Let's Look at the Statistics Data Regarding the International Registration of Marks Designating Japan

The Japan Patent Office publishes a yearly report that contains more than 240 pages of the statistics data. Let's look at some of the data that you may find interesting.

Please note that the 2018 data has not yet been published. The data indicated here is from 2017.


TOP 10 Most Popular Classes in which Protection is Granted through a Designation of Japan

Which classes of goods or services gained the largest number of protection granted through a designation of Japan in an International Registration according to the Madrid Protocol, in 2017?


Here are TOP 10 most popular classes and numbers of protection granted through a designation of Japan, in 2017:

  1. Class 9:       3,175          - electrical and scientific apparatus, etc.
  2. Class 42:    1,776           - scientific and technological services, etc. 
  3. Class 35:    1,631           - advertising, business services, "retail and whole sale services", etc.
  4. Class 25:    1,578           - clothing, footwear, headgear, etc.
  5. Class 5:       1,370          - pharmaceuticals, etc.
  6. Class 3:        1,250         - cosmetics, cleaning preparations, etc.
  7. Class 41:     1,093          - education and entertainment services
  8. Class 10:        990           - surgical and medical apparatus, etc.
  9. Class 18:         894          - leather goods, etc.
  10.  Class 7:          814          - machinery, etc.

Class 9 was the most popular class among the 45 classes of goods or services.

Class 9 goods include computers, computer programs and software, smartwatches, smart phones, etc. The popularity of class 9 could be explained by the rapid advancement of technology in the class 9 areas. New products and brands have been developed.


Some Class 42 services are closely related to Class 9 goods. 


3 Least Wanted Classes

How about the least wanted classes of goods or services that gained the lowest number of protection granted through a designation of Japan in an International Registration according to the Madrid Protocol, in 2017?


Here are bottom 3 classes:

  1. Class 13          26            - firearms, etc.
  2. Class 23          35            - yarns and threads, etc.
  3. Class 15          54            - musical instruments, etc.

Class 13 was the least wanted. As a matter of fact, possession of firearms is basically prohibited under the laws of Japan.


TOP 10 Most Japan Designating Countries (Offices of Origin) in an International Application

The below list shows from which Offices of Origin, Japan was most designated in an International Application according to the Madrid Protocol, in 2017.


Here are TOP 10 most Japan designating Offices of Origin and the number of designations of Japan:

  1. USA                     3,872
  2. EUIPO                 2,929
  3. China                  1,475
  4. France                1,335
  5. Germany             1,258
  6. Switzerland         1,062
  7. Italy                        869
  8. UK                          844
  9. Korea                     633
  10. Australia                623

6 Offices of Origin are from European (mostly EU) countries or region.


Next, let's look at which trademark filing route, either direct national filing or filing through the Madrid system, was more chosen when trademark owners from these 9 countries (EUIPO excluded) sought protection of their trademarks in Japan in 2017.


Which Filing Route is More Chosen When Legal Protection of a Trademark is Sought in Japan?

This data details the number of national trademark applications filed in Japan, and the number of designations of Japan in an International Application according to the Madrid Protocol, by countries listed above, excluding EUIPO, in 2017. 




of (1) and (2)

# of trademark applications


# of designation of Japan

% of Use of Madrid system


 US 8,789 4,984 3,805 43%  
China 8,464 6,946 1,518 18%  
France 1,808 325 1,483 82%  
Germany 2,384 329 2,055 86%  
Switzerland 1,451 324 1,127 78%  
Italy 1,346 142 1,204 89%  
UK 1,597 500 1,097 69%  
Korea 2,264 1,602 662 29%  
Australia 760 141 619 81%  

From European countries and Australia, more than 69 % of protection of a trademark was sought in Japan using the Madrid system in 2017. The highest percentage to have chosen the Madrid route was 89% by Italy, followed by 86% by Germany and 82% by France. 


Some of the European countries listed here are the initial members and the main users of the Madrid system. 

For European countries and Australia, Japan may be one of the multiple countries where trademark owners seek protection of a trademark according to their global marketing strategy and trademark portfolio management. The Madrid system would work effectively and efficiently for such trademark owners.


On the other hand, only 43% of US trademark owners chose the Madrid route.

The US trademark law adopts the first to use rule. Identifications of goods and services must be specific and narrow. And, the range of goods and services covered under an International Application can not go beyond those of its basic applications or registrations. It would be the disadvantage for the US trademark owners to use the Madrid system in seeking protection in the countries where broader protection permitted.


Trademark owners in China and Korea used the Madrid route for about 18% and 29%, respectively, of all the trademark protection sought in Japan in 2017.

These 2 countries are geographically much closer to Japan than the other countries listed here. It could be safely assumed that more companies in China and Korea are interested in expanding their market targeting especially in Japan, maybe as a first step to go global.


If you have better explanations of those numbers or any comments on this, please post it from below. We love to hear your opinions. Thanks.

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