The Japan Patent Office on June 25 decided to revise the trademark law to let companies register smells, sounds and textures as trademarks in Japan.
A draft of the revisions is expected to be submitted to the ordinary Diet session in 2013. The Japan Patent Office plans to study the examination procedures and the scope of rights based on approaches used by foreign countries.
In Japan, letters, figures and three-dimensional shapes have been recognized as trademarks, but in many Western countries, smells, sounds, movements, textures and colors can also be recognized.
For example, Japan’s Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co. has registered the smell of a poultice drug containing methyl salicylate and l-menthol as a trademark in the United States.
If the revision is in place, an international registration system will be available for Japanese businesses to file smells, sounds and textures for a trademark with multiple countries using a single procedure.
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