Interior Designs

On April 1, 2020, the Japan Patent Office expanded the subject matter of designs to the interior and building designs. RYUKA obtained the first interior design registration in Japan (Registration No. 1671152).

What are Interior Designs?

The interior designs:

  • – can be inside real estates or movable properties such as vehicles and airplanes,
  • – may include buildings, articles, their decorations, and graphic images, and
  • – must create a consistent aesthetic impression as a whole.

The interior design can be a combination or an arrangement of multiple articles such as desks or chairs. Examples include interiors of offices, restaurants, schools, and hotels.i

Physical Connectivity

Under the “one application, one design” requirement, one application can only cover a single design. Therefore, the protection does not cover multiple interior designs provided in different locations unless there is sufficient visual connectivity via a glass wall, for example.

Our Suggestions: Excluding Movable Articles

Legal Issues

If movable articles such as chairs are included, the competitor’s interior may avoid infringement when the chairs are placed at different locations. Then, it is difficult to prove the infringement and calculate the damages. Therefore, we suggest excluding movable articles such as chairs in the application.

Example: Registration No. 1671152

The below design includes bookcases, tables, louvers on the ceiling, and lights. We excluded chairs by indicating them in grey and explaining the exclusion. This broadens the protection and makes it easier to prove the infringement and calculate the damage compensation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

iJapanese Design Examination Guidelines,