Dead Copies Under Japanese Unfair Competition Prevention Act: The New Moral Right
35 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2006
Beginning in 1993, Japan started protecting product configurations from slavish imitation, regardless of distinctiveness, notice, registration, or any consumer confusion. This protection lasts for three years from the date of first sale of the product. This is the broadest protection of product configuration by any major country in the world. Most importantly, it is opposite to the law and policy of this subject in the United States which encourages slavish imitation (if that configuration is not the subject of a patent or does not indicate source) to reduce transaction costs and improve competition. Additionally, it is inconsistent with the law and policy on the subject in every major country in the world. It is a monopoly that intends to reward and encourage innovation, but it is most likely having the opposite effect. To be sure, it will not be a positive measure for the fragile Japanese economy.
Keywords: Japan, trademark, unfair competition, product configuration, product design
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