Annual Technical Report 2013 on Industrial Design Information Activities submitted by Japan (CWS/ATR/ID/2013/JP)

Where URLs are requested below, it is preferred that either URLs which are likely to remain stable over time (three years or more) are provided, or home (main) page URLs are provided with a short explanation of how to access the corresponding information.

The expression "industrial designs" covers industrial designs and models. Offices which issue design patents should report their design patent information activities in this series of Annual Technical Reports.


Outline of main policies and plans aimed at development of industrial design information activities and expected time frames for their realization

The Japan Revitalization Strategy and the Basic Policy Concerning Intellectual Property Policy decided by the cabinet in June 2013 clarify issues related to intellectual property policies. The Intellectual Property Committee under the Industrial Structure Council has discussed measures for addressing these issues related to intellectual property policies which the JPO should further accelerate and give priority to taking into account environmental changes in Japanese companies and the IP system. The Intellectual Property Committee has discussed a future direction of measures to be taken by the JPO, thereby sorting out three points to be aimed at and summarizing the specific policy issues based thereon.
Then, in March 2014, the JPO adopted the realization of the “the world’s fastest and utmost quality IP system” as one of its goals based on the said summarization of the Intellectual Property Committee. The specific measures are explained below.

- Realization of the world’s utmost quality service to provide information on intellectual property rights
The JPO will renovate the IPDL to convert it into a new information infrastructure aimed at providing the world’s utmost quality service better than similar services provided by the WIPO or the EPO keeping in mind the share of roles between the private and public sectors. Specifically, the JPO will undertake the following initiatives.

(i) Enhancing the service to provide bulk information on intellectual property rights
The JPO will efficiently provide bulk information owned by it via the Internet from the viewpoint of creating a better environment where this service is provided by private information providers. Moreover, the JPO will positively make its own data available unless there is any specific problem.

(ii) Realizing a new Internet search/inquiry service
The government has the responsibility for providing the wide general public including business operators and universities with information in a prompt manner. A new Internet search/inquiry service provides basic information on national and international intellectual property rights which is publicized in gazettes, etc. together with other standard functions taking into account the status of information provision of other Offices, in order to promote the dissemination of information to individuals and SMEs that have any difficulty in accessing such information particularly in terms of costs.
In addition, the JPO will strive to speed up information provision and improve user interface based on the function of linking different services in the process of realizing this service. The JPO will look for a possibility of this new services provided by other Offices and cooperating with research institutes for the purpose of introducing this new service as early and efficient as possible.

New projects launched or resumed this year in the context of the policies(plans) mentioned above, short description: aims, partners, tasks

Please refer to the subject mentioned above.

Main areas of industrial design information activities and related information and communication technology (ICT) practices which were in the focus of attention last year

On the IPDL, (1) the operation of Design Classification search (English edition) service was started in March 2013. In addition, (2) the link provision of Japanese Design Classification table (English edition) to the JPO’s HP was started in April 2014.

Statistics: changes in terms of application filings and grants (registrations) with respect to previous year; trends or areas experiencing rapid changes

In 2013, the number of applications was 31,125 (down 3.9% compared to the previous year) and the number of registrations was 28,288 (down 0.2% compared to the previous year).
In 2013, the number of design applications in the following technical fields has significantly increased compared to the previous year.
G2 Vehicles (up 10.4% compared to the previous year)
M2 Pipes for Wiring and Piping, Pipe Joints, Valves or the like (up 10.9% compared to the previous year)

On the other hand, in 2013, the number of design applications in the following technical fields recorded significant declines from the previous year.
H1 Elementary Electric Elements (down 21.2% compared to the previous year)
F4 Wrapping Papers, Containers or the like (down 9.9% compared to the previous year)

*The number of applications is extracted based on the main class classification of the Japanese Design Classification.

Other matters and useful links (URLs): annual report of the Office, news page, statistics, etc.

(Annual Report in Japanese)
(Annual Report in English)


Information and support provided by the Office to applicants regarding filing on paper and/or e-filing (instructions, seminars, etc.) – URLs

a) Paper based application
The INPIT provides the free consultation service on the procedures for industrial property rights at the Consultation Department on the second floor of the JPO office building. Moreover, the on-line consultation service on frequently asked questions is available on a 24-hour basis at

b) Electronic application
The INPIT has developed software for electronic application, enabling administrative procedures such as the filing of applications for patents, utility models, trademarks and industrial designs, appealing for trials and payment of the annual fees, and receipt of documents dispatched from the JPO, to be conducted online. The software can be downloaded for free at:

Availability of the application dossier in electronic form

a) On-line reference
The software for electronic application allows users to request or refer to application documents and registers from computers from their home or office, and to make a request for issuing certifications on-line.

