Japanese Trademark FAQs
Japanese Trademark Classification
Q.How are goods classified in Japan?
The International Classification of goods and services was adopted on April 1, 1992. Prior to that, Japan had its own classification systems, i.e., Classification of 1899, Classification of 1909, Classification of 1921 and Classification of 1959. At present, trademarks registered under the above five different classifications coexist. This makes it difficult to determine the scope of a trademark registered under the old classifications.
In order to clarify the scope of a trademark registered under the old classifications, a reclassification system has been introduced, which will change registrations to the International classification system in stages beginning from the oldest classification.
Q.What is the so-called re-classification system?
Registration under five classification systems co-exist in Japan, including the International Classification System of goods and services, which was introduced on April 1, 1992.
The JPO requires that goods under the old classifications be reclassified in accordance with the International Classification within a specified period. Therefore, the owner of a trademark registration which was registered under the Japanese Classification System, must file a request for re-classification of the designated goods in accordance with the current International Classification System within the period from six months prior to the date of expiration of the registration to one year after the date of expiration. The JPO will notify the owner of a trademark registration of this period. Reclassification is not mandatory. However, if reclassification is not performed during this period, the next application for renewal will be denied.