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  5. The JPO Strengthens Its Cooperative Relationship with the USPTO on Industrial Designs

The JPO Strengthens Its Cooperative Relationship with the USPTO on Industrial Designs

June 15, 2018

On June 14, 2018, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) signed the Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of industrial designs with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The JPO and the USPTO will collaboratively work together aiming at developing an environment to ensure appropriately protecting the excellent industrial designs of both countries domestically and internationally.

1. Background and objective

Against the background of rapid globalization of economy and increasingly maturing technology, it is becoming more and more difficult to differentiate products only by their function and quality. As a means to obtain international competitiveness, the significance of industrial designs, which embody the convenience and innovative features of products in unique and sophisticated forms and thereby attract consumers, has been growing.

Through their examination systems, respectively, Japan and the United States have a base of harmonized examination for acurately and stably protecting excellent designs. Additionally, a large number of applications for registration of designs are filed between Japan and the United States every year, reflecting a strong economic relationship.

With a growing need for international protection of industrial designs, Japan and the United States signed the Memorandum of Cooperation and agreed to strengthen cooperation centered on examination of industrial designs and to take concrete measures to develop an environment to protect the excellent industrial designs of both countries, properly and on a timely basis, domestically and internationally.

2. Signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation

On June 14, in New Orleans in the United States, the JPO and the USPTO signed the Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of industrial designs to further strengthen the mutual relationship, while confirming the past cooperation between the two offices.

As specific areas of cooperation under this MOC, the JPO and the USPTO agree to regularly hold Design Examination Meetings to further enhance their mutual understanding of examination practices at the offices; and to speed up the creation of the United States-Japan Common Classification System for Industrial Designs.

3. Future schedule

The JPO will continue efforts to develop global infrastructure for design protection systems through strengthening international collaboration with the USPTO and other patent offices in the world.

Division in Charge

Design Division & International Cooperation Division, JPO