United States of America
Japan
Trademarks
1. Please explain whether Section 2(1) of the Japanese Trademark Law permits registration of personal names as a “sign” and how this practice complies with TRIPS Article 15.1.
Article 2(1) of the Japanese Trademark Law provides that "trademark" means characters, figures or signs, any combinations thereof, or any combinations thereof with colours. "Characters", in comparison with "figures" or "signs", mean words including personal names, letters and numerals. Consequently, personal names referred to in Article 15.1 of the TRIPS Agreement are eligible for trademark registration in Japan.