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May 2024 [Legal] Newsletter

May [Legal] Newsletter

Japan Patent Office: Announces guidelines for designated goods and designated services regarding virtual space and non-fungible tokens (NFT)

On March 29, 2024, the Japan Patent Office published guidelines for designated goods and services relating to virtual space and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

In recent years, as the use of virtual space for business has progressed, the number of trademark registration applications specifying goods and services related to virtual space is on the rise. The Japan Patent Office has recently created guidelines for designated goods and designated services regarding virtual space and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and clarified their current operation.

 

1. About virtual products

“Virtual products” refers to “digital data primarily used to display the shape of products, etc. in virtual space (Note 1).” "Virtual goods" cannot be used alone as an indication of designated goods or designated services because it is unclear what kind of goods, etc. they represent and the term is wide-ranging. Furthermore, even when it is referred to as "virtual clothing," it is unclear and cannot be used alone as an indication of designated goods or designated services.

(Note 1) A virtual space is a "virtual three-dimensional space built on the Internet in which many people can participate and in which they can freely act."

(1)employableDisplay of designated goods or designated services

From the perspective of international harmonization, the following indications can be adopted as indications of designated goods and designated services.

Category 9 “Downloadable virtual clothing”

Class 9 "Downloadable computer program for displaying clothing in virtual space"

Category 9 “Downloadable image files for displaying clothing in virtual space”

Class 35 “Provision of benefits to customers in the online retail business of downloadable virtual clothing”

Class 41 “Online provision of images for displaying clothing in virtual space”

Class 42 "Provision of computer programs for displaying clothing in virtual space"

In all of the above indications, regarding the "clothing" part, products listed in the similar products and services examination standards (i.e.,Displays that can be used alone as displays for designated products) can be replaced with

(2)cannot be hiredDisplay of designated goods or designated services

Among the designated goods or designated services indicated in (1) above, the "clothing" portion is broad and unclear.

Displays that are similar to, but do not match, the designated goods or designated services displayed in (1) above.

Example "Downloadable VirtualProducts”, “Downloadable virtual Of"Clothing"

 

2. About non-fungible tokens (NFTs)

"Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)" are "digital data that cannot be counterfeited or tampered with," and have functions on the blockchain that provide uniqueness to digital data to ensure authenticity and track transaction history. The word is also used to mean ``something that has information embedded in it that proves that it is unique data, such as a work of art, that has value because it is not a reproduction.'' Therefore, "Non-fungible token (NFT)," "Non-fungible token," and "NFT" cannot be used as indications of designated goods or designated services in principle, as their meanings cannot be specified and are unclear when taken alone. However, if the following displayavailable for hire.

Category 9 “Downloadable digital image files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 9 “Downloadable computer software applications for the generation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 25 “Real clothing authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 35 “Providing benefits to customers in the course of retailing downloadable digital image files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 35 “Provision of an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of downloadable digital image files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Category 35 “Procedure for listing downloadable digital image files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFT) on online market”

Category 35 “Proxy handling of administrative procedures for obtaining certification using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for digital image files”

Category 35 “Agency for purchasing digital image files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 36 “Management of crypto assets authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 42 “Provision of computer software for generating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that cannot be downloaded online”

The terms "non-fungible token (NFT)," "non-fungible token," and "NFT" are interchangeable.

 

Reference URL:

https://www.jpo.go.jp/system/trademark/gaiyo/bunrui/kaso_nft_guideline.html

https://www.jpo.go.jp/system/laws/rule/guideline/trademark/binran/document/index/46_02.pdf

 

Cabinet Office “Intellectual Property Study Group in the AI ​​Era” presents interim summary draft

Following the subcommittee of the Copyright Subcommittee of the Council for Cultural Affairs summarizing its "thoughts" on generative AI (artificial intelligence) and copyright, the Cabinet Office held an online "Intellectual Property Rights Study Group in the AI ​​Era" on March 21 to discuss generative AI and the nature of intellectual property rights protection, and presented a draft outline of an interim summary.

The study group was established to consider necessary response policies, etc., taking into account the arrangements made by relevant ministries and agencies regarding issues surrounding the relationship between AI and intellectual property rights, etc. The study group began in October 6 and this is its sixth meeting.

