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General Election for Outstanding Regional Brands in the Tohoku Region to be Held

Utilizing SNS, university students will call public attention to the attractiveness of regional brands and discover business opportunities

July 25, 2019

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Tohoku Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry will hold an event titled “General Election for Outstanding Regional Brands in the Tohoku Region,” aiming to call public attention to regional brands and further vitalize the regional economy by taking advantage of the Regional Collective Trademark System.

地域団体商標ロゴ

1. Outline of the event

Under the General Election for Outstanding Regional Brands program, the JPO and the regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry have been holding a series of contests in which university students in the regions hold interviews with trademark right holders or organizations that have registered their trademarks under the Regional Collective Trademark System and make use of their SNS Instagram (TM) accounts to convey information on the attractiveness of regional products or services while competing with each other concerning ideas on: new products or new businesses to be provided; measures for attracting public attention to such products or businesses; and other regional strong points.

Following on from the General Election for Outstanding Regional Brands in the Tokai and Hokuriku Regions contest in 2018, the JPO and the Tohoku Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry will hold another contest in the Tohoku Region consisting of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima Prefectures.

2. Outline of the Regional Collective Trademark System

Under the Regional Collective Trademark System, regional business cooperatives, societies of commerce and industry, chambers of commerce and industry, NPOs and other organizations are eligible for registering their own trademarks, i.e., a combination of the name of a region and the name of a product or service, if they satisfy predetermined requirements. Regional collective trademarks aim to appropriately protect regional brands, thereby contributing to supporting the consolidation of the industrial competitiveness and the revitalization of regional economies by maintaining the trust of businesses. As of the end of June 2019, 664 regional collective trademarks have been registered.

3. Participating organizations, universities and other entities

The following 19 organizations, universities and other entities will participate in the event.

Prefecture Regional brand Organization University
Aomori Prefecture Kazamaura Ankou (anglerfish) Kazamaura Ankou Brando Senryaku Kaigi (council for strategy for branding anglerfish in Kazamaura Village) Aomori Public University
Owani Onsen Moyashi (bean sprout) Purojekuto Owani Jigyo Kyodo Kumiai (project for Owani bean sprout by the cooperative association for businesses in Owani) Aomori University
Aomori Ai (indigo) Aomori Ai Sangyo Kyodo Kumiai (industrial cooperative for indigo in Aomori) Aomori University
Iwate Prefecture Masaki Wakame (brown seaweed) Tarocho Gyogyo Kyodo Kumiai (fisheries cooperative in Tarocho area) Miyagi University
Esashi Ringo (apples) Esashi-shi Nogyo Kyodo Kumiai (agricultural cooperative in Esashi City) Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University
Miyakono Madara (Pacific cod) Miyako/Shimohei Monodzukuri Nettowaku Suisan Bukai (working group for marine products under the manufacturing network in Miyako/Shimohei)
(Center for Vitalization of the Marine Industry in Miyako, Marine Product Department, Bureau for Vitalization of Wide Seaside Areas, Iwate Prefecture)
Miyagi University
Nambu Ichiro Kabocha (squashes) Honederamura Shoen Kabocha Kenkyukai (study group for squashes in the Honederamura Shoen area) Iwate University
Ashiro Sakiori (textiles) Hotarukago (circle for sakiori textiles) Iwate University
Miyamorigawa Yasai Jusu (vegetable juice) Noji Kumiai Hojin Miyamorigawa Jyoryu Seisankumiai (agricultural producers' cooperative corporation for products in the upper stream area of the Miyamorigawa River) Iwate University
Miyagi Prefecture Shiogama Oden (hot-pot dishes) Abezensyouten Co., Ltd. Miyagi University
Ishinomaki Oden (hot-pot dishes) Ishinomaki Fudo Tsurizumu Kenkyu Kai (Ishinomaki Oden Bukai) under the Ishinomaki Chamber of Commerce and Industry (study group for food and tourism in Ishinomaki: working group for Ishinomaki Oden) Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University
Ishinomaki Ochagashi (refreshment) Ishinomaki Fudo Tsurizumu Kenkyu Kai (Ochagashi Bukai) under the Ishinomaki Chamber of Commerce and Industry (study group for food and tourism in Ishinomaki: working group for refreshment) Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University
Akita Prefecture Akita Yurigyu (beef) Akita Yurigyu Shinkou Kyogikai (council for vitalization of the Akita Yurigyu brand) Akita University
Yokote Yakisoba (fried noodles) Kyodokumiai Yokote Yakisoba Noren Kai (cooperative for fried noodle shops in Yokote City) Akita University
Misato Manma (rice bowl dishes) Misato Zukushi Kenkyukai under the Society of Commerce and Industry of Misato Town (study group for all specialties in Misato Town) Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University
Yamagata Prefecture Yamagata Seruri (celery) Yamagatashi Nogyo Kyodo Kumiai Aguri Senta (agricultural center under the agricultural cooperative in Yamagata City) Tohoku University of Art and Design
Yamagatameibutsu Tamakonnyaku (konjac) Yamagataken Konnyaku Kyodo Kumiai (konjac cooperative in Yamagata Prefecture) Tohoku University of Art and Design
Fukushima Prefecture Aizu Yamajio (salt) AizuYamajio Kigyo Kumiai (enterprise cooperative for salt in the Aizu area) (under coordination)
Tuchiyu Onsen (hot springs) Tuchiyu Onsen Ryokan Jigyo Kyodo Kumiai (hotel business cooperative for hot springs in the Tuchiyu Onsen area) Fukushima College

4. Networking event in August 2019

The JPO and the Tohoku Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry will hold a networking event as the first attempt under the General Election for Outstanding Regional Brands program, bringing together university students, trademark right holders under the Regional Collective Trademark System and other stakeholders.

Following the networking event, they will also hold seminars by experts in the field of regional brands, workshops and presentations on the subjects of their activities by such students, and other events as initiatives to encourage these students to smoothly advance their activities involving interviews and preparation for business plans.

Outline of the networking event:

Date and time: August 1 (Thur.), 2019; from 13:00 to 16:20 (reception counter will open at 12:30.)

Venue: Seminar Room 2, Chushokigyo Kasseika Senta, Sendai City

Address: AER 6th floor, 1-3-1 Chuo, Aoba Ward, Sendai City (zip code: 980-6105)

Program:

Part 1:Seminars on regional brands by experts and others in the field of regional brands

Topic: Procedures for branding regional specialties and successful cases
Speakers: Mr. Takashi Asano, Executive Vice President, Institute of Intellectual Property Strategy, Asano Patent & Mark Attorneys; Chief Executive Officer, Agri Soken Corporation, etc.

Part 2: Team-based workshops
Team-based discussions by university students and organizations

Part 3: Networking event
Explanation of experts and speeches, presentations by respective teams on the subjects of their activities, etc.
Expected participants: Representatives of organizations, university students and representatives of other entities participating in the program, organizations supporting businesses in the Tohoku region, experts in the field of regional brands, etc.


5. Interviews to be held by university students starting from August 2019

From August 2019, participating university students will start holding around 4 interviews with participating organizations. From around early September 2019, they will start conveyance of information on the attractiveness of regional brands as the results of these interviews through their SNS Instagram (TM) accounts.

Note: Pictures posted on the SNS will include the official watermark (see the end of this press release) representing the mark of the Regional Collective Trademark System.

6. First-round contest in November 2019 and final contest around in December 2019

In the first-round contest, the JPO and the Tohoku Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry will select 10 or so outstanding teams of participating organizations and universities through an examination based on certain criteria, e.g., details of the information they have conveyed on the SNS Instagram (TM) and ideas on new products or new business. The selected teams will go on to the final contest.

In the final contest, these selected teams will make a presentation, and winners for the Grand Award (tentative title) and other awards will be determined based on the details of the presentations.

7. Schedule

August 1 (Thur.), 2019:
Networking event as part of the General Election for Outstanding Regional Brands in the Tohoku Region program

August 2019 onward:
Holding interviews with participating organizations by participating university students (around 4 interviews per team)

Early September 2019:
Posting by these students of information on the SNS Instagram (TM)

November 2019:
Selecting 10 teams out of 19 through an examination

December 2019 (tentative):
Final contest of the program

Links to related information

The JPO website concerning the system

Division in Charge

Trademark Division, Trademark and Customer Relations Department, Japan Patent Office