What is a trademark? What functions do trademarks have?

What is a trademark?

What is a trademark?
It’s a term I hear a lot, but don’t really know much about.

In a nutshell, a trademark is “a mark that you use to distinguish yourself from others.
Even a mere mark has an important role in the service industry.
In this section, we will explain about the “trademark” itself.

Is it really that important? Then let’s learn more about it!


A trademark is “a sign that distinguishes one’s own goods and services from those of others.
The function of distinguishing one’s goods and services from those of others is called distinctiveness, and the continued use of the same trademark for the provision of goods and services (services) serves three functions: indicating the source of origin, guaranteeing quality, and advertising.

In this section, we will take a deeper look at “trademarks”.

Trademark system

The premise is that in order for consumers as well as companies to conduct economic activities smoothly, it is necessary to provide services that identify who manufactures or provides the goods or services.

Article 1 of the Trademark Law clearly states, “The purpose of this Act is to maintain the business reputation of persons who use trademarks, thereby contributing to the development of industry and protecting the interests of consumers, through the protection of trademarks.

The trademark system provides for the protection of a mark or emblem, i.e., a trademark, which is affixed to goods or services and has the functions of indicating the origin of the goods or services to which it is affixed, guaranteeing quality, and advertising, thereby contributing to the development of industry through the maintenance of the business reputation of those who use the trademark. This is to contribute to the development of the industry and to protect the interests of consumers.

The functions of indicating the origin

The function of indicating the source refers to the function of indicating that the goods or services for which the same trademark is used always come from a certain producer or seller.

The functions of guaranteeing quality

The function of guaranteeing quality refers to the function of guaranteeing that the goods or services for which the same trademark is used will always be of a certain quality.

When a trademark is continuously used and recognized by consumers and consumers as trustworthy, the owner of the trademark (registered trademark) also controls the quality and quality of the trademark (registered trademark) and strives to maintain its credibility. As a result, the trademark has the function of guaranteeing quality.

The functions of advertising

The advertising function is a function to motivate consumers or consumers to purchase a product by using a trademark as a clue.
Today, advertising methods are becoming more and more diverse, such as advertisements on websites, and this is a function that is increasingly in demand.

If your trademark becomes known to the world, it will be effective as an advertising function.

These are not features that are immediately added to a trademark, but rather are the result of continued use and trust earned from various people.

Protected by Trademark Law

So what can be protected as a trademark? Here is a brief explanation of what can be protected as a trademark.

List of Protected Subjects

Trademarks as defined in Article 2 of the Trademark Law, i.e., “any letters, figures, symbols, three-dimensional shapes or colors, or combinations thereof, sounds, or other items specified by Cabinet Order, which can be recognized by human perception,” and which are used in connection with goods by a person who produces, certifies, or transfers goods in the course of business, or (2) those used in connection with services by a person who provides or certifies services in the course of business.

To summarize very simply, a mark used in the course of one’s business is eligible for protection. If the mark is not used in the course of business, such as for personal use, the trademark right is not effective.

For more information on the use of trademarks, please also see the following article.

Currently, the main protected areas are letters, figures, three-dimensional shapes, motion, holograms, sound, position, and color.
Anyone can search free of charge for data on actual trademark applications and registrations at the following websites.
J-Plat Pat

Importance of Trademarks

Trademark registration gives you the exclusive right to use the trademark for a certain period of time (exclusive right). At the same time, a right to prohibit third parties from using a trademark identical or similar to the registered trademark (prohibition right) is also granted.

These restrictions make it possible to protect your business from third parties, maintain and improve the credibility of your company and its services, and continue to protect your credibility by continuing to use the trademark through renewal (in Japan, renewal is possible every 10 years).

In addition, it is effective against infringement of rights because it makes it clear that your trademark is different from those of other companies.
For more information on infringement, please refer to the following article.

For these reasons, trademarks are considered important and the advantages in trademark registration are many.
Of course, there are many things to prepare for, such as the time required for the trademark registration examination, the application procedure, the cost of filing the application, and the search to ensure that the trademark is not already being used by a third party.

To register a trademark, you must designate the scope of use of the name or logo (designated goods or designated services) and file an application with the Japan Patent Office, which will register the trademark after an examination.


I understand what a trademark is and that it is quite important.
But if you don’t register your trademark, it doesn’t mean much in the end, does it?

Yes, it does.
You can use your trademark with confidence because it is protected by law.
However, it is often the case that someone else has already used or registered your trademark before you, so you need to do some research before applying for a trademark and be prepared for a smooth examination process.
Amazing DX is always open to inquiries regarding trademark registration and other matters, so please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thanks, I will consider it.

Supervisor for the article:
大阪法務戦略部長 八谷 晃典
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