Japan Patent Office: ‘Trademark Registration of Era Names to be Banned’

In November last year, the Japanese government made plans to revise its trademark application criteria with regards to era names. On Wednesday, the Japanese Patent Office revised its screening criteria and confirmed to disallow all era names from being registered as trademarks.

The amendment came as Japan are currently preparing for the change of the current era name following the abdication of Emperor Akihito on April 30th. Historically, there has been a name for each emperor with a total of 246 era names since instituting the system followed by Emperor Kotoku in 645.

Under previous criteria, Japan allowed room for era names with exceptions to the current one, ‘Heisei’ to be registered as trademarks. Although the new criteria clearly states that all era names cannot be used for trademarks, expectations for well-known existing marks such as ‘Taisho Pharmaceutical Co.’ and ‘Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoki’ will be made.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan’s government will unveil its new era name on April 1st,2019 exactly one month before the imperial succession where Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne- only this time, with zero tolerance for the use of both past and current era names as trademarks.

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