Classification and reclassification activities; classification system used, e.g., International Classification for Industrial Designs (Locarno Classification), other classification

In January 2005, the JPO started using the revised Japanese Design Classification in order to cope with the new conception of articles etc. such as the information and communication devices. The revised Japanese Design Classification mainly uses the concept of the usage in the same way as the former Japanese Design Classification, which is comprised of a 3-stage classification; group, main class, and minor class, and consists of about 3,200 classification branches in total.
Also, the JPO provides about 1,800 branches of D-terms, which are search keys to further subdivide the Japanese Design Classification mainly based on the forms of articles.

In addition, in April 2007, the JPO started using the revised Japanese Design Classification that was amended again in order to cope with design protection of graphic image designs. After this amendment another classification stage for graphic image design was added below the aforementioned minor class.

In 2013, the JPO assigned the Japanese Design Classification and D-terms to 31,125 filed applications and about 210,000 cases of examination materials collected from foreign design gazettes, magazines, catalogues, Internet, etc.

In addition, the following information is provided.
a) A Cross-reference table between the Locarno Classification and the Japanese Design Classification (a concordance data)
For effective usage of the Japanese Design Gazettes as examination materials in foreign countries, the JPO established a cross-reference table between the Locarno Classification and the Japanese Design Classification (a concordance data). As reference information, the JPO lists the Locarno International Classification in the gazettes in addition to the Japanese Design Classification.

b) The English translation of the Japanese Design Classification
The JPO has prepared an English version of the revised Japanese Design Classification in 2005, which has been posted on the JPO website since October 2006.


Main types of publications in the field of industrial design information, outline of the content (industrial design applications, design patents, registrations, etc.) and medium (on paper, on CDs, online – URLs)

1) Main types and media of publications
The Japan Patent Office (hereinafter referred to as the “JPO”) published the following design documents in 2013:
- Published Registered Design Applications: Internet
- Decision on Appeal/Trial in Design: CD-ROM

The following is the URL of the Published Registered Design Applications provided through the Internet.URL:

The JPO provides in Published Registered Design Applications information on reference designs which were referred to by the examiner in the examination process of each registered design.

2) Outline of published gazettes
The JPO has started to receive online design applications (electronic applications) since January 2000. The JPO electronically edits the collected data acquired from electronic applications or the electronic conversions of paper-based applications and compiles them and publishes the Design Gazette.

a) Published Registered Design Applications
The JPO issued the Published Registered Design Applications in the form of CD-ROMs between January 2000 and December 2006. Starting from January 2007, they have been issued weekly on the website “Official Publication via the Internet”, thereby making it possible to download the publication free of charge at any time, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

In addition, in order to meet the needs of the long-term storage of the original gazettes data published via the Internet, the JPO prepares and makes available, one week after the publication of the original gazettes, CD-ROMs titled “Information on the Published Registered Design Applications” which contains exact reproductions of the original the Design Gazette which have been published through the Official Publication via the Internet.

A single volume of the Published Registered Design Applications contains about 600 issues and it was issued 50 times in 2013.

The Publishe Registered Design Applications enables a search using 13 keys as search keys, including registration number, indication of articles (goods), Japanese Design Classification and D-term. The Published Registered Design Applications contains a mixed-mode type data, composed of text data and image data, thus text search using text data is available.

The JPO has been providing viewer software free of charge for viewing the Published Registered Design Applications. The software is also operable on Windows English version so that it can be used in overseas Patent Offices.

Official Gazettes: main types of announcements, frequency of publication, medium (on paper, on CDs, online - URL), etc.

Nothing in particular

Information products (coverage, medium, etc.) available to examiners, including external documentation and databases

The external database is not used.

Information products (coverage, medium, etc.) and services available to external users; conditions of access (e.g., free of charge, subscription, etc.)



Legal status information (kind of information, coverage, medium, etc.)

