Register Trademark for Your Character! Filing/Registering Trademark for Character

Trademark registration for character ?

My company is going to start a business with a new character to make our customers more familiar with us. Is it possible to register a trademark for a character?
A trademark for a character can be registered, too!
As for the character, however, isn’t it enough that we have a “copyright” on it?
Even in the contract with the design company, the copyright is supposed to belong to our company, so do we need to register the trademark?

This article will explain whether you can register a trademark for a character and why you need to do it.

Protecting Character with Trademark Right

Limitation of protection by copyright

When most people hear of rights related to characters, the first thing that comes to their mind is probably copyright. Certainly, copyright is generated when a character is created. Also, there is no need to file or register copyright anywhere. It would then seem that there is no need to go to the trouble of spending time and money to register a trademark for a character. However, from the viewpoint of obtaining rights to a character for business purposes, copyright alone is not sufficient.

Indefinite scope of rights

Copyrights do not require application and registration procedures. However, because of this, the scope of rights is indefinite. In addition, it is necessary to prove infringement of rights by others (third parties), and it is not possible to stop the use of a character simply because it is similar to your character.

Then, even if you find that a character identical or similar to your character is being used, it is not easy to take effective countermeasures.

Character names are not protected

In addition, a character’s name cannot be protected by copyright because it is not a “copyrighted work”. Therefore, it is impossible to prevent others from using the character’s name to provide goods or services.

Advantage of obtaining trademark right

In contrast, trademark rights are registered after an examination at the Patent Office, and the registration information is available to the public. Therefore, compared to copyrights, the scope of rights is definite, and above all, the character can be used without anxiety.

In addition, a name of a character can also be registered as a trademark, so if a character’s name is used without your permission, you can take countermeasures such as stopping the use of the name.

I’m a little worried about properly protecting my rights if I only have copyrights.
If I ensure to protect rights for the character, it would be better to get trademark rights as well.
Yes, trademark rights are effective to protect the rights of a character.
Also, trademark rights can be renewed every 10 years, so you can maintain your rights semi-permanently, which is also advantageous.

Classification to be designated

When filing a trademark application, it is necessary to designate goods/services in which the trademark (in this case, the image or name of the character) will be used.
What kind of goods/services must be designated for a trademark application of a character?

For example, if the character is important enough to be a main character of the company, it would be better to cover all the goods and services in the scope of the company’s business.
In such a case, however, if the number of classes will be too large and you want to consider the order of priority, we recommend that you consult a specialist (patent attorney or patent firm).

Goods and services in each class are explained on the page.

Which should be registered for trademark, character image or its name?

In conclusion, it is best to register “image (design) of the character” and “name of the character” as separate trademarks.
The registration of “the image (design) of the character” does not protect “the name of the character,” and vice versa.
In this case, two applications will be filed, and the application and registration fees, etc. for the two applications will be required. If you cannot spend that much money, you may use the following options.

Registering only character’s name

One option is to file and register only the name of the character.
As mentioned above, the name of the character cannot be protected by copyright.
In this case, you will not be able to obtain trademark rights for the image (design) of the character.

Registering character’s image (design) and name together

In this case, the character’s design and name will be filed and registered together as one trademark. Therefore, it is assumed that the character’s design and name are used as a set. If you use only the design or name of the character, you must be careful whether the use of the trademark is appropriate or not.

The use of registered trademarks is explained on the below page.

Request for trademark application for your character with less cost!

The online Trademark Application Service”Amazing DX” provides free trademark search and retrieval system and trademark application in Japan at reasonable costs.

You can use our free trademark search system or request a trademark application for your character’s name.

Amazing DX Trademark Search

Amazing DX allows you to easily select designated goods and services online.
First, please select as many goods as possible. After the search, it is easy to exclude the goods marked with × and search again.

If you are not sure which goods or services to select, our trademark attorneys are ready to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact us via chat.

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
, , ,

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.