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Court Cases Related to Picture Provided by Image Display for Operation of Article

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On May 30, 2017, the Intellectual Property High Court (hereinafter “IP High Court”) affirmed four trial decisions issued by a collegial body of trial examiners of the JPO. The original trial decisions supported the examiners’ final rejections of four design applications filed by the same applicant for a graphic image related to a car with a video system, and the applicant appealed the cases to the IP High Court against the trial decisions. In the judgments on all four cases, the IP