To those in the Venture companies

(1) Introduction

The term "venture company" means a small and medium sized enterprise that develops a new-type service or business based on, for example, an innovative idea/technology.

In the process of developing various businesses based on such an innovative idea, when your product or service rings the bell or when you try to further develop your business, what comes to your mind when you think about means to protect your products and services? You may promptly think of a patent right and a utility model right, and if you have read special pages for trademarks in our website, a trademark right. What we would like to introduce to you here is a design right. When you create a product excellent in design, the product will be a subject for protection of a design right.

"HARAKENZO more " opened this webpage with the thought that we would like to support venture companies constantly producing new products and services and to assist further future business development and expansion of venture companies.

(2) Revision of Examination Guidelines for Design (after April, 2016)

"HARAKENZO more " know that venture companies play active roles in various fields, and in particular, many of them develop IT-related businesses in response to recent advancement in information technologies.

Examination Guidelines for Design was revised in April, 2016 and the scope of protection is widened to cover "graphic images displayed as a result of installing software on smartphones and computers".

For more details, please see "To those in the IT industry" page of our website for design (

(3) Subsidy System

Do you know that a certain amount of subsidy is paid by the JPO or local public authorities to applicants who file foreign applications outside Japan (ones who apply for the subsidy). There is a subsidy system which subsidizes part of the cost for filing foreign applications outside Japan, within a certain amount of annual budget each year. This system is intended to support small and medium sized enterprises that plan business development etc. in foreign countries outside Japan.

■ Outline of subsidy in 2016 (JPO)

A) Subsidy Rate: one-half of the sum of the cost (including, for example, the application fee for filing an application with a foreign patent office, fees for attorneys in Japan and foreign countries, and a translation fee)

B) Upper limit:

• Up to 3 million yen per company (in a case where the company files two or more foreign applications)

• Upper limit for each case: 0.6 million yen for each design, trademark, or utility model application (however, up to 0.3 million yen for an application for trademark against misappropriation)

Note: The application for trademark against misappropriation means a trademark application as measures against cunning application filed ahead by a third party (a misappropriated application).

(Source: Excerpt of the article "SUBSIDIES FOR LOCAL SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES WITH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY STRATEGY in 2016 (Program for supporting filing foreign applications)" from the website of the JPO)

■ Outline of subsidization policies taken by local public authorities etc.

Subsidization policies in relation to intellectual property rights are taken by local public authorities in 39 prefectures and cities in total in Japan, from Hokkaido at the northern end to Okinawa at the southern end. For more details, please see "Outline of Subsidization by Local Public Authorities" in the website of Japan Patent Attorneys Association.

■ Utilization of international application filing system

As a method for obtaining a design right, there are the following methods: (i) filing an application directly in each country; and (ii) filing an international application through the Hague System for designs or the like. In a case where you file an international application, you do not need to make the application procedures in each country. This is like the cases where the PCT international applications for patents or the international applications based on the Madrid Protocol for trademarks are filed. Such international application filing can simplify the procedures that you need to make, and also can reduce the cost for obtaining a design right. Please therefore utilize the international application filing system together with the above-mentioned subsidy system.

(4) "HARAKENZO more " Support Those in Venture Companies

It is not at all an exaggeration to say that attention to venture companies is growing each year, and Japan is supported by innovative ideas/businesses of the venture companies. "HARAKENZO more " have a framework in place for providing supports for protection of intellectual properties of those in venture companies who lead Japan and the world to further development. Please feel free to contact us.