The ``idea'' compiled by the subcommittee of the Copyright Subcommittee of the Cultural Affairs Council set out examples where the use of AI could constitute copyright infringement within the framework of the current copyright law, but in parallel, the Cabinet Office The study group has been discussing the relationship between AI and intellectual property rights in general, such as copyrights, design rights, and trademark rights.

``Style'' that does not amount to concrete expression by the creator is not protected by copyright law. Regarding the ``voices'' of voice actors and others used in the development of AI that generates synthetic voices, it was pointed out that it is ``not very likely'' that they will be protected by portrait rights. On the other hand, as an example that could be subject to the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, which promotes fair competition between businesses, it cited the act of illegally acquiring and using trade secrets during the data learning stage.

The study group plans to formulate an interim summary based on the draft outline in late April, and have it reflected in the government's intellectual property promotion plan, which is scheduled to be announced around June.

 

Reference URL:

https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/titeki2/ai_kentoukai/gijisidai/dai6/index.html

https://www.bunka.go.jp/seisaku/bunkashingikai/chosakuken/hoseido/r05_07/pdf/94024201_01.pdf

 

Guidebook for application for design registration of images used in virtual space

With the revision of the Design Act in 2019, the scope of protection for designs has been expanded to include the image itself, separate from the article. Since then, virtual spaces such as the Metaverse have developed rapidly, and images used in virtual spaces are now required to be protected under the Design Act. Many of the images used in virtual space have properties different from conventional images.

Therefore, a guidebook has been created that summarizes the basic thinking regarding the scope of protection under the current Design Law and includes illustrations of image designs in virtual space. This guidebook introduces examples of images that are and are not recognized as images that are subject to protection under the Design Law, and also explains how to fill out application forms and drawings. .

Key points of the material

“Some images used in virtual space can be protected under the Design Act!”

“How to fill in the application form and drawings for an image design application?”

“Introducing examples of images that are and are not recognized as subject to protection under the Design Act!”

From the guidelines

From the Japan Patent Office website

 

 

 

 

Newsletter translated into English

JPO Publishers Guidelines for Designated Goods and Designated Services Related to Virtual Environments and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

On March 29, 2024, the JPO published guidelines for designated goods and services related to virtual environments and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

In recent years, applications for trademark registration designating goods and services related to virtual environments have been on the rise against the backdrop of the increasing use of virtual environments in business. To clarify the current handling of matters, the JPO has now prepared guidelines for designating goods and services related to virtual environments and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

 

1.Virtual goods

The term “virtual goods” means “digital data for displaying the shape of the goods or the like mainly in virtual environments” (Note 1). Since “virtual goods” is unclear and broad as to what kind of shape of goods, etc. are represented, it is not acceptable alone as an indication of the designated goods or services. Also, even if, for example, “virtual clothing” is used, it is unclear and not acceptable alone as an indication of the designated goods or services.

(Note 1) “Virtual environment” refers to “a virtual three-dimensional space built on the Internet where many people can participate and where participants can act freely”.

(1) Indications that are acceptable for designated goods or designated services

From the viewpoint of international harmonization, the following indications are acceptable as indications of designated goods and services.

Class 9: “Downloadable virtual clothing”

Class 9: “Downloadable computer programs for displaying clothing in virtual environments”

Class 9: “Downloadable image files for displaying clothing in virtual environments”

Class 35: “Online retail services for downloadable virtual clothing”

Class 41: “Providing online images for displaying clothing in virtual environments”

Class 42: “Providing computer programs on data networks for displaying clothing in virtual environments”

Also, for all of the above indications the “clothing” part can be replaced by goods listed in the Examination Guidelines for Similar Goods and Services, etc. (ie, indications that can be adopted as indications of the designated goods by themselves).

(2) Indications that are unacceptable for designated goods or services

Indications in which the “clothing” part of the designated goods or services indicated in (1) above is broad and unclear.

Indications which are similar to but not identical to the designated goods or services indicated in (1) above.

