JPO Status Report 2021 – The impact of Covid-19 on Japan trademarks

Unquestionably, 2020 was remarkably a tough and soul-destroying year for businesses around the world. The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on every aspect of day-to-day life, including the world of business. Just as the fluctuations in the economy and our changing work and lifestyles due to long months spent at homes destroyed our understanding of “normal.” Business mentality, preferences, and actions taken during the crisis have all changed. As a result, it was inevitable for trademark filings to be affected by these changes.

According to “JPO Status Report 2021” released on March 31, 2021, by the Japan Patent Office (JPO), a total of 181,072 trademark applications were filed in 2020. This number is down 5% compared to the previous year when the number of applications amounted to 190,773.

It is interesting to see that Pfizer Inc. became a top-ranking foreign registrant in 2020 who could successfully register 154 trademarks in Japan, drastically increased from the previous year.

Requests for accelerated examination consecutively increased to 11,204 by 38% in 2020, which enables applicants to obtain trademark registration within 2months.

As a background, it should be noted that the entire trademark process for general examination at the JPO (the total time of application from filing to registration) takes 10.9 months on average, which is nearly 2 months longer than the previous year.

You can access and download the full text of “JPO Status Report 2021” from here.

Trademark Applications Drop as Pandemic Pushes Japan into Recession

Japan’s economy has slipped into recession for the first time since 2015 in the last quarter, putting the nation on course for its deepest slump as the coronavirus crisis ravages businesses and consumers. First-quarter GDP data revealed Japan’s GDP shrinks 3.4% in March 2020 amid pandemic, follows a 6.4% decline during the last quarter of 2019.

As widely spreading the serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) announced, on July 1, 2020, a status update on its operations during the pandemic, including the extent to which trademark applications are declining.

The number of trademark applications filed in the Japan Patent Office (JPO) fell by a whopping 24.3% to 55,353 in the first four months 2020. In the meantime, Patent fell by 5.7% and Design fell by 3.9% for the same period.

Excerpt from the JPO Statistical Data (2020.1-4)

The data illustrated how the coronavirus pandemic is considerably hampering new trademark applications, compared with other intellectual properties, in Japan.

Excerpt from the JPO Statistical Data (2020.1-4)