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Annual Technical Report 2005 on Industrial Design Information Activities submitted by Japan (SCIT/ATR/ID/2005/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 2005 was 39,254. The number of registrations was 32,633.

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

The total number of applications is down about 3.6% from the previous year. Among them, the number of applications in D group of the Japanese Design Classification (housing equipment) has significantly decreased.
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 published the following design documents in 2005:
Publication of Registered Design 32,703 issues
Decision on Appeal/Trial Gazette 637 issues

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

Nothing particular

Mass storage media and microforms used

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 electronic conversion of paper-based applications and creates Design Gazettes.
a) Design Gazette
Starting from January 2000, the JPO has issued the Publication of Registered Design in the form of a CD-ROM.
A single volume of Design Gazette contains about 700 issues and it was published 50 times in 2005.
Design Gazette enables search using 13 keys as search keys, including registration number, goods 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 text data is available.
The JPO has been providing, free of charge, viewer software to use the Design Gazette. The software is also operable on Windows English version so that it can be used in overseas Patent Offices.

Databases and office automation

Refer to the third section of paragraph.

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 January 2005, the JPO started using the revised Japanese Design Classification in order to cope with the new conception of articles and the like observed in the category of information and communication devices. 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 2005, the JPO assigned 39,254 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, Japanese design classification, D-term (classification symbols for retrieving purposes made by further subdividing Japanese 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 Japanese 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 2,190,000 reference documents related to applications and approximately 3,50,000 reference documents related to publicly-known designs had been stored in search files by the year 2004.


The image and bibliographic data on 39,254 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.
Starting from 2006, the system will incorporate data that groups together a registered design and public material representing its embodiment and when the user browses either data, the other data will not be retrieved,thereby reducing the number of documents to be searched.

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 2005). 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)

Planning, administration, automation, security

The Intellectual Property Related Materials Reading Room is provided on the first basement of the JPO office building, and is operated in the following manner. And it is a branch library of the National Diet Library.
(1) The user
- JPO workers and those who obtained permission from the Director of the Patent Information Division (inclusive of public users).
- Personnel of the National Diet Library and personnel of the branch libraries of each ministries and government offices.
(2) Open
- 9:30 to 18:00

Collection management, preservation

The following are collected: Materials concerning industrial property right legislation and the peripheral laws inside and outside of Japan, related materials necessary for understanding industrial property right, related materials necessary for study of industrial property right, and reference materials for general administration.
As of the end of 2005, the library contains 31,500 volumes.

Books are added with the storage number and classification and put on shelves, while bibliographic information is inputted in the library system to construct a database for a collection of books.

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 55.5 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. Services of narrowing down by use of the registration number have been provided since March 2004. The search based on the Revised Japanese Design Classification became available from January 2005. Similar or related design search will be available from March 2006.

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. Search based on the Revised Japanese Design Classification has been available since 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. Starting from January 2005, the new Japanese Design Classification and D-term list has been provided. The Locarno and New Japan Design Classification Cross-Reference Table and the Korean and New Japan Design Classification Cross-Reference Table have been provided from September 2005.

6) Publicly Known Design Materials database search
It will become possible from March 2006 to refer to bibliographic particulars of publicly known design materials and foreign design gazettes by using publicly known materials numbers and others. Image data of publicly known design materials that are permitted for public disclosure may be provided.

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. Bibliographic data of publicly known design materials and foreign design gazettes has been provided since April 2005.

c) Reference to design gazettes, etc
NCIPI installed about 129 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 69,000 persons used the services at the above facilities in 2005.

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 to the Intellectual Property Centers and other institutions Patent Information Advisers, experts on IP information, who give the users advice 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) Briefing sessions
(1)Briefing sessions on IPDL
Briefing sessions for patent search using the Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) were held for individuals and medium and small sized companies concurrently with the traveling examination through interview sponsored by the JPO.
September 2005 Aichi
October 2005 Osaka
December 2005 Fukuoka
January 2006 Kyoto

The above services have been provided at the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (NCIPI), an Independent Administrative Institution since October 2004.

b) Patent Information 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 prefecture to give advices for prior art 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
①Dispatch of experts
The JPO sent two expert officials to the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) of Vietnam in order to give advice and guidance on design search systems.

②Training for government officials
In cooperation with WIPO, the JPO held training course on the Use of Information Technology.
for about 2 weeks in Japan.

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, the Republic of Indonesia 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 the NOIP, a developing human resources was performed through the automation of administrative work. In September, the JPO sent one expert official in order to give guidance and advice regarding the design search system, and in October, the JPO sent one expert official to the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) of Vietnam in order to give advice and technical guidance on the development of the IPDL system.
Under the development and investigation scheme of the JICA, the JPO has been supported establishment of the IPDL system and sent members for an investigation team to the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (DGIPR) of Indonesia for advice and guidance。
For Malaysia, from 2002 to January 2005, under the JICA development study scheme, the JPO supported establishing a design application processing system and enhancing further modernization of industrial property administrative procedures to promote human resource development and information processing cooperation.

②Training for government officials
The JPO invited counterparts, 2 from Vietnam and 3 from Indonesia, 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 prepared an English version of the revised Japanese Design Classification in 2005, which will be posted on the JPO website from April 2006.

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.