Can a brand name be registered as a trademark? We’ll show you exactly how!

I’m launching an apparel brand, but I wonder if I need to register my brand name as a trademark.
The brand name is trademark, so you need to make sure it is registered.
However, if your brand name is based on a person’s name, as is often the case with apparel brands, you may not be able to register your brand name as a trademark.

Brand names are synonymous with “trademarks!”

Trademark registration has a somewhat complicated image, but what is a “trademark” anyway?

According to the Japan Patent Office, the administrative agency with jurisdiction over trademark registration, a trademark is explained as follows

It is a mark (an identifying sign) used by a business to distinguish its (its company’s) products and services from those of others (other companies).

It may sound difficult to understand, but in other words, it means “an indication that makes it easy to understand who made the product.

A “brand name” is also an indication that a product must be made by the brand if the brand name is attached to the product.

In other words, “brand name” is one of the most typical trademarks.

Therefore, it is necessary to register a trademark when launching a brand.

Not just any brand name can be registered as a trademark?

Brand names are typical of trademarks, but there are some trademarks that are difficult to register under the current system.

These are “trademarks that contain the name of another person.

According to the Trademark Law, a trademark that contains the name of another person cannot be registered without that person’s consent. Even if the name is your own, if there is another person with the same name, it will be deemed to be someone else’s name and will not be accepted.

For example, the following trademark has been applied for but not registered.

yoshio kubo(Application Number 2012-072096)
(Application Number 2009-068620)

(Application Number 2017-069467)

On the other hand, there are trademarks that have been approved for registration even if they contain characters that can be recognized as a name.

(Registration Number 4293672)

(Registration Number 4897355)
(Registration Number 5282881)

However, it is possible that these registered trademarks were judged not to be recognized as indicating a name because of the way they are written or the word order.

Therefore, it is better to consider that a trademark containing a name in ordinary characters and just in ordinary notation is usually not allowed to be registered.

A review of the system is expected.

However, as you know, it is common and widespread to use a designer’s name as the name of a brand or company.
Even if you work hard to develop your own brand to a large extent, if you cannot register your trademark, you will not be able to complain if others imitate your brand name.

In recent years, the JPO has commissioned outside experts to conduct a research and study report, pointing out that “we are now at the stage where a review of the system concerning trademarks that include other people’s names, etc., is needed. The report pointed out that “the system concerning trademarks that include the names of others is now at the stage where a review is needed. (From the FY2021 Report on Research and Study on Trademarks Including Names of Other Persons, etc. by the Project for Comparative Research and Study of Industrial Property Rights Systems in Other Countries)

It is hoped that the system will be revised so that brand names can be protected and utilized as trademarks.

Be sure to do your research on any naming other than names!

We have explained above that a person’s name may not be registered as a trademark.
However, it is not true that any trademark other than a name can be registered.

If another company in the same business field has already applied for and registered the same or a similar trademark, the trademark applied for later will not be registered.
Moreover, if you use a trademark that has been registered without permission, you may be sued for infringement of your rights.

Therefore, when launching a new brand, be sure to check for trademark registration before making signs or flyers.

Information Needed for a Trademark Search and Application for a Brand Name

So how exactly should you conduct a trademark search?
The following article provides more details, but here we will assume that you are conducting a trademark search for a brand name of an apparel brand.

First, you will need the following information at a minimum.

Necessary information 1: Trademark and how to read it

A trademark is an indication of the brand name, which may be letters or a logo.
Basically, we recommend that you conduct your research using the display that you actually use.

It is also very important to read the trademark.
The way a trademark is read has a significant impact on whether it is similar to a trademark that has already been registered.

For example, if a trademark is written in the alphabet and the other one is spelled differently, but read in the same way, it is more likely to be considered similar.

In the case of Chinese characters and alphabetic characters, the reading of the trademark is “the sound that consumers naturally recognize.
In other words, for example, in the case of a French brand name, since many Japanese cannot read or write French, it is necessary to take into consideration how the name would be read if it were read in the English style.

It is not necessary to indicate the reading of the name in the application procedure.

Necessary information 2: Classification and designated goods/services

A trademark is registered as a set of a trademark, such as the name of a store, and “designated goods/services,” which describes in what business field the trademark will be used.

The designated goods/services belong to one of 45 classifications based on the type of business and other factors.

In the case of an apparel brand, it is advisable to choose one of the 25th class (division) to which many designated products such as “clothing” belong.

Let’s actually search!

Once you understand the trademark and the designated goods and services, you can actually search for the trademark.
You can search for trademarks at the following sites


j-plat-pat top page

J-Plat-Pat is a website for searching trademark information published by the Japan Patent Office and operated by the Industrial Property Information and Training Institute (commonly known as INPIT), an independent administrative agency under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
It is free to conduct a detailed trademark search, but some specialized knowledge is required, such as classification and similar group codes.
The search results are displayed in a list, but you will need to make your own judgment as to whether the trademarks are similar or not.

・online trademark application service「AmazingDX」

AmazingDX Trademark Search Page

You can search for a trademark with a simple operation, and the results are displayed in an easy-to-understand manner, with ○, △, ×, etc., indicating whether a trademark can be registered. There is no charge for this service.
If there are no problems with the search results, you can request a trademark application online.

If I can understand the trademark and the designated product, I can do the search by myself to some extent. It seems like I can start my store with peace of mind.

How about an online trademark application service?

The above has explained the specific methods of trademark searches.
However, in order to use a brand name exclusively as your own, you need to not only conduct a trademark search, but also file an application and register the trademark.

However, it is not easy to file a trademark application by yourself. In addition, if you request a patent attorney, you will need to spend time for preliminary meetings, etc., and you will need to pay the representation fee to the patent attorney for those meetings.

How about using “Amazing DX,” an online trademark application service?
Amazing DX” is a service that allows you to complete your trademark application request by simply entering the necessary information online. You can also conduct your own trademark search with a simple operation.

Once the application request is completed, our expert patent attorneys will promptly process the application.

There is no need for prior meetings or preparation of documents!

By completing the process online, we have cut unnecessary costs and realized a surprisingly low price.

Please see below for detailed fees.
Check AmazingDX fees

I can request a trademark application online right away, and I can rest assured that an expert will handle the process for me!

For your branding, a trademark application is very important.

Let’s sign up and search for the trademark which would be obtained safely.

Supervisor for the article:
大阪法務戦略部長 八谷 晃典
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Let's start,
an easy trademark application in Japan!

For those who are worried about registering a trademark for the first time, we offer free advice tailored to your situation.