Domestic design system

Basic information on the design system 2

Basic information on the design system

For those who are applying for a design for the first time, we will provide an easy-to-understand explanation of what a design is, the benefits of obtaining a design right (different from a patent), and the requirements necessary for registration.

*This article isBasic information on the design system 1” is a continuation.

4. Types of design applications

The Design Act has many unique systems not found in other intellectual property rights. By understanding the contents of this unique design law system and using it in combination with regular applications, patent applications, etc., you can acquire broader and stronger rights.

  • Related design system
  • partial design system
  • Design system for knitting
  • dynamic design system
  • Screen design design
  • secret design system

Related design system

In design development, the reality is that many variations of designs are created from a single design concept. The related design system is a system that effectively protects numerous variations of designs created from a single design concept.

The Design Act adopts a first-to-file system, and in principle, if there are two or more applications for the same or similar design, only the earliest application will be registered, even if the application is filed by the same person. However, in order to expand the protection of variation designs, after the revised Design Law went into effect on April 2020, 4, the same applicant must As an exception, only in cases where an application is filed for a related design, it can be protected as a related design and rights can be exercised for each design. (Before the revision, in order to be protected as a related design, a design application had to be filed by the same person by the date of publication of the design bulletin for the main design, but the period in which a related design can be filed has been significantly extended. Ta.)

By obtaining design rights for variations of designs, it becomes possible to expand the range of similarities between designs. In other words, from the perspective of seeking an injunction, rights can be exercised over a wide range of areas.

(1) Registration requirements for related designs

  1. The application must be made by the same applicant as the applicant for the main design
  2. Similar to the original design
  3. The application must be filed within 10 years from the filing date of the basic design application.
  4. The right of the original design must not have expired at the time of the registration of the related design.
  5. There are no exclusive licenses granted for the basic design and all related designs
  6. It meets general requirements for registration, such as novelty and non-creatability.

(2) Points to note regarding related designs

As a general rule, design rights for related designs are recognized to have independent effects in the same way as ordinary design rights.

However, the duration of the related design expires 25 years from the filing date of the basic design. In addition, the transfer of the design right of the related design, the establishment of a pledge, and the establishment of an exclusive license must be carried out together with the design right of the basic design and all related designs, and cannot be carried out separately.

For more information about the revised related design systemClick here for the guidelines..

partial design system

This is a system that allows a design to be registered for a part of an article, etc. if an original and distinctive creation is made for that part. It is possible to prevent clever imitation by incorporating original and distinctive parts while avoiding infringement of the overall design.

■Specific examples of partial designs

  • Bicycle → saddle part, handle part, pedal part, etc.
  • Mobile phone → antenna part, button part, screen part (*design of screen design), etc.
  • Coffee cup → handle part, cup part, saucer part, etc.

(1) Registration requirements for partial designs

①It is a part that occupies a certain range within the overall shape of the product

<Examples that are not allowed>

(From “Design Examination Standards”)

・"Concrete blocks for construction"

②It is indicated by each part or by a part that can be called by a general name.

<Things that are not allowed>

(From the Japan Patent Office website “Q&A regarding “Partial Design”)”

<Acceptable items>

(From the Japan Patent Office website “Q&A regarding “Partial Design”)”

・“Patterns attached to textile products”:

It is not possible to obtain design registration for only a pattern as a partial design. It must correspond to the form of the article, etc. for which you wish to receive design registration.




[Articles related to the design]

Patterns on textile products

[Design description]

The part indicated by the solid line is the part for which design registration is sought.

[Surface view]

【Front view】


③It meets the general registration requirements such as novelty and difficulty in creation.

(2) Effect of design right of partial design

Design rights for partial designs also cover the same or similar scope as regular design rights.

The extent of similarity between partial designs will be determined from the following viewpoints.

  1. Whether the articles, etc. to which the design pertains are identical or similar
  2. Whether the uses and functions of the parts are the same or similar
  3. Whether the parts are identical or similar in shape
  4. Whether the position, size, and scope of the part in question within the overall form are identical or within a common range

Design system for knitting

This is a system that protects two or more articles, etc. that are used simultaneously and that constitute an entity specified by the Ordinance of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as a single design.

For example, if the design has a sense of unity as a whole, such as a coffee set, it can be filed as a single design, and the right to imitate the entire group of goods can be exercised.

(1) Requirements for registration of design of composition

①It falls under the design of a set specified by the Ordinance of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

②It must be two or more articles, buildings, or images that are used at the same time.

③There must be unity as a whole.

■It can be said that this kind of kimono has a uniformity.

1) Items whose shape, pattern, color, or combination of these are unified through similar modeling processes

<Example> (from "Design Examination Standards")

・“A set of food and beverage containers” ・“A set of eating and drinking utensils”

2) Something that represents a unified shape or pattern as a whole

<Example> (From "Design Examination Standards Part IV Chapter 3 3.3.1")

・"A set of furniture" ・“A set of kitchen equipment supplies”

3) Something that gives the impression of being conceptually related, such as a story.

