Annual Technical Report 2004 on Industrial Design Information Activities submitted by Japan (SCIT/ATR/ID/2004/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.


I. Evolution of registration activities

Changes experienced in terms of application filings and grants (registrations) with respect to the previous year

The number of applications in 2004 was 40,756. The number of registrations was 32,681.

Trends or areas experiencing rapid changes with respect to the previous year

The total number of applications is up 4% from the previous year. Among them, the number of applications in E group of the Japanese Design Classification (Hobby and Recreation Goods and Athletic Implements) has significantly increased in recent years. To be more precise, the number of applications of amusement goods has shown an outstanding increase.
The number of applications for the partial design had been generally in the increasing tend since the commencement of reception of the application in 1999, and in 2004, it accounted for about 23% of the total number of applications, while the number of applications of related design had shown decreasing trend since 2003, and it reached 17% of the total number of applications in 2004.

II. Matters concerning the generation, reproduction, and distribution of industrial design documents and of secondary sources of industrial design information, i.e., official gazettes

Publishing, including printing, copying techniques and electronic printing

The JPO has started to receive online design applications since January 2000 (electronic applications). The JPO electronically edits the collected data, acquired from electronic applications or electronic conversion of paper-based applications, and creates the Design Gazette.

a) Design Gazette
Starting from January 2000, the JPO has issued official gazettes that include publication of registered design on CD-ROM.
A single-volume Design Gazette contained a total of 700 issues and was published 51 times in 2004.
The Design Gazette enables a search by using 13 keys, including a registration number, goods and service related to the design, Japanese Design Classification and D-term. The Design Gazette contains mixed-mode type data, composed of text data and image data, thus text search using the text data is available.
The JPO has been providing, free of charge, viewer software to use Design Gazette. The software is also operable on English version Windows so that it can be used in overseas Patent Offices.

Main types of announcements of the Office in the field of industrial design information

The JPO published the following design documents in 2004:
Publication of Registered Design 33,524 issues
Decisions on Appeal / Trial Gazette 878 issues

Mass storage media and microforms used

Nothing particular

Databases and office automation

Nothing particular

III. Matters concerning classifying, reclassifying and indexing of industrial design information according to the classification systems applied

Classification and reclassification activities; Classification system used, e.g., International Classification for Industrial Designs (Locarno Classification), other classification (please indicate whether industrial designs are classified by your Office and, if so, which classification is used)

In order to cope with the new article concept and the like observed in connection with information and communication devices, etc., the JPO is to revise the Japanese Design Classification in January 2005. The revised Japanese Design Classification mainly uses the concept of the usage in the same way as the conventional Japanese Design Classification, with composition of 3-stage classification; group, main class, and minor class, comprising of about 3,200 classification limbs in total.
In addition, JPO provides about 1,800 limbs of D-term, which are mechanical search keys for further subdividing the Japanese Design Classification mainly based on forms of articles.
In 2004, the JPO assigned 40,756 filed applications and about 250,000 cases of publicly known documentary materials such as magazines, catalogues, Internet, etc. to be used as reference materials for design examinations to a Japanese design classification.

Bibliographic data and processing for search purposes

As bibliographic data for searches, application number, filing date, registration number, registration date, article, design classification, D-term (classification symbols for retrieving purposes made by further subdividing Design Classification) and others are used in reference documents related to applications. Disclosure date, acceptance date, publishing date, article, design class, D-term and others are used in reference documents related to disclosure.
These data are stored on hard disk document by document for use as search references.

IV. Search file establishment and upkeep

File building

The JPO has stored in search files the following: reference documents related to applications; 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) gained by electronic processing foreign design gazettes; and bibliographic data (including design classification and D-term). These are used as base data for the JPO’s design examination.
On January 1, 2000, the JPO started receiving design registration applications on-line. Accordingly, information on designs whose registration was applied for is automatically put into search files. The image data and bibliographic data in approximately 2,150,000 reference documents related to applications and approximately 3,230,000 reference documents related to publicly-known designs had been stored in search files by the year 2004.


The image and bibliographic data on 40,756 applications and about 250,000 publicly known design reference document were added.

