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Examination Guidelines for Trademarks

The basic concepts (including interpretation and operation) of the application of the Trademark Act in the performance of practical duties in trademark examination are summarized in the Trademark Examination Guidelines, which are classified as general guidelines for trademark examination and are broadly used in order to deepen trademark applicants' and their representatives' understanding of the practical duties performed at the JPO.

The current Trademark Examination Guidelines have been partially revised many times since the first version of the Guidelines was issued in 1971, in order to respond to revisions of laws, societal changes, and changes in the needs of users. However, extensive overall reviews and revisions of the Guidelines had not been made. In recent years, users have been requesting that the Guidelines be made clearer and more understandable, and the environment surrounding commercial transactions has been changing substantially. Therefore, an overall review and revision of the Guidelines has been deemed important, and the JPO is making efforts for such reviews and revisions under a two-year plan for FY2015 and FY2016. After that, the JPO has revised the Guidelines to make it more clear and useful for users in FY 2018 and FY 2019.

The following Examination Guidelines are effective on April 1, 2020.

Flow-Chart Concerning Trademarks-Related Procedures (PDF:41KB)

Examination Guidelines for Trademark (download all) (PDF:3,440KB)


Table of contents (PDF:12KB)

Part I: Article 3(1) (Requirements for trademark registration)

Part II: Article 3(2) (Distinctiveness acquired through use) (PDF:147KB)

Part III: Article 4(1) and (3) (Unregistrable trademarks)

Part IV: Article 5 (Applications for trademark registration) (PDF:587KB)

Part V: Article 6 (Single trademark on each application) (PDF:44KB)

Part VI: Article 7 (Collective trademarks) (PDF:40KB)

Part VII: Article 7-2 (Regionally collective trademarks)

Part VIII: Article 8 (Prior application) (PDF:43KB)

Part IX: Article 9 (Special provisions at the time of filing of application) (PDF:42KB)

Part X: Article 10 (Division of application for trademark registration) (PDF:66KB)

Part XI: Article 15-2 and 15-3 (Notice of reasons for refusal) (PDF:40KB)

Part XII: Article 16 (Examiner’s decision that a trademark is to be registered) (PDF:43KB)

Part XIII: Article 16-2 and 17-2 (Dismissal of amendment) (PDF:133KB)

Part XIV: Article 64 (Requirements for defensive mark registration) (PDF:45KB)

Part XV: Article 65-2, 3, and 4 (Duration of right based on defensive mark registration) (PDF:164KB)

Part XVI: Article 68 -9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, and 28 (Special provisions relating to application for international registration) (PDF:93KB)

Part XVII: Articles 2, 3, 4, 6, 11, 12 and 24 of Supplementary Provisions (Reclassification) (PDF:67KB)

Part XVIII: Others (PDF:84KB)

[Last updated 2 September 2020]

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