Adherence to a major international treaty is now the driving force behind major changes taking place in Japanese trademark law. Recently, Japan joined numerous other nations in the Madrid Protocol, an international agreement that unifies trademark practice and is considered by many a model of how international legal harmonization may be achieved. Legislation to amend Japan’s trademark laws was adopted on May 7 by the Diet, the Japanese legislature; the amendments will be in force as of Jan. 1, 2000.

Japan is joining Madrid because major European countries and China are also members and businesses in these countries are critical trading partners of Japanese companies. Further, the speed of international business continues to increase; adherence to Madrid will result in shorter examination of applications and more rapid registration.

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