TOKYO -- The Japan Patent Office has teamed up with a European counterpart to share industrial design information, enabling businesses to check for similar products in other countries and combat imitations.
Japanese data has been added to the European Union Intellectual Property Office's Designview online search tool, which now boasts access to more than 13 million designs and 54 participating intellectual property offices from around the world.
When releasing a product in another country, a company must check for products similar in design. Having Japan in the fold is expected to reduce competing patents in different countries and other potential international disputes.
The Patent Office sees the arrangement as a chance to show off quality Japanese designs to foreign retailers and other frequent searchers.
The office also worked with the EUIPO to add Japanese-language settings for a variety of features, starting this month.
Procedures differ when applying for protection in each country, such as disclosure requirements for design plans. Patent agencies from Japan, the U.S., the EU, China and South Korea are working on comparative and statistical surveys to further integration and make access more convenient.