What it Trademark?
My company has decided to start a new service. We are looking to invest in the service and get a lot of users. Should we register the name of the service as a trademark? I know that the cost of trademark registration is not cheap. So is it too early to register it?
When you start a business using a service name, you should first check to see if other companies has registered the name as trademark.
The trademark system allows you to apply to the Japan Patent Office for a product or service name. If the registration is approved, you can use it exclusively and prohibit other companies from using similar trademarks.
On the other hand, you will not be able to use that name if another company registers an identical or similar trademark for the same or similar service.
Therefore, when you decide a service or product name, it is advisable to investigate in advance whether other companies have registered a trademark with the same or similar name. You can use the website of J-PlatPat to check if the name of the product or service you wish to use is registered or not.
Should I apply for a trademark?
If no third party has registered an identical or similar trademark, you may use that name for your business. Then, should you go one step further and apply for the trademark yourself?
Many people put off filing a trademark application thinking like this
“We don’t have much money right now, so if someone registers that trademark, we can just change the name of our product or service.”
However, if the product or service is successful and the brand value has increased, a name change can be a major blow to the revenue.
It will also cost you money to change the labeling on the packaging, materials, and website that contain the product or service name, and it will take a lot of hard work to come up with a new logo. If it is a product or service that you are going to invest a lot of effort in, it is better to file an application and register it as soon as possible.
What is classification of trademark?
Trademark registration can be made for each of the 45 classes of goods and services. Note that trademark rights are basically not protected for goods and services in different class.
It is advisable to carefully consider which classes you should apply for based on the nature of your planned business and the possibility of future development. It is also helpful to check which classes your competitors have applied for.
Costs for Trademark Registration
To register a trademark, the following filing and registration fees are required at a minimum.
The filing fee is the fee to apply to the JPO for examination.
The registration fee is the fee to be paid upon passing the examination, and is payable over a period of 5 or 10 years, depending on your choice.
|Number of class||Filing Fee||Registration Fee (For 5 years）||Total|
|１||12,000 yen||17,200 yen||29,200 yen|
|２||20,600 yen||34,400 yen||55,000 yen|
|３||29,200 yen||51,600 yen||80,800 yen|
|４||37,800 yen||68,800 yen||106,600 yen|
|５||46,400 yen||86,000 yen||132,400 yen|
As you can see, the cost of trademark registration is determined by the number of class, so the more classes you apply for, the larger the amount you will have to pay.
If you hire an attorney or a patent attorney to file your trademark application, you will also need to pay the attorney’s or patent attorney’s fees in addition to the above fees. Please ask your attorney or patent attorney about their fees.
Trademark registration is an important tool of attack and defense for your business. If you start a new service and feel that it will work, we recommend that you consult an expert and consider registration as soon as possible.