For the promotion of the development of creative designs, the provision concerning the level of creativity (Article No. 3(2)) has been revised. The former Design Law stipulated that, if a design could easily have been created, prior to the filing of the design application, by a person with ordinary skill in the art to which the design pertains, on the basis of a shape, pattern, or color, or a combination thereof widely known in Japan, a design registration should not be granted. The current law raises the level of creativity by changing the "widely known in Japan" statement to "publicly known in Japan or abroad". Accordingly, a design that could easily have been created by a person with ordinary skill in the art to which the design pertains on the basis of publicly known designs or motifs in Japan or abroad will be rejected.
A design created on the basis of a publicly known design only by making partial changes to the structural elements of the design such as a change of material, an addition of colors and/or color change, or an addition and/or elimination of patterns.
A design created on the basis of a publicly known design by making changes to the arrangement and/or ratio of all or a part of the structural elements of the design or a design created on the basis of a combination of several publicly known designs.
A design created on the basis of a publicly known shape, pattern, color, or a combination thereof with little change, or a design created on the basis of a natural object or a publicly known building with little change.
A design created by merely diverting a publicly known design for a commercial purpose.
However, if an application has been rejected for reasons ? and/or ? above, it may be possible to overcome the rejection by asserting that, although all of the structural elements are publicly known, the design, judged as a whole, has created a new aesthetic effect.