Legal status information of applications filed in January 1990 onwards can be searched on the IPDL by using the document number such as filing number, publication number and registration number. In addition, applications filed in 1989 and before can be searched if any data (e.g. publication of Gazettes, requests for examination, registration to establishment rights, requests for trials/appeals) was renewed in April 1998 onwards.
However, this service is available only on the Japanese IPDL at URL:


Specific software tools supporting business procedures within the Office: general description, characteristics, advantages, possible improvements

In January 2000, a paperless system for design was launched and the administrative and examination procedures were completely moved to a system based on electronic data. Therefore, a total system, covering every procedure from design application filing, formality check and substantive examination, dispatching, registration, publishing the gazette, requesting inspection of files, to requesting certification, was realized. The effect of this system is far reaching, such as more efficient drafting based on the close link between the administrative system and the design search system, more efficient examination by implementation of electronic approval, faster design gazette publication and the separate management of each application.

With the realization of the above system, the JPO started receiving online applications for designs. Since the introduction of the system, the online filing rate has been consistently high reaching 92.5% in 2013. The JPO’s system is a comprehensive system and the data processing and search system of designs are a part of this comprehensive system. Therefore for more information on the overall system please refer to the “Annual Technical Report on Patent Information Activities.”

Hardware used to supporting business processes of the Office

Please refer to “Annual Technical Report on Patent Information Activities.”

Internal databases: coverage, updates, interlinks with external sources

a) Design search system
This is a client server-type online system for retrieving application documentary materials and publicly known documentary materials (including foreign design gazettes) by using the Japanese Design Classification and D-terms (search keys that subdivide the Japanese Design Classification), indication of articles (goods), applicant identifying numbers, etc. as search keys. The image data of the document retrieved is sent from the image file server and displayed (color image data is displayed in color) onto the screen of a terminal, for enabling high-speed screening. For an efficient document search, a function is provided to display the design classifications and applicant identifying numbers etc. by the frequency of them coming up as cited references based on past examination results.

In March 2007, search functions were strengthened and reference functions were improved along with the renewal of the search server. In addition, the screen design was made more convenient through a thorough review of the user interface.

As bibliographic data of filed applications for searches, application numbers, filing date, registration numbers, registration date, indication of articles (goods), Japanese Design Classification, D-terms and others are used. As bibliographic data of other documents for searches, disclosure dates, acceptance dates, publishing date, indication of articles (goods), Japanese design classifications, D-terms and others are used. The data is stored in a database according to the type of materials.

b) Search System for Appeal/Trial and Court Decisions (J-term search system)
Appeal/trial and court decisions are accumulated in the form of electronic data with a search index, called “J-term” and searching and screening for the appropriate appeal/trial and court decisions are conducted by using “J-term.”

In addition, a full-text search service is available for appeal/trial and court decisions issued after January 2000.

Establishment and maintenance of electronic search file: file building, updating, storage, documents from other offices included in the search file

a) File building
The JPO has stored in search files the following: designs presented in magazines published in Japan and abroad, in catalogs, on home pages on the internet and elsewhere; image data (including color image data) and bibliographic data (including the Japanese Design Classification and D-term) of foreign design gazettes. These are used as the base data for the JPO’s design examination.

On January 1, 2000, the JPO started accepting design registration applications on-line. Accordingly, information on designs of which the registration has been applied for is automatically put into the search files. By the end of 2013, the search files accumulated the image and bibliographic data of about 2.42 million applications and about 5.68 million publicly-known designs.

b) Updating
In 2013, the image data and bibliographic data for 31,125 applications and approximately 210,000 examination materials for the publicly known design were added.

c) Storage, including mass storage media
The image data is stored on RAID and the bibliographic data on a database.

d) Documentation from other offices maintained and/or considered part of the available search file
The bibliographic data and image data of design gazettes published by the KIPO, OHIM, the SIPO the USPTO, and WIPO are stored and those data can be searched by using the Japanese Design Classification and D-Terms.

Administrative management electronic systems (register, legal status, statistics, and administrative support)

Please refer to the subject mentioned above.


