Annual Technical Report 2007 on Industrial Design Information Activities submitted by Japan (SCIT/ATR/ID/2007/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

In 2007, the number of applications was 36,544 (down 0.5% from the previous year) and the number of registrations was 28,289 (down 4.7% from the previous year).

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

Group L of the Japanese Design Classification (Supplies and Equipment for Civil Engineering and Construction) has decreased.

The number of applications for the partial design had been generally in the increasing trend since the commencement of reception of the applications in 1999, and in 2007, it accounted for about 26% of the total number of applications, while the number of applications of related design had shown decreasing trend since 2005, and in 2007, it reached 17% of the total number of applications.

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide statistics related to industrial designs

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 Japan Patent Office (hereinafter referred to as the “JPO”) published the following design documents in 2007:
- Publication of Registered Design: 27,901 issues
- Decision on Appeal/Trial Gazette: 660 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 compiles them in Design Gazette.

a) Design Gazette
The JPO had issued Design Gazette in the form of CD-ROM between January 2000 and December 2006. Starting from January 2007, the Gazette has been issued, as Publication of Published Registered Design Applications, at “Official Publication via the Internet” once a week, 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, even after the start of issuance of Official Publication via the Internet for Publication of Published Registered Design Applications (Design Gazette), information contained in the Publications is recorded on DVD-ROM and provided as “information contained in Publication of Published Registered Design Applications” one week after each issuance in order to meet the need for long-term data storage.

Each issue of Publication of Published Registered Design Applications contains about 600 issues and it was issued 50 times in 2007.

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 for using 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.

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide access to online industrial design gazettes and to other sources of industrial design information, including download of bulk industrial design data

The following URL provides the public access to webpage including Design information, however, no bulk data are available: (Industrial Property Digital Library (hereinafter referred to as the “IPDL”).

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 2007, the JPO assigned Japanese design classification and D-term to 36,544 filed applications and about 300,000 cases of documentary materials collected from foreign design gazettes, magazines, catalogues, Internet, etc. to be used as reference materials for design examinations.

Bibliographic data and processing

As bibliographic data of filed applications for searches, application number, filing date, registration number, registration date, name of article, Japanese design classification, D-term (classification symbols for retrieving purposes made by further subdividing Japanese Design Classification) and others are used.
As bibliographic data of other documents for searches, disclosure date, acceptance date, publishing date, name of article, Japanese design classification, D-term and others are used. These data are stored in the database.

IV. Search file establishment and upkeep

File building

The JPO has stored in search files the followings: 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 Japanese design classification and D-term) of foreign design gazettes. 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 2.24 million reference documents related to applications and approximately 4.12 million reference documents related to publicly-known designs had been stored in search files by the year 2007.


The image and bibliographic data on 36,544 applications and about 300,000 publicly known design reference documents were added.

Storage, including mass storage media

The image data is stored on RAID and the bibliographic data on database.

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 Japanese design classification and D-Terms.

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 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), names of article pertaining to a design, 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) 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 March 2007, search functions were strengthened and reference functions will be 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.

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

External databases

Nothing particular

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

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 was reached up to 92% in 2007. 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 information products and 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 JPO Library, as a branch library of the National Diet Library, is provided on the first basement of the JPO office building, and is operated in the following manner:
(1) Users
- 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 of the ministries and government offices.
(2) Open
- 9:30 to 18:00

Collection management, preservation

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 (IP) rights information via the Internet

The JPO has been providing the IPDL service since March 1999. This service is accessible through the Internet and covers 6.5 million documents of IP 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 (hereinafter referred to as the “INPIT”), 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 Japanese Design Classification (put into force on January 1, 2005) has been available since January 2005. Similar or related design searches have been available since March 2006. Searches based on the Japanese Design Classification (put into force on April 1, 2007) will be available from October 2007.

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. Searches based on the Japanese Design Classification (put into force on January 1, 2005) have been available since January 2005. Searches based on the Japanese Design Classification (put into force on April 1, 2007) will be available from October 2007.

