Intellectual property in Japan

Having an Australian trade mark, patent, design right, or plant breeder’s right (PBR) doesn't secure protection in Japan. Here's how you can protect your IP in Japan.  

What types of IP can you register?

In Japan, you can protect your IP with a trade mark, patent, design right or PBR.

What to consider

Before applying, make sure you:

  1. Understand what's considered a trade mark in Japan and if your trade mark is eligible for protection
  2. Consider whether you should apply for a trade mark in Australia first
  3. Know the cost of applying for a trade mark in Japan and through the Madrid System
  4. Understand how to conduct a thorough search to make sure your trade mark hasn't already been protected in Japan.

How to apply

There are two ways to apply for a trade mark in Japan:

  1. Directly to Japan Patent Office (JPO)
  2. Through the Madrid System.

Apply via JPO  Apply via the Madrid System

What to consider

Before applying, make sure you:

  1. Understand what's considered patent in Japan and if your idea is eligible for protection
  2. Consider whether you should apply for a patent in Australia first
  3. Know the cost of applying for a patent in Japan
  4. Understand how to conduct a thorough global search to make sure your idea hasn't already been published
  5. Know about special filing requirements. For example, you'll need to provide a Japanese translation of your application documents.

How to apply

There are two ways to apply for a patent in Japan:

  1. Directly to Japan Patent Office (JPO)
  • If you have a provisional application, you'll need to file within 12 months to secure your priority date.
  1. Through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
  • If you have an international application, you can apply to JPO and convert your application into a Japanese patent application. This is called 'entering the national phase'.

You may also be entitled to fast track examination under the Global Patent Prosecution Highway.

Apply via JPO  Apply via the PCT

What to consider

Before applying, make sure you:

  1. Understand what's considered a design right in Japan and if your design is eligible for protection
  2. Consider whether you should file your design right application in Australia first
  3. Know the cost of registering a design right in Japan
  4. Understand how to conduct a thorough global search to make sure your design right hasn't already been published.

How to apply

For a design right in Japan, apply directly to the Japan Patent Office (JPO).

Apply via JPO


What to consider

Before applying, make sure you:

  1. Understand what's considered a PBR in Japan and if your plant variety is eligible for protection
  2. Consider whether you should apply for a PBR in Australia first
  3. Know the cost of registering a PBR in Japan
  4. Understand how to conduct a thorough search to make sure your PBR hasn't already been registered in Japan.

How to apply

For a plant breeder's right in Japan, apply directly to the Plant Variety Protection Office (PVP Office).

Apply via the PVP Office

What other IP can you register?

Japan also administers IP rights for integrated circuit layouts, geographical indications and utility models.

Integrated circuit layouts

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) is responsible for registering integrated circuit layouts in Japan.

Geographical Indications

JPO is also responsible for registering geographical indications in Japan.

Utility models

A utility model is a patent-like intellectual property right to protect inventions. JPO is responsible for registering utility models, which share some characteristics of a patent, and may be considered simpler inventions.

What can be protected without registration?

Copyright

As in Australia, copyright in Japan arises automatically when creative material is made.

Trade secrets

There's no formal application or registration process for trade secrets in Japan.

Further guidance

  • To learn more about intellectual property in Japan, visit the Japan Patent Office.
  • To find out more about Japan's World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) membership, check out Japan's WIPO member page.
  • If you're considering exporting to Japan, the Export Council of Australia provides information on licensing, clearances and access to finance and trade agreements.
  • For information about Japan's export market and economy, you can check Austrade and DFAT's profiles on Japan.