To those in the pachinko/pachislot (amusement) industry

(1) Introduction

Pachinko (Japanese pinball) and Pachislot (slot machine in pachinko parlor) are entertainment cultures in Japan, which have strong popularity in Japan. One person out of 14 enjoys them. Pachinko parlor opened its first parlor in about 1930 in Japan. Meanwhile, pachislot started as a slot machine game in a pachinko parlor, and it became popular among many people as game machines from about 1980.

In recent years, these game machines have various themes featuring manga/anime characters and TV personalities. As a result of advanced liquid crystal technologies, gorgeous performance is displayed on a huge liquid crystal screen provided at the center of the game machine. This can be called exactly entertainment.

"HARAKENZO more " have prepared this web page to support those in the pachinko/pachislot (amusement) industry and to offer useful information for understanding a design registration.

(2) Designs for pachinko/pachislot machines

Pachinko machines are roughly divided into five categories in the design classification, including (i) pachinko game machines, (ii) parts and accessories for pachinko game machines, (iii) a front plate for pachinko game machines, (iv) a ball container for pachinko game machines, and (v) a frame for pachinko game machines. Meanwhile, Slot machines are divided into two categories, including (i) slot machines and (ii) parts and accessories for slot machines.

Group E (Hobby and Recreation Goods)
(TOHOKUSHINSHA FILM CORPORATION, Design Registration No. 1519290, 1514581, and 1514582 (from left side to right side))

As mentioned above, in recent years, many pachinko and pachislot machines collaborate with anime, manga or TV dramas and have themes featuring their storylines.

Designs for frames of such pachinko and pachislot machines express the worlds of anime, manga and TV dramas which feature the pachinko and pachislot machines, and such designs are protectable.

Group E (Hobby and Recreation Goods)
(Asahi Electric Co., LTD., Design Registration No. 1276024, 1276431, 1276432, and 1276433 (clockwise from the upper left))

Designs listed above are directed to indication lamps for game machines.

An indication lamp for game machines is a data display part provided on the top of the game machines such as pachinko and pachislot machines. The indication lamp mainly displays the number of big winnings, the number of probability changes, and the number of rotations etc. Such indication lamp is essential for pachinko and pachislot machines in the current trend where data has a significant meaning.

The above designs employ the related design system.

With use of the related design system, a design for a variation created from one design concept is protectable. This makes it possible to seek more thorough protection.

(3) Similarity judgment

The images below each show a partial design for a data display part provided on a game machine such as a pachinko/pachislot machine. Similarity of the partial designs was actually contested in the court (gyo, ke, No. 10004, in 2015).

Group E (Hobby and Recreation Goods)
(DAIICHI DENKI SANGYO CO., LTD., Design Registration No. 1264441)

In this case, the liquid crystal display part in black color was a point in dispute. In particular, whether the subject design is similar to the cited partial designs 1 to 4, and whether the subject design could have been easily created based on the cited partial designs 1 to 4 were contested.

The Intellectual Property High Court ruled that the subject design is not similar to any of the cited partial designs 1 to 4, and the subject design could not have been easily created based on the cited partial designs 1 to 4.

Making judgment about similarity and creative easiness of designs requires highly specialized knowledge as in the above case contested in court, and thus it is difficult for general people to make such judgment.

There may be a case where you infringe other person’s design right without knowing it. There may also be a case where a design which is not likely to be registered is registered actually.

Please feel free to contact us.

(4) "HARAKENZO more " support those in the pachinko/pachislot (amusement) industry

The pachinko/pachislot industry supports the entertainment industry in Japan, and is very familiar to general users. Further, the pachinko/pachislot industry is closely related to the field of intellectual properties for its patent technologies.

"HARAKENZO more " have established a system to provide support those in the pachinko/pachislot industry, and to meet various requests.

"HARAKENZO more " hope that you will feel free to contact us.