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. The U.S. Design Classification and Japanese Design Classification Cross-Reference Table has been provided since December 2006. In addition, information on “screen designs” that corresponds with the Japanese Design Classification (put into force on April 1, 2007) will be added to the “(current) Japanese Design Classification/D terms” in October 2007.

6) Publicly Known Design Materials database search
It has become possible since 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 has been provided.

Further, the published appeal and trial decisions in 1940, and after, and as related information, the status information (for applications filed on and after 1990) 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 status 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 the INPIT in October 2004, and the service has been provided at a pace of every two weeks 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
The INPIT installed about 103 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 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 44,000 persons used the services at the above facilities in 2007.

d) Reference to examination and trial documents
The INPIT 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.

URLs of web pages of the Office's website for electronic filing of industrial design applications

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

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide information on business procedures such as: filing, publication, examination and registration procedures related to industrial designs; opposition and appeal procedures related to industrial designs; etc.

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide a description of information products and services offered by the Office (e.g., industrial design search service(s) and industrial design databases), as well as information on how to access and utilize them

Same as II. 5. above.
The following URL provides the public access to web pages including Design Information, however, no bulk data are available: (Web page providing design information in the IPDL website).

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 77 organizations (including international organizations) in 64 nations, out of which it sends CD-ROM Design Gazette to 24 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 (please indicate URLs of web pages of the Office’s website wherever appropriate)

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

a) Workshop on IPDL
Workshops for design search using the IPDL were held for IP Information search beginners from individuals or medium and small enterprises concurrently on holidays (at a total of 6 places around Japan). The IPDL has been provided at the INPIT, an Independent Administrative Institution since October 2004. (Workshop program has been started since FY2006)

b) Patent Information Advisors
In order to realize effective use of IP information in SMEs and universities/research institutions, the INPIT dispatches Patent Information Advisors to prefectures in Japan to provide instruction on how to search for IP information, and they provide consultation services on how to utilize such information, as well as hold workshops in response to various requests related to IP information.
The URL providing information on the PI Advisors:

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)Dispatch of Experts
The JPO dispatched two officials to the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to provide instruction and information for design examination.

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

b) Assistance to developing countries using other institutions
(1) Dispatch of Experts
Under the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) scheme, the JPO had dispatched one expert official to the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and one expert official to the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (DGIPR) in the Republic of Indonesia as long-term experts.

(2) Modernization of Intellectual Property Administration
The JPO carried out the following projects in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Republic of Indonesia through the JICA project-type technical cooperation.

For the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP)), 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, developing human resources was performed through the automation of administrative work. In January 2005, the JPO inaugurated the “Utilization of Intellectual Property Information in Vietnam (UTIPINFO),” and has been striving to establish a search system and information provision system as well as develop human resources through the establishment of these systems in order to realize modernization of intellectual property administration. In May, the JPO dispatched one official of the INPIT with the aim of guiding and advising about the Internet application operation. In July, with the aim of guiding and advising about the network operation and management and in September, with the aim of the guiding and advising about the IP information system renewal plan, the JPO dispatched one official respectively. In addition thereto, according to the JICA interim appraisal survey scheme, the application of the IPDL system and the search system for the examiner to the actual business have been started and the JPO has also dispatched inquiry team members to guide and advise about the application.

For the Republic of Indonesia (the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (DGIPR)), since July 2007, the JPO has organized a workshop on the methods for establishing the organization/framework for the system development/operation and for maintaining and managing the system in the introduction of IT in the intellectual property field as "the Project for Intellectual Property Administration" Phase II, and has dispatched one official of the JPO as an instructor therefor.

(3)Training for government officials
The JPO invited three counterparts of the JICA experts (who have been dispatched from the JPO to Vietnam and Indonesia on a long-term basis) from both Vietnam and Indonesia to provide them with lectures/on-site training on computer-related technology and other technological fields.

IX.Other general information related to the Office that is available on the Internet -- URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that:

provide information on legislation related to industrial designs

contain the Annual Report of the Office

if necessary, provide further information related to the topics referred to in the current ATR

Nothing particular

provide open source codes related to industrial design information systems

Nothing particular

contain industrial design-related news regarding the Office

X. 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 has been posted on the JPO website since October 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.