The cost of maintaining a trademark registration in Japan? Explanation of the differences in how to pay the Japan Patent Office.

Before I register a trademark, I need to think carefully about the running costs as well as the initial costs.
But how should I think about the maintenance cost of trademark rights?
The cost of maintaining a trademark right can be thought of as “registration fees” and “renewal fees”.
The annual maintenance fee for a trademark depends on how you pay it.
Does it depend on how you pay? What do you mean?

The following article explains the running costs (maintenance costs) of trademark registration.

The initial cost of trademark registration is the “filing fee”.

First, to obtain a trademark registration, there is a fee to pay when applying for a trademark at the Patent Office.
In addition to this, if an agent is selected, there is a fee to be paid to the agent.

*Design fees and search fees may be charged separately.

The maintenance fee for trademark registration is a “registration fee” plus a “renewal” fee.

Once the registration is granted, a registration fee for 5 or 10 years is paid to the JPO in a lump sum, depending on the term of the right being sought.
If you wish to extend the term of your right after 10 years, you must apply to the JPO for renewal and pay the renewal registration fee for 5 or 10 years to the JPO at once.
In addition, if you pay through an agent, you will be charged a fee to be paid to the agent.

*There may be additional fees for troubleshooting, such as when a cancellation trial is filed, and for avoiding troubles, such as watching.

Unlike patents and design rights, you don’t have to pay for them every year. Trademark rights are intangible assets, so there’s no property tax like a building.
I wonder how it should be treated for accounting purposes.

For accounting purposes, the trademark is treated as a loss until it is registered, and after registration, it is amortized over its legal life of 10 years.

For documents and procedures for payment of registration fees, see

Maintenance costs per year vary depending on how the fees are paid.

By the way, there is a difference between a 5-year payment and a 10-year payment in terms of maintenance fee per year because the former is more expensive than the latter in terms of both the agency fee and agent’s fee.

Example: Registration fee for a trademark in one category registered with Amazing DX
*Referring to fees from April 1, 2022

Payment MethodJPO Fee + Agent FeeNumber of YearsMaintenance Fee per Year
5 years payment32,200 yen (17,200 yen + 15,000 yen)÷56,440 yen
10 years payment47,900 yen (32,900yen+15,000yen)÷104,790 yen

If you are going to use the trademark for a long time, the 10-year payment is more advantageous.

Image of expenses to be incurred

Example of costs for a 10-year payment of registration fee and renewal registration fee

The following is an example of the cost of a trademark if the registration fee and renewal registration fee are paid over 10 years through Amazing DX.
The total amount of initial and maintenance fees are 185,900 yen for 30 years.
*Reference is made to the fees from April 1, 2022.

Example of cost in case of 5-year payment (payment in installments) of registration fee and renewal registration fee

This is also an example of the cost in the case where the registration fee and renewal registration fee are paid in 5-year installments through Amazing DX.
Although the duration of the right is the same as the above graph, 30 years, the total amount of the initial fee and maintenance fee is 236,400 yen.
(The above graph refers to the fees from April 1, 2022.

Example of Trademark Registration maintenance Costs

It is not possible to pay the renewal registration fee for 10 years after paying the first registration fee for 5 years.
Payment of the registration fee in installments is only an “installment payment” and is based on the assumption that you pay for 10 years.

I think the 5-year payment would be more of a loss since the patent office fees are more expensive and there are also fees to pay to the agent etc. each time.
Why is there a 5-year payment system?
Trademarks are meant to be used for a long time, but sometimes they are used for a short period, such as during a transient boom.
In such cases, there is no need to maintain a trademark for 10 years, so it is better to pay for five years and only pay for the first five years.

How can I lower my maintenance costs?

In some cases, if you have a lot of trademark rights, the renewal registration fee may become a burden.
In such cases, here are some tips on how to reduce the cost as much as possible.

Renew your trademark for proper years in line with the time you use it.

As mentioned above, if you are going to use your trademark for a long time, it is more profitable to pay for 10 years.
On the other hand, if you know that you will stop using the trademark within the next 5 years, it is more profitable to pay only for 5 years.

Reducing the number of classes at the time of registration or renewal

There may be cases where a trademark was designated in many classes when the application was filed, but the trademark is no longer used for so many products.
In such cases, it is possible to reduce the number of unused classes at the time of payment of the registration fee or renewal registration fee.
Trademark registration and renewal fees vary depending on the number of classes and can be reduced.

*Please note that if you have applied Madrid Protocol based on that trademark registration, reducing the number of classes will also narrow the scope of your rights under Madrid Protocol!

Ask for a patent attorney or patent firm with low fees.

Since agent fees are charged for registration and renewal, it is better to choose an inexpensive firm or patent attorney to represent you, so that you can keep your maintenance costs low.

Then wouldn’t it be cheaper to pay the registration fee yourself than to have an agent do it for you?

However, there are some disadvantages to doing the procedure yourself.
In the first place, trademark rights are obtained to avoid trouble.
Once a problem occurs, such as someone else using your name without your permission or sending you a warning letter claiming you are using their trademark, you may not be able to recover if no attorney is appointed.

By requesting renewal management and having an agent on your side who will be there for you the whole time, you can rest assured that when the time comes, you will be able to handle the situation with ease.

Well, if I only concern about cheapness, I am missing the point. What mattered was keeping the business out of trouble.
It’s important to choose an agent that strikes a balance between “security” and “cost!”

With Amazing DX, you can get reliable and affordable patent attorney services!

Amazing DX offers the peace of mind of a leading patent firm while keeping trademark management costs to a minimum.
Please feel free to start with a quote.

Let’s quote the costs when file a trademark via Amazing DX.

Please input the number of classes and push “Free Quotation”.

Supervisor for the article:
Osaka Legal Strategy Department General Manager Akinori HACHIYA
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