<Example> Each component item has a picture of pine, bamboo, and plum blossoms written on it.

④The design of the set as a whole meets the general registration requirements such as novelty and difficulty in creation.

dynamic design

This system protects designs in which the form of an article changes based on its function, and the state of the change cannot be predicted from its static state.

In cases where the emphasis of design creation is on the unexpectedness that appears before and after changes in motion, such as in the case of surprise box toys, this system provides full rights protection for such dynamic designs.

When filing an application, it is necessary to submit drawings that show the before and after changes.

《Registration requirements》
① Must be a single design
②The form of an article changes based on its function.
③ It is not possible to predict the changed state from the static state.
④ There is a change that appeals to the eye, and there is unity in that change.

Screen design design

The 2019 revised law expands the protection of screen designs, which previously could not be protected unless strict requirements were met, such as making images used for the operation of goods eligible for protection as designs of parts of goods. it was done. Images are now recognized as designs, and the examination standards clearly state that the image itself, separate from the article, is also subject to protection.

For more information about the image design system after the revision in 2019, please seeClick here for the guidelines..

《Registration requirements》

There are two methods of protection:

(1) How to obtain protection as an image design (the image itself separate from the article)

*From the Japan Patent Office “Design Examination Standards and Examination Practices - Responding to the 2019 Design Law Amendments”

<Example 1>

Image for product purchase


<Example 2>

Computer with music playback function


(From “Design Examination Guidelines Part IV Chapter 1 Chapter 3”)

(2) Designs that include images as part of articles or buildings (designs integrated with articles)

*From the Japan Patent Office “Design Examination Standards and Examination Practices - Responding to the 2019 Design Law Amendments”

<Example 1>

Medical measurement result display image

<Example 2>

Digital camera

(From “Design Examination Guidelines Part IV Chapter 1 Chapter 3”)

■Screen design that does not allow registration

Images for decorative purposes only

① [Example] Wallpaper

Images showing movies, etc. (so-called content)

② [Example] An image of a scene from a movie or game

secret design

This is a system in which the contents of a registered design are kept secret for a certain period of time from the date of registration of establishment of a design right at the request of the applicant.

In terms of product sales strategy, it is possible to protect design rights holders from disadvantages caused by making their designs public.

《Billing requirements》
① Requested by the applicant. In the case of a joint application, all joint applicants must file the request.
②Specify a maximum period of 1 years and make a request at the time of filing or at the same time as paying the first year's registration fee.
③A separate fee will need to be paid.

5. Flow from application to registration

In order to obtain a design right, it is necessary to apply for design registration with the Japan Patent Office.

The flow from application to registration is as follows.

(1) Application

Submit the application and drawings in the form specified by law to the Patent Office.

(2) Formal examination

Applications will be reviewed to see if they meet the formal requirements.

(3) Substantive examination

The application will be examined to see if it satisfies the substantive registration requirements (novelty, ease of creation, etc.).

(4) Notice of reasons for refusal

If the examiner finds reasons for refusal, he will send a notice of reasons for refusal to the applicant.

(5) Submission of written opinion/amendment

In response to a notice of reasons for refusal, you can resolve the reasons for refusal by submitting a written opinion, written amendment, etc.

(6) Registration assessment

If the examiner determines that the substantive requirements are met, a decision will be made to the effect that the application should be registered (normally, the decision to register will be made approximately 6 months after the application). Additionally, if the reasons for refusal are resolved by a written opinion or amendment, the application will be granted a decision to register.

(7) Decision of refusal

If the reason for refusal has not been resolved by the written opinion or amendment, and the examiner determines that the application cannot be registered, the examiner will issue a decision of refusal.

(8) Appeal against decision of refusal

If you are dissatisfied with the examiner's decision of refusal, you can appeal the decision in a trial against the decision of refusal.

(9) Registration trial decision

If it is determined in the appeal against the examiner's decision that the reasons for refusal have been resolved, a panel of administrative examiners will make a decision to register the application.

(10) Rejection decision

If it is determined in the appeal against the examiner's decision of refusal that the reasons for refusal have not been resolved, a refusal appeal will be made.

(11) Intellectual Property High Court

Applicants who are dissatisfied with the rejection decision in an appeal against the examiner's decision of refusal can bring a suit to the Intellectual Property High Court.

(12) Registration fee payment

The registration fee must be paid within 30 days from the date of delivery of a certified copy of the examination of registration or trial decision.

(13) Setting registration

Once the applicant pays the registration fee, the design will be registered in the Design Register and a design right will be granted. The duration of a design right is 25 years from the filing date.

(14) Issuance of registration certificate

After the design right is established and registered, a design registration certificate will be issued.

(15) Publication of design gazette

A design gazette that describes the rights is published to notify the public that a design right has been established.

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