Storage, including mass storage media

Hard disk

Documentation from other offices maintained and/or considered part of the available search file

Foreign Design gazettes.

V. Activities in the field of computerized search systems for industrial designs

In-house systems (online/offline)

a) Design Search System
This is a client server type on-line system for retrieving application documentary materials and publicly known documentary materials by using the Japanese Design Classifications and D-terms, name of article is applied, applicant identifying number, 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) on the screen of a terminal, for enabling high-speed screening. In order to support efficient document search, provided is a function to display the design classification, applicant identifying number, etc. by which there is higher possibility to find relevant documents as search information, based on the past examination results.
In the year end of 2004, the design search system was realized on PC which also worked as the terminal of the design examination peripheral system which undertakes drafting etc.

b) Appeal and trial decision search system (J-term search system)
Gazettes and other documents on appeal and trial decisions are converted into electronic form and search keys, called J-term, are assigned to them; thereby enabling search and browsing by using J-term. A full-text search is available for appeal and trial decisions issued after January 2000.

Administrative management systems (e.g., register, legal status, statistics, administrative support, etc.)

In January 2000, the design paperless system was started and the administrative and examination procedures were completely moved to the system based on electronic data. Therefore, a total system, covering from design application filing, formality check and substantive examination, dispatching, registration, publishing the gazette, requesting inspection of files, to requesting certification, was completed. 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 separate management of each application.
Based on the realization of the above system, the JPO started to receive electronic applications of designs. The high percentage of on-line applications has been kept since the introduction of the on-line application system, and the ratio of on-line applications of designs is currently as high as 90% (on average in 2004). As the JPO's system is a comprehensive system, the data processing and search system of designs are merely a part of all the JPO's system. Therefore the whole system should be referred to the "Annual Technical Report on Patent Information Activities".

Equipment used (hardware, including the types of terminal and network used, and software), data carriers used

Please refer to the "Annual Technical Report on Patent Information Activities".

VI. Administration of industrial design services available to the public (relating to facilities, e.g., for lodging applications, registering designs, assisting clients with search procedures, obtaining official publications and registry extracts)

Information services available to the public (including computerized services and search files contained in libraries remote from your Office and industrial design information posted by your Office on the World Wide Web).

a) Providing industrial property rights information via the Internet
The JPO has been providing the Industrial Property Digital Library service since March 1999. This service is accessible through the Internet and covers 54 million items of industrial property information by using document number and/or classification as search keys. This service was transferred in October 2004 to the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (NCIPI), and has been operated thereby.
Main services relating to design information that the JPO provides are as follows:

1) Design Gazette database search
Design Gazette published in and after 1889 can be searched by using document number.
The English service has also been provided since March 2004.

2) Use of assigned number when searching for design documents
The various kinds of Design Gazettes published since 1964 can be searched by using an assigned number and so forth.

3) Japanese Design Classification and D-term
Searching for flash report on registration of the establishment of design rights and Design Gazette documents by using Japanese Design Classification and D-term is available. Service of narrowing down by use of the registration number has been provided since March 2004.
Access to the Revised Japanese Design Classification is to become possible in January 2005.

4) Searching of Design Gazettes by text search
The Design Gazette and the gazette of applications of design whose registration was disagreed on consultation, after 2000, can be referred to by free-word search and document number. Access to the Revised Japanese Design Classification is to become possible in January 2005.
5) Classification lists
The Japanese Design Classification, the Locarno-Japan Design Classification Cross-Reference Table, and D-term list can be referenced to. Access to the Revised Japanese Design Classification is to become possible in January 2005.
Further, the published appeal and trial decisions in 1940, and after, and as related information, the information on appeal and trial decisions, the legal status on applications, registrations and decisions can be referenced.

b) Providing JPO data
In March 1999, the JPO began providing the JPO’s bibliographical and progress information to outside users by organizing and converting it in the standard format for better usability for the users. Further, the service was transferred to NCIPI in October 2004, and the service has been provided at a pace of twice a month to the outside users. The service of providing the bibliographic information on the publicly known documentary materials of design and the foreign design gazettes is to be added to the data in and after April 2005.

