To those in the office supplies industry

(1) Introduction

To those in the office supplies industry

Every year in the office supply industry, products are sold in such great numbers and variety that yearly almanacs are published for stationary, paper products, and office-use machines.

Many people in the office supplies industry would already know that a new invention and a new idea about office supplies are protectable by a patent right and a utility model right.

Then, what about a case where a new office supply not only has a new technology but also has a good design? If a design satisfies prescribed requirements, for example, that the design should be new, and should create an aesthetic impression through the eye, the design can be registered. As a result, you can use the design monopolistically and exclusively as in the case of patent rights etc.

We have prepared this web page to support those in the office supplies industry who are developing and producing many products every year, and to provide “know-how” about a design registration characteristic of the office supplies industry.

 

 

(2) Designs for office supplies

A “design” means the shape, patterns or colors, or any combination thereof, of an article, which creates an aesthetic impression through the eye.

You may wonder whether an office supply can create an “esthetic impression.” Actually, the esthetic impression in the above sentence does not require refined beauty like an art work, but only requires some kind of aesthetic impression.

For example, a design for an office supply such as an office rack illustrated below can be registered.


Group D (Housing Equipment)
(Gifu Plastic Industry Co., Ltd., Design Registration No. 1233625)

 

 

(3) Partial designs

In addition to an entire design for an article, like the design for the office rack illustrated above, a partial design for the article is also protectable.

The case illustrated in the drawing below is taken as an example. If you would like to monopolistically and exclusively use a partial design for walls of a cabinet, which walls are illustrated in solid lines in the drawing, it is possible to register the partial design for the walls of the cabinet by designating the “cabinet” as the article to the design.

If there is a case that the other company produces a cabinet which directly employs the design for the walls illustrated below, but an entire design for the cabinet is not similar to that for the cabinet illustrated below, you can exclude such imitation performed by the other company as long as you has registered the partial design for the walls of the cabinet.

With use of the partial design system, it is possible to effectively protect a partial design for an office supply having a unique feature.


Group D (Housing Equipment)
(Okamoto Corporation, Design Registration No. 1466835)

 

 

(4) Related designs

A design for a variation created from one design concept is protectable with use of the related design system.

In a case where, for example, you have filed a design application for a ballpoint pen or you have obtained a design right for the ballpoint pen, and then you would like to file a design application for a variation for the ballpoint pen, it is possible to file a related design application for the ballpoint pen by designating a previously filed or registered design as a principal design and a design filed after the principal design as a related design.

The principal design and the related design have the same effects in design rights, and thus you can use each of the principal design and the related design monopolistically and exclusively.


       [Principal design]                [Related design]

Group F (Office Supplies and Merchandising Goods)
(Left side: PILOT CORPORATION, Design Registration No. 1428229)
(Right side: PILOT CORPORATION, Design Registration No. 1428487)

 

 

(5) Designs for set of articles

A set of articles indicates two or more articles that are used together and that are specifically designated by an Ordinance of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. If the set of articles is coordinated as a whole, an application for a design registration may be filed as for one design, and an applicant may obtain a design registration, for designs for the articles that constitute the set of articles.

For example, the Ordinance of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry prescribes a “set of writing tools,” and a fountain pen and a ballpoint pen are articles which constitute the “set of writing tools.” As illustrated in the drawing below, in a case where the fountain pen and the ballpoint pen have similar formations in their clip parts and they are regarded as being coordinated as a whole, an application for a design registration for the set of articles (the fountain pen and the ballpoint pen) may be filed as for one design, and an applicant may obtain a design registration for designs for the articles.

This makes it possible to obtain a design right for systems designs and designs for set of articles appropriately.


[Design for fountain pen] [Design for ballpoint pen]→“Set of writing tools”

Group F (Office Supplies and Merchandising Goods)
(INOXCROM S.A., Design Registration No. 1273721)

 

 

(6) We support those in the office supplies industry

In the office supplies industry, an office supply not only having an excellent function but also having a good design can enhance working motivation, and thus such an office supply is expected to also increase working efficiency. Meanwhile, if a design for such an office supply is not suitably protected with an intellectual property right, the design is imitated and imitation products appear on the market easily. This may spoil your valuable effort to develop the design.

There may be some cases where those in the office supplies industry will face a situation that forces them to deal with an issue of intellectual property rights. We have established a system to provide thorough support for protecting intellectual properties of those in the office supplies industry. Please feel free to contact us.

 

 

page top