According to JPO statistics, the number of patent applications filed in Japan decreased by 1.6%, while the number of design applications and trademark applications increased by 1.0% and 4.8% respectively.
This increase in the number of trademark applications could indicate a tendency by companies toward brand protection. In point of fact, the number of publications of registered trademarks by Japanese cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies such as Kao, Shiseido, Kose, Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, etc. is rather large, ranging from approx. 200 to 600 or more.
Following the revision of the trademark law in 2015, companies such as Taisho, Kobayashi and Hisamitsu have been registering sound marks which are used in television commercials and whose features are distinctive.
Trademark applications via the Madrid Protocol route show a similar tendency to that explained above.
The annual number of patent oppositions appears to have stabilized following the reintroduction of the opposition system in 2015. . Our internal research shows that out of approx. 3900 oppositions, approx. 200 patents were revoked, a revocation rate of 5.1%.