Annual Technical Report 2008 on Industrial Design Information Activities submitted by Japan (SCIT/ATR/ID/2008/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 2008, the number of applications was 33,569 (down 8.1% compared to the previous year) and the number of registrations was 29,382 (down 3.9% compared to the previous year).

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

The number of applications has decreased in almost all the classifications compared to the previous year.
The number of partial design applications have been generally on the increase since the commencement of reception of the application in 1999, and in 2008, it accounted for about 27% of the total number of applications, while the number of related design applications had shown a decreasing trend since 2007, and in 2008, it accounted for 16% 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 2008:
- Published Registered Design Applications:29,031issues
- Decision on Appeal/Trial in Design: 675 issues

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

Nothing in 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 the electronic conversions of paper-based applications and compiles them and publishes the Design Gazette.

a)Published Registered Design Applications
The JPO issued 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, even after the start of the website "Official Publication via the Internet", information contained in the Official Publication is recorded on DVD-ROM and provided as information on "Publication of Published Design Applications" one week after the issuance in order to meet with the demand for long-term data storage.

A single volume of Published Registered Design Applications contains about 600 issues and it was issued 50 times in 2008.

Published 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 Design Gazette 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 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 the 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 URLs provide public access to WebPages that include information on Design: (Official Publication via the internet) (Industrial Property Digital Library (hereinafter referred to as the "IPDL"). Japanese service)

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 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.

In addition, JPO provides about 1,800 branches of D-terms, which are mechanical search keys to further subdivide the Japanese Design Classification mainly based on the forms of articles.

In 2008, the JPO assigned the Japanese Design Classification and D-terms to 33,569 filed applications and about 300,000 cases of examination materials collected from foreign design gazettes, magazines, catalogues, Internet, etc.

Bibliographic data and processing

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 (classification branches for search made by further subdividing the Japanese Design Classification) 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.

IV. Search file establishment and upkeep

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. In 2008, the accumulative number of image data and bibliographic data related to applications stored in the search files reached 2.27 million, and those related to publicly-known designs reached 4.52 million.


The image data and bibliographic data on 33,569 applications and approximately 300,000 examination materials of the publicly known design were added.

Storage, including mass storage media

The image data is stored on RAID and the bibliographic data on a 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 the 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), 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.

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.

External databases

Nothing in particular.

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

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% in 2008. 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".

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 located on the first basement of the JPO office building, and is operated in the following manner:
(1) Users
- JPO workers and those who have 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 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.

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 71 million documents of IP information by using document numbers and/or classifications 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 there since.

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 version has also been provided since March 2004.

2) Search for design documents by reference numbers
Various kinds of Design Gazettes and the Decision on Appeal/Trial Gazette in design published since 1964 can be searched by using reference numbers.

3) Searching of Design Gazettes by text search
The Publication of Registered Design and the Publication of Disagreed Consultation on Design Application, after 2000, can be referred to by keyword search and document numbers. The search became available with the revised Japanese Design Classification (put into force on January 1, 2005) in January 2005. In October 2007, The Classification was updated to the latest version (put into force on April 1, 2007)

4) Japanese Design Classification and D-term Search
Searches are possible for The Publication of Registered Design and the Publication of Disagreed Consultation on Design Application by using the Japanese Design Classification and D-terms. The facility to narrow down by using registration numbers has been provided since March 2004. The search based on the revised Japanese Design Classification (put into force on January 1, 2005) has been available since January 2005. The reference to registered Similar Designs and Related Designs has been available since March 2006. In October 2007, The Classification was updated to the latest version (put into force on April 1, 2007).

5) Publicly Known Design Materials database search
Since March 2006 it has become possible to refer to bibliographic items 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.

6) Classification lists
The Japanese Design Classification, the Locarno-Japan Design Classification Cross-Reference Table, and D-term lists are available as references.

In January 2005, the revised Japanese Design Classification and D-term list became available. The Locarno and the Japanese Design Classification Cross-Reference Table and the Korean and the Japanese Design Classification Cross-Reference Table became available in September 2005. The U.S. Design Classification and the Japanese Design Classification Cross-Reference Table became available in December 2006. In addition, information on "screen designs" that corresponds with the Japanese Design Classification (put into force on April 1, 2007) was added to the "(current) Japanese Design Classification/D terms" in October 2007.