Office’s library (if deals with industrial design information): equipment, collection management, network of libraries in the country, cooperation with foreign libraries

a) Operation of the JPO Library, collection and management of materials
a-1) Operation of the JPO Library
The JPO Library, as a branch library of the National Diet Library, is located on the first basement of the JPO office building, and is operated in the following manner:
1. Users:
- JPO staff and general users
2. Open:
- 9:30 to 18:00

a-2) Collection of materials
The followings are collected: Materials concerning IP right legislation and the peripheral laws inside and outside of Japan, related materials necessary for understanding IP rights, related materials necessary for study of IP rights, and reference materials for general administration.

a-3) Preservation method of materials
The books are labeled and stored with a storage number and classification data, and the bibliographic information is inputted in the library system constructing a database for the books.

b) Interlibrary lending
Interlibrary lending of books etc. has been conducted among the National Diet Library and the branch libraries of each ministry and government offices.

Furthermore, the JPO is participating in the “Distributed Type Comprehensive Data System” which permits a batch data retrieval from the database of the books held by all the branch libraries by using the Kasumigaseki WAN (an inter ministry wide area network linking the LANs of each ministry and government offices (in-house Local Area Network)), which was constructed by the National Diet Library.

Publications related to different business procedures and industrial design information sources available to users, for example, books, brochures, Internet publications, etc.

The INPIT has developed software for electronic application, enabling administrative procedures such as the filing of applications for patent, utility model, trademark and industrial design, appealing for trial and payment of the annual fees, to be conducted online.
The software can be downloaded for free at:

Cooperation with universities, technology and innovation support centers, etc.

Nothing in particular

Education and training: training courses, e learning modules (URLs), seminars, exhibitions, etc.

a) IPDL training seminars
Training seminars of design search using Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) were held for beginners of industrial property right search from individuals and SMEs (12 times in 9 major cities nationwide in FY2013). The second and the first sessions of the seminar were held on on weekends in Tokyo and Osaka, respectively, and on weekdays in other cities. IPDL has been managed at the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT) since October 2004 (Trainings have been held since FY2006).

b) Search expert training seminars
The INPIT held the following trainings.

・Search Experts Training (Industrial Design)
This seminar targets persons who have sufficient knowledge in Design Act and aiming at cultivating human resources capable of effectively protect product designs by the industrial design right, and properly capture the scope of the right after acquisition of the right (once a year)


International exchange of industrial design information in machine-readable form (e.g., Official Gazettes)

a) Sending Official Gazette on DVD-ROM to overseas
The JPO exchanges official gazettes, etc. with 59 organizations (including international organizations) in 54 nations, out of which it sends information on CD-ROM Published Registered Design Applications to 23 organizations.

As part of the exchange of data between two countries, the JPO has sent to China and the Republic of Korea Design Gazette image data and analyzed D-term data prior to the first publishing of CD-ROM Design Gazette, recorded on an electronic medium (DVD-R etc.).

Participation in international or regional activities and projects related to industrial design information

Nothing in particular

Assistance to developing countries

a) Activities/cooperation through voluntary contributions (Funds-in-Trust) for WIPO
(1) ASEAN IT Roadmap Workshop
In November 2013, a workshop was held in the Philippines for people who were in charge of IT of the ten ASEAN member countries with the aim of sharing information on the actual status of informatization of each Office, and measures taken in the field of IT by the IP5, the Vancouver Group (Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom) and the WIPO.

(2) Training for government officials
Training related to informatization was provided for two weeks in Japan under the cooperation with WIPO. Trainees were invited from 15 countries.

(3) WIPO Regional Training Workshop on IPAS for the African Member States
In October 2013, a workshop was held in Zimbabwe for several ARIPO-member countries and OAPI with the aim of improving the capabilities of IPAS focal points and understanding on IPAS, and sharing experiences in IPAS support and trouble shooting.

(4) Deployment of the IPAS Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) in selected Member States of ARIPO using the IPAS (in progress)
The EDMS has been installed in five African countries with the aim of providing on-line services in the future, building up skills for the establishment of logical infrastructure for preserving and managing scanned images, capture & digitization of front pages, and developing capabilities of utilizing IPAS to provide on-line services.

(5) Digitization project at the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (in progress)
IP-related files are being digitized at the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office to simplify the procedures for granting industrial property rights and to achieve efficient IP administration.

b) Cooperation using other organizations for developing countries
(1) Sending experts
As of June 2014, the JPO sends one long-term expert to the Indonesia Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (DGIPR) and the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP), respectively, under the JICA scheme.

For further information, visit the following JPO’s website.