Intellectual property right border enforcement in Japan


2 min read

Japan's Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Border Enforcement system plays a crucial role in combating the influx of counterfeit and pirated products, which is crucial for maintaining public safety and supporting economic growth. This system, which restricts the export and import of goods infringing on IPRs, is especially relevant for businesses concerned with maintaining the integrity and value of their intellectual property.

Key Aspects of Japan’s IPR Border Enforcement:

  1. Process for Enforcing IPR at Borders: The Japanese Customs enforces IPRs by scrutinising goods at entry points and taking action against infringing items. The enforcement process involves:

    • Submission of a Motion for Import Injunction by the rights holder.

    • We are publicising the Motion on the Customs’ website.

    • Customs conduct examinations based on evidence from both parties and decide on the Motion's outcome.

    • The rights holder or importer may challenge the decision through administrative and legal channels.

  2. Identification Procedures: Customs notifies relevant parties when potentially infringing goods are identified, offering opportunities to present evidence and arguments. The final determination is communicated to both the right holder and importer.

  3. Advantages of the System:

    • A broad range of IPRs, including patents, design rights, and trademarks.

    • Efficient and expedited processing, aiming to resolve matters within one month.

    • There are no official fees and generally lower associated costs compared to litigation.

    • Strong deterrent effect, with public notification of enforcement actions and immediate suspension of infringing imports.

  4. Effective Deterrent: The system’s effectiveness as a deterrent is underscored by the significant number of valid Motions for Import Injunction, especially concerning related rights, copyrights, trademarks, and design rights.

Japan’s IPR Border Enforcement offers a robust, efficient, cost-effective alternative to traditional infringement litigation. By focusing on border enforcement, businesses can protect their intellectual property against unauthorised import and export, thereby preserving their rights and market position in Japan. This system is essential for companies looking to safeguard their innovative products and designs in a competitive global marketplace.