Eg “downloadable virtual goods“, “downloadable clothing that is virtual"

 

2. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)

A “non-fungible token (NFT)” is “digital data that cannot be falsified or tampered with”. It has a function of providing uniqueness to digital data on the blockchain to ensure authenticity, and a function of allowing tracking of transaction histories. The term is also used in the sense of “something valuable that is not a reproduction, such as artwork, and that is embedded with information proving that it is a unique piece data”. Therefore, “non-fungible token (NFT)”, “non-fungible token” and “NFT” are in principle unacceptable as indications of designated or services, because their meanings are not identifiable and clear on their own. However, the following goods indications are acceptable.

Class 9: “Downloadable digital image files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 9: “Downloadable computer software applications for minting non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 25: “Clothing authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 35: “Retail services relating to downloadable digital image files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 35: “Provision of an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of downloadable digital image files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 35: “Listing of downloadable digital image files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in online marketplaces on behalf of others”

Class 35: “Obtaining authentication by non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for digital image files on behalf of others”

Class 35: “Obtaining authentication by non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for digital image files on behalf of others”

Class 36: “Management of crypto assets authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Class 42: “Providing online non-downloadable computer software for minting non-fungible tokens (NFTs)”

Also, the terms “non-fungible token (NFT)”, “non-fungible token” and “NFT” are mutually interchangeable.

 

Reference URLs:

https://www.jpo.go.jp/system/trademark/gaiyo/bunrui/kaso_nft_guideline.html

https://www.jpo.go.jp/system/laws/rule/guideline/trademark/binran/document/index/46_02.pdf

 

The Cabinet Office's “Study Group on Intellectual Property in the Age of Age” Presents Draft Outline for Interim Summary.

In response to a subcommittee of the Copyright Subcommittee of the Council for Cultural Affairs compiling its thoughts on AI (Artificial Intelligence) and copyright, the Cabinet Office held an online meeting on March 21 to discuss the current state of generative AI and intellectual property protection, and presented a draft outline for an interim summary.

The study group was established to examine the necessary policies, etc., for dealing with issues concerning the relationship between AI and intellectual property rights, etc., while taking into consideration the arrangements, etc., made by the relevant ministries and agencies. study group started in October 2023 and this was its 6th session.

The thoughts compiled by the subcommittee of the Copyright Subcommittee of the Council for Cultural Affairs included the presentation of cases in which the use of AI could constitute copyright infringement within the framework of the current Copyright Act. In parallel, the Cabinet Office study group has been discussing the relationship between AI and intellectual property rights in general, including copyrights, design rights, and trademark rights.

“Style” that does not amount to specific expression by the creator was considered not to be subject to protection under the Copyright Act. As for the “voices” of voice actors and others used in the development of AI to generate synthesized voices, it was pointed out that the possibility of being protected by portrait rights “is not high”. On the other hand, as an example of a case that could be subject to regulation under the Unfair Competition Prevention Law, which promotes fair competition among businesses, the illegal acquisition and use of trade secrets and other information during the data learning stage was mentioned.

Based on the draft outline, the study group plans to formulate an interim summary by the end of April, which will be reflected in the government's IP promotion plan to be released around June.

 

Reference URLs:

https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/titeki2/ai_kentoukai/gijisidai/dai6/index.html

https://www.bunka.go.jp/seisaku/bunkashingikai/chosakuken/hoseido/r05_07/pdf/94024201_01.pdf

 

Guidebook on the Application for Design Registration of Images Used in Virtual Space

With the revision of the Design Law in 2019, the scope of design protection was expanded to include graphic images themselves, which are separated from articles. Since then, virtual environments such as the Metaverse have developed rapidly, and graphic images that can be used in virtual environments also require protection under the Design Law. Many of the images used in virtual environments have properties different from those of conventional graphic images.

In response, a guidebook has been created that outlines the basic concepts of the scope of protection available under the current Design Act and includes illustrative examples of graphic image designs in virtual environments. The guidebook introduces, in the form of case examples, graphic images that are and are not recognized as designs of graphic images subject to protection under the Design Law, and explain how to fill out the application form and list figures.

Key points of the document

– Some graphic images used in virtual space can be protected by design law

– How do you fill out the application form and list figures for a graphic image design application?

– Introduction of graphic images that are and are not recognized as subject to protection under the Design Law, in the form of examples

Source: Guidelines

Source: JPO website

 

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