To those in the sporting goods industry

(1) Introduction

It is enjoyable to play sports as well as to watch sports.

Due to an increasing health trend among consumers, jogging is in fashion today, and trekking etc. are becoming popular among middle-aged people. Further, it becomes a common habit for many people to go to a sports gym.

With the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games set to take place in Tokyo, Japan's sporting goods industry will be increasingly vitalized.

"HARAKENZO more " have prepared this web page to support those in the sporting goods industry and to provide “know-how” about a design registration characteristic of the sporting goods industry.

(2) Functional beauty can be design

It is natural that, in sporting goods, a functional face is focused so as to allow the sporting goods to exhibit performance. However, do you know a design representing a function itself is protectable by the Design Act? Of course, if the functional face of the sporting goods is a creation of technical ideas utilizing the laws of nature, the functional face itself is protectable by the Patent Act as an invention. Meanwhile, if the design representing the function is a shape of an article and creates an aesthetic impression through the eye, the design is also protectable by the Design Act.

The following example is compression tights which are often used by joggers these days. A design for this functional tights is actually registered.

Wacoal Corp. Design Registration No. 1385835

Group B (Clothing and Personal Goods)
Wacoal Corp. Design Registration No. 1385835

If a design for an article is protected not only by the Patent Act, but also by the Design Act, it is possible to sufficiently take measures against imitation products. That is, if the function of the imitation product is inferior to that of your product, it may be difficult to establish infringement on your patent right. However, it may be possible to establish infringement on your design right.

(3) Suitable scope of right

In a case where an article has a part having a unique and characteristic feature, it is useful to file an application not for a whole design, but for a partial design as the following example of the putter head (golf equipment).

(Karsten manufacturing corporation, Design Registration No. 1509476)

Group E (Hobby and Recreation Goods and Athletic Implements)
(Karsten manufacturing corporation, Design Registration No. 1509476)

As experts, patent attorneys determine, for example, (i) which part of a created design has value to be protected, (ii) whether an application for the design should be filed as an application for a whole design or a partial design, (iii) what is a difference between the design and a prior design, and (iv) how to obtain a design right for the design.

"HARAKENZO more " assess, as experts, an essential part of the design and provide useful proposals for our clients.

(4) Long design right duration

The duration of a design right is long, i.e., 20 years from the date of registration.

If you develop a hit product, and it becomes a long-selling product, the product will bring you immeasurable profits.

(Oakley, Inc., Design Registration No. 1298885)

Group B (Clothing and Personal Goods)
(Oakley, Inc., Design Registration No. 1298885)

However, in some cases, due to the requirements prescribed in the Design Act, it’s too late to register a design right for the long-selling product when the product has been sold.

Accordingly, please feel free to contact us even if you are in a planning stage of a product.

(5) "HARAKENZO more " support design registration application abroad

The sporting goods industry now develop active business in other countries as well as in Japan.

If you would like to expand your business overseas, please contact us.

In the future, it is expected that a health trend will expand also in other countries in Asia (especially, in East Asia including China, and in South East Asia and South Asia). Management of design rights differs among countries, and the above countries each require their know-how about a manner to resister a design. Having the experiences in the field of design rights, we are happy to support you.

Japan joined the Hague Agreement in 2015, which allowed us to file international design applications..

(6) "HARAKENZO more " support those in the sporting goods industry

Sporting goods are familiar to general users in their daily life. However, in the sporting goods industry, once a hit product appears on the market, many imitation products of the hit product easily appear on the market.

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