In addition, the published appeal and trial decisions from 1940 onwards, and as related information, the legal status information (for applications filed from 1990 onwards) on applications, registrations and appeal and trial decisions can be referenced.

b) Providing JPO data
In March 1999, the JPO began providing the JPO's bibliographical and status information to external users by organizing and converting it in the standard format with better usability. Furthermore, the service was transferred to the INPIT in October 2004, has been provided at a pace of once every two weeks to external 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 101 sets of devices for reference, in the gazette access room on the second floor of the JPO building, to allow free public access to services such as the "IPDL Services" and the "CD-ROM Gazettes".

Reading devices for these purposes 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 35,000 persons used the services at the above facilities in 2008.

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 making them available to the public.

e) Intellectual Property Center
61 Intellectual Property Centers nationwide are widely implementing support operations for users including regional companies and applicants etc. They are giving advice to the users, providing them with guidance in regards to the retrieval methods of patent information, etc. in accordance to their purposes, regularly conducting workshops and preparing booklets relating to the retrieval methods of patent 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 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:

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.

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 75 organizations (including international organizations) in 63 nations, out of which it sends CD-ROM Design Gazette ("Published Registered Design Applications") 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 CD-ROM Design Gazette, recorded on an electronic medium (DVD-R etc.).

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

The JPO has been sending CD-ROM "Published Registered Design Applications" since January 2000.

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 beginners of design search using the IPDL aimed at individuals and small to medium enterprises were held concurrently during the holidays W (at a total of 8 places around Japan). The IPDL has been provided at the INPIT, an Independent Administrative Institution since October 2004. (Workshop program was started in FY2006)

b) Patent Information Advisors
In order to realize the effective use of IP information amongst SMEs and universities/research institutions, the INPIT dispatches Patent Information Advisors to domestic local government units to provide instructions on how to search for IP information, and consultation services on how to utilize such information, as well as to hold workshops in response to various requests regarding 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) Holding of Workshops
- In February 2009, in Indonesia, a workshop on the theme "Sharing of best IT Practice between IPOs" and "Exchange of information and debate regarding the use of IT among IPO of different scales" was held and about 100 officials from 17 countries in the Asia-Pacific region participated in the workshop.
(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 as of December 2008.

(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)), under the 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, and the development of human resources was performed through the automation of administrative work. From January 2005 to March 2009, "The Project for Utilization of Intellectual Property Information" was carried out, which aims at the construction of a search system and an information system as well as the development of human resources through the building of these systems in order to realize the modernization of the industrial property operation. In June, the JPO dispatched one official for guidance and advice on the Trademark search system and another official for guidance and advice on the IP information system renewal plan. In addition in March, a seminar was held in the country strongly encouraging the take up of the system, which was achieved due to the project.

In Republic of Indonesia (the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (DGIPR)), the Phase II of the "the Project for the Improvement of the Indonesian Intellectual Property Rights" has been started since July 2007. In June the JPO dispatched one official for guidance and advice on the maintaining and managing the trademark search system. In addition, in December, under the JICA management guidance and research scheme, 2 officials were dispatched, in order for them to exchange views with the IT staff of the DGIPR on the new project (online application, online viewing) and also for the JPO staff to investigate the automation status of the DGIPR.

(3)Training for government officials
The JPO invited eleven counterparts of the JICA experts who have been dispatched from the JPO to Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia on a long-term basis, to provide them with lectures/on-site training on the current experience issues and IT implementation status of the intellectual property field in Japan, and the training and implementation plan regarding the field of patents in Japan.

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 in particular.

provide open source codes related to industrial design information systems

Nothing in particular.

contain industrial design-related news regarding the Office

X. Other relevant matters

a) A Cross-reference table between International Classification for Industrial Designs (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 International Classification for Industrial Designs and the Japanese Design Classification (a concordance data). As reference information, the JPO lists the 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.

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.