“I LOVE JAPAN” cannot be a trademark in Japan after a Court decision

The Japan IP High Court has ruled that the following application for trademark in Japan for classes 14, 16, 18 and 24 cannot be registered:

This decision confirmed the same earlier position of the local Patent Office which had rejected the application.

The main argument for this was the fact that the sign lacks distinctive character. It consists of the letter I, a sign of a heart in red and the name of the country. It basically means “I love Japan”.

This phrase is used to show support to different sports events or tourist attractions, places, etc. It is widely used in the country by many people and companies.

Despite the fact that it is written in English it can be understood by the consumers easily.

It doesn’t indicate a particular trade source of origin, that is to say, the consumers will not perceive the sign as a trademark of a specific company.

From that perspective it cannot be registered as a trademark.

Source: Masaki MIKAMI


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