c) Reference to design gazettes, etc
NCIPI installed about 150 sets of devices for reference, in the gazette access room on the second floor of the JPO building, to allow the public access to, free of charge, the “IPDL Services,” “CD-ROM/DVD-ROM Gazette,” and the like.
Reading devices for this purpose are provided at eight other places in Japan (Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Takamatsu, Fukuoka and Naha) where similar reference services and so forth are provided.
A total of approximately 72,000 persons used the services at the above facilities in 2004.

d) Reference to examination and trial documents
NCIPI is collecting various technical documents (books, etc.), which are used in the examinations and trials by the JPO, widely from inside and outside of Japan and made available to the public.

e) Intellectual Property Center
59 Intellectual Property Centers throughout the nation have widely implemented support operations for users including regional companies and applicants etc. They have given advice to the users, provided them guidance in retrieval methods of IP information(design information), etc. according to their purposes, regularly conducted workshops and prepared booklets relating to retrieval methods of IP information etc.
In addition, in order to support the above project, NCIPI dispatches Patent Information Advisers, experts of the IP information, who give the users advices so that they can perform technical development, and IP right obtaining/management through effective use of the IP information.

VII. Matters concerning mutual exchange of industrial design documentation and information

International or regional cooperation in the exchange of industrial design information, e.g., in the form of official gazettes

The JPO mutually exchanges official gazettes, etc. with 102 organizations (including international organizations) in 88 nations, out of which it sends the CD-ROM Design Gazette to 25 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 gazettes on CD-ROM, recorded on an electronic medium (DVD-R or the like).

Exchange of machine-readable information, e.g., data contained on CD-ROM or magnetic tape

Since January 2000, design gazettes on CD-ROM have been sent.

VIII. Matters concerning education and training including technical assistance to developing countries

Promotional activities (seminars, exhibitions, visits, advertising, etc.)

a) Industrial Property Right Seminar
The JPO held briefing sessions as follows to explain how to conduct design search referring to the Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) to the users of industrial property information. These seminars were held as follows:
October 2004 Hiroshima, and Fukuoka
November 2004 Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi, and Kagawa
December 2004 Hokkaido, and Miyagi.

b) Patent Information Active Application Support Adviser
In order to realize effective use of IP information in medium and small-sized enterprises and universities/research institutions, NCIPI dispatches Patent Information Advisers to each prefectures to give advices for IP information search method, and to hold training courses, thus responding to various demands regarding the use of the IP information.

Training courses for national and foreign participants

See previous/next items

Assistance to developing countries (sending consultants and experts, receiving trainees from developing countries, etc.)

a) Activities and assistance through WIPO Funds-in-Trust/Japan
1) Training for government officials
In cooperation with WIPO, the JPO held training course on the Use of Information Technology.

b) Assistance to developing countries using other institutions
1) Modernization of Intellectual Property Administration
The JPO carried out the following projects in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and Malaysia through the JICA project-type technical cooperation.
For the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, under JICA scheme, from April 2000 to June 2004, the JPO carried out the "Modernization of Industrial Property Administration Project", a project for the modernization of administrative procedure at NOIP, a developing human resources was performed through the automation of administrative work.
For Malaysia, from 2002, under the JICA development study scheme, the JPO is going to support establishing a design application processing system and enhancing further modernization of industrial property administrative procedures to promote human resource development and information processing cooperation.

2) Training for government officials
The JPO invited counterparts, 2 from Indonesia and 1 from the Republic of Malaysia, to give them lectures/on-site training on computer-related technologies and other technological fields.

IX. Other relevant matters

a) A Cross-reference table between International Classification for Industrial Designs (Locarno Classification) and Japanese Design Classification (concordance data)
In order for effective use of the Japanese Design Gazette as examination reference documents in foreign countries, the JPO established the cross-reference table between International Classification for Industrial Designs and Japanese Design Classification (concordance data). As reference information, the JPO lists International Classification in the gazette in addition to Japanese Design Classification.

b) English translation of the Japanese Design Classification
The JPO has not yet prepared English version of the revised Japanese Design Classification in 2005. (English version of the Conventional Japanese Design Classification has been available.)

c) Information on reference design documents
The JPO provides in Design Gazettes information on reference designs which were referred to by the examiner in the examination process of each registered design.