1 Process of Amendment
Act for Partial Amendment of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, etc. (Act No. 51 of 2023) was enacted on June 7, 2023 and promulgated on June 14, 2023. The major amendments and the effective date are explained in 2 below.
2 Major Amendments and Effective Date
2-1 Enhanced brand and design protection in light of the diversification of business activities associated with digitalization
2-1-1 Introduction of consent system (effective as of the date prescribed by Cabinet Order within 1 years from June 14, 2023)
Trademarks that are similar to trademarks already registered by others may not be registered at present, however may be granted to be registered if there is a consent of the prior trademark owner and there is no risk of confusion of origin.
2-1-2 Relaxation of requirements for registration of trademarks containing the name of another person (effective as of the date prescribed by Cabinet Order within 1 year from June 14, 2023)
In case where there is no other person’s name that is widely recognized among consumers in the field of goods or services in which the trademark is used, and the name in the composition of the trademark is one’s own name, etc., the trademark pertaining to such name may be granted to be registered.
2-1-3 Relaxation of requirements for design registration procedures, especially procedures for applying exceptions to lack of novelty (effective as of the date prescribed by Cabinet Order within 9 months from June 14, 2023)
Relax the requirements for procedures to obtain relief in case where the creator, etc. has published more than one design before filing the application.
2-1-4 Regulation of acts of imitating the form of other person’s goods in the digital space (effective as of the date prescribed by Cabinet Order within 1 year from June 14, 2023)
The act of imitating the form of another person’s product is subject to an act of unfair competition even in the digital space, and the right to request an injunction, etc. shall be exercisable.
2-2 Enhanced protection of trade secrets and limited provision data
2-2-1 Expansion of the definition of limited provision data (effective as of the date prescribed by Cabinet Order within 1 year from June 14, 2023)
In services where data is provided to other companies on a limited basis, including cases where data is managed confidentially, the data should be protected as limited-provision data, allowing for claims for injunction against misappropriation, etc.
2-2-2 Expansion of the presumption provisions of use, etc. of technical secrets (effective as of the date prescribed by Cabinet Order within 1 year from June 14, 2023)
The presumption rules of use of technical secrets, etc., which applicable only to the wrongful acquisition category and to the subsequent acquisition with malicious intent or gross negligence at the time of acquisition, will be expanded to include cases such as the obtain in violation of management duties for the purpose of wrongful gain or causing damage to the holder in the justifiable acquisition category and the retention of recording media, etc. after conversion to malicious intent or gross negligence in the acquisition category of good faith and no gross negligence at the time of acquisition.
2-2-3 Amendment of provisions for calculating the amount of damages (effective as of the date prescribed by Cabinet Order within 1 year from June 14, 2023)
It shall be possible to claim damages by increasing the amount equivalent to the license fee for the misappropriating quantity that is deducted due to the misappropriated party’s ability to sell, etc. or circumstances preventing the sale, etc. of the misappropriating goods. In addition, in calculating the amount equivalent to the license fee, it shall be clearly stipulated that the amount that would be obtained by the misappropriated party if it were agreed on the premise that there was unfair competition may be taken into consideration.
2-2-4 Restrictions on access to trade secrets in adjudication proceedings (effective as of July 3, 2023)
Allow for restrictions on access to documents submitted in adjudication proceedings if they contain trade secrets.
2-2-5 Clarification of procedures in international trade secret misappropriation cases (effective as of the date prescribed by Cabinet Order within 1 year from June 14, 2023)
If a trade secret controlled in Japan by a company doing business in Japan is misappropriated outside of Japan, the company may still file a lawsuit in a Japanese court, and the Japanese Unfair Competition Prevention Act shall be applied.
※ The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide any legal advice.
Kei IIDA (Writer)
Attorney at Law & Patent Attorney (Daini Tokyo Bar Association)
Contact information for inquiries: k_iida☆nakapat.gr.jp (Please replace ☆ with @.)