procedures.

Daigo Naito:

I'm sure glad we can get help from friendly experts!

Nv:

Intellectual Property Rights Counseling Counters have been established through about 3000 Chambers of Commerce and Society of Commerce and Industry offices.

Nv:

National and local public institutions also host seminars and consultations on design and industrial property rights.

Nv:

This is the Japan Patent Attorneys Association's website. Patent attorneys specialize in intellectual property issues from applications and consultations to disputes. This site allows you to search for a patent attorney or office that handles design rights.

Sanae Chiba:

When we got that warning letter, I didn't know what to do, but with this tool, we found a great patent attorney, which really helped!

5. Ending

Chiba Koichi:

The design right…we got it!

Yumi Kurata:

Sir, this month's sales figures.

Shinji Okuno:

Great. New product sales are strong.

Yumi Kurata:

Yes!

Daigo Naito:

Thank you very much. I've been getting more work. I'll bet it's because of design rights.

Yosuke Tadokoro:

I'm entering a design contest.

Mai Nomura:

Cool. Then you should think about design rights.

Nv:

It sounds like you all understand design rights and are making the most of them.

Nv:

Design rights are an effective tool in making your designs work for you. The products protected by design rights will surely become the center of your businesses. We look forward to supporting you in any way we can.

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