General Election of Local Brand Now Opened: Promoting Regional Collective Trademarks

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) and branches of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will be holding an event called “General Election for Outstanding Regional Brands in the Tokai and Hokuriku Regions” to familiarize areas with the Regional Collective Trademark System and improve effective use of it. The Regional Collective Trademark System is a system which enables the registration of trademarks which consist of “regional names” and “common names or customary names of goods or services” if the trademark is well known in Japan. These regional names include not only current administrative districts but also old places, old countries, rivers, mountains, sea areas and other regions.

The focus of this election is the local brands in the Tokai (東海) region and the Hokuriku (北陸) region which are registered as regional collective trademarks. The Tokai region which is located in the central part of Japan’s largest island, Honshu, and borders the Pacific Ocean. The Hokuriku region is located in the northwestern part of Honshu and boarders the Japanese sea.

The purpose of the event is to promote the local goods and services and usage of the Regional Collective Trademark System. As part of the event owners of regional collective trademarks and local university students in each area are working together and have been posting about the charms of their products or services, and also discussing ideas for new products, new business etc. via Instagram?. The JPO will then choose about 10 outstanding teams which receive the most number of “Likes”. These teams will continue to the final and be eligible for a grand prize.

Please search the following hashtags, if you are interested in seeing their work. #地域団体商標 #地域ブランド総選挙 #東海北陸 Your “LIKE!” might affect the results!
The eligibility of applicants is limited to the following:
1. Business cooperatives and other associations established under a special act, such as business, agricultural and fishing cooperatives associations
2. Commercial and industrial associations, Chamber of Commerce and Industry
3. Incorporated nonprofit organizations (NPO corporations) (Including corresponding foreign associations or organizations or corporations.)