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Japan extends industrial design protection by 5 years

Revised law will cover website layouts and buildings

Under the revised law, building exteriors will be able to receive industrial design protection.

TOKYO -- Japan plans to extend protection for industrial designs by five years for a total of 25 years in an overhaul that will also newly cover website layouts and architectural features. 

The Japan Patent Office plans to submit a bill to revise the Design Act to next year's ordinary Diet session. The law defines "design" as the shape, patterns or colors of an object, including its overall aesthetic impression on the observer. The office also handles such intellectual property rights as patents and trademarks.

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