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Nationwide General Election for Outstanding Regional Brands to be Held

- Taking advantage of SNS, students will call public attention to attractiveness of regional brands and discover business opportunities -

September 14, 2020

The Japan Patent Office (JPO), the regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Okinawa General Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry Department (hereinafter referred to as the “organizers”) will hold an event titled “Nationwide General Election for Outstanding Regional Brands,” aiming to call public attention to the attractiveness of regional brands and further vitalize regional economy by taking advantage of the Regional Collective Trademark System.

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 students in regional areas will compete against each other through the following steps: they hold interviews with trademark right holders or organizations that have registered their trademarks under the Regional Collective Trademark System; they make use of their SNS (Instagram TM)* accounts to convey information on the attractiveness of regional products or services, of which they have learned through such interviews; and they provide ideas on new services or new businesses, measures for attracting public attention to such products and other regional strong points.

Following on from the past General Elections for Outstanding Regional Brands, i.e., the FY2017 event in the Kyushu Region, the FY2018 event in the Tokai and Hokuriku Regions and the FY2019 event in the Tohoku Region, the organizers will hold a new event titled “Nationwide General Election for Outstanding Regional Brands” this fiscal year, expanding the target regions to all regions across Japan.

2. Participating organizations, universities and other entities

The following 16 organizations, universities and other entities will participate in the event.

Prefecture Goods/services registered under the Regional Collective Trademark System Organization School
Hokkaido Tokachi Wagyu (beef) Tokachi Wagyu Project School of Agriculture and Animal Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
Hokkaido Shihorogyu (beef) Shihorocho Nogyo Kyodo Kumiai (agricultural cooperative in Shihoro Town) Hokkaido Shihoro High School
Aomori Kazamaura Ankou (anglerfish) Yukaimura Kazamaura Ankou Burando Senryaku Kaigi (council for strategy for branding anglerfish in Kazamaura Village) Faculty of Management and Economics, Aomori Public University
Tokyo Naito Togarashi (chili pepper) Shinjyuku Naito Togarashi Project Department of Intercultural Communication, Gakushuin Women’s College
Yamanashi Kai no Kuwacha (mulberry leaf tea);
Kai no Kuwacha Pauda (mulberry leaf power)
Kai City Society of Commerce and Industry Faculty of Glocal Policy Management and Communication, Yamanashi Prefectural University
Gifu Hirugano Kogen Daikon (radish) Japan Agricultural Cooperatives, Megumino Center for Collaborative Study with Community, Gifu University
Gifu Okumino Curry (curry) Okumino Curry Kyodo Kumiai (curry cooperative in the Okumino Region) Okumino-Curry de Machiokoshitai, Gifu Prefectural Gujokita High School
Aichi Nishio no Maccha (green tea) Nishiocha Kyodo Kumiai (tea cooperative in Nishio City) Tongali Project, Nagoya University, etc.
Hyogo Amagasaki Ankake Chanpon (noodle) Team Amagasaki Ankake Chanpon School of Human Environmental Sciences, Mukogawa Women’s University
Sekishu Kawara (roof tiles) Sekishu Kawara Kogyo Kumiai (roof tiles industrial cooperative) Faculty of Human Cultures, Shimane Prefectural University
Okayama Hakuto (peaches) Zen-Noh Okayamaken Honbu (the headquarters for the agricultural cooperative in Okayama Prefecture) Faculty of Agriculture, Okayama University
Kagawa Ajiishi (stones) Ajiishi Kaihatsu Kyodo Kumiai (cooperative for development of Ajiishi) National Institute of Technology, Kagawa College
Ehime Tojima Buri (yellowtail fish) Uwaumi Branchi, Ehime Prefectural Fisheries Cooperative Faculty of Fishery Food, Ehime Prefectureal Uwajima Fishery High School
Kumamoto Ogunisugi (cedar) Ogunicho Shinrin Kumiai (forestry cooperative in Oguni Town) Faculty of Letters, Kumamoto University
Kumamoto Kuma Sochu (liquor) Kuma Sochu Shuzo Kumiai (cooperative for Kuma Shochu distilleries) Kumamoto Sosei Suishin Kiko, Kumamoto University
Okinawa Okinawa Soba (noodle) Okinawa Namamen Kyodo Kumiai (cooperative for raw noodle businesses in Okinawa Prefecture) Okinawa Prefectural Gushikawa Commercial High School

3. Orientation (September 2020)

In September 2020, the organizers will hold an orientation for the event online, bringing together organizations and students participating in the event.

Following the orientation, the organizers 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, aiming to encourage these students to smoothly advance their activities involving interviews and preparation for business plans.

Outline of the orientation

Date and time:

September 22 (Tue.; national holiday), 2020; from 13:30 to 17:10


Part 1: Seminar on regional brands
  1. “Regional brands seen from professional perspectives in the fields of patents and trademarks”: Designing value of regional products and approaches to making use of intellectual property
    Mr. Asano Takashi, Executive Vice President of Institute of International Intellectual Property Strategy (IIIS), ASANO Patent and Mark Attorneys; and Chief Executive Officer, AGRI SOKEN Corporation
  2. “Regional brands seen from product planning and marketing”: Approaches to calling public attention to regional products by encouraging consumers to understand them
    Mr. Kitamura Mori, Professor, Faculty of Comprehensive IT, Cyber University
  3. “Regional brands seen from a business operator”: Approaches to encouraging regional businesses, other than producers, to be committed to related efforts
    Ms. Shinko Yuko, President, Starfood Japan Co.
Part 2: Workshops by teams of students and organizations, etc.
Expected participants: Organizations, students and other entities participating in the event, experts in regional brands, etc.

4. Interviews to be held by students from the end of September 2020

Participating students will start holding interviews with participating organizations. From October 1 (Thur.), 2020, they will start conveyance of information on the attractiveness of regional brands as the results of these interviews through their SNS accounts (Instagram TM).

Note: Pictures posted on the SNS will be shown with an official watermark (see the end of this press release), representing the logo of the Regional Collective Trademark System.

5. Online contests for selecting winners who represent the respective regions (December 2020) and online final for selecting Grand Award winner (around February 2021)

In the contests for selecting winners who represent the respective regions, the organizers will select 9 or so outstanding teams of participating organizations and students through examinations based on certain criteria, e.g., details of the information which they have conveyed through their SNS accounts (Instagram TM) and ideas on new products or new business. The selected teams will go on to the finals.

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

6. Schedule

7. Reference: Outline of the Regional Collective Trademark System

Under the Regional Collective Trademark System, regional business cooperatives, industry associations, chambers of commerce and industry, NPOs and other organizations are eligible to register their own trademarks consisting of a combination of the name of the region and the name of the 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 in businesses. As of the end of August 2020, 688 regional collective trademarks have been registered.

Note: For the summary of the system and details of the regional collective trademarks that have been registered across Japan, visit the following JPO website for the system:

Note: The term “Instagram” is a trademark or registered trademark of Instagram, LLC.

Division in Charge

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