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New Japanese Imperial Period Name “Reiwa” Being Included in Many Trademark Applications
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY INDUSTRY NEWS
The imperial period name may not be trademarked on its own but may only be registered in a trademark when combined with other elements in a way that can be distinctive.
The new imperial period’s name “Reiwa” was unveiled with much dignity and excitement on April 1, preparing Japanese for the new dating system that will begin after present emperor Akihito’s abdication of his position on April 30 and with the accession of his son Naruhito on May 1. The imperial period names may be included in trademarks if the overall trademark meets requirements of distinctiveness.
As of April 9, thirty-two online trademark registration applications that included “Reiwa” had been filed, and paper submissions may well boost that number. This sets a pace that may lead to an even higher rate of imperial period name-including trademarks than for the beginning of the present Heisei period (about 100 in January 1989). Many of the ones known are from food and drink companies, such as old sake brewer Gekkeikan.
Naturally, Japanese consumers find the new imperial period’s name an important societal marker and a sign of different eras and generations (like “the 60’s” or “Gen Y”). Foreign as well as Japanese enterprises may find useful ways to incorporate the new (or ending Heisei) period name into an already-distinctive trademark idea for fruitful results.
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Jiji.com, “「令和」商標申請３２件＝酒や茶、和菓子など [32 trademark applications including ‘Reiwa’ for sake, tea, Japanese sweets, etc.],” April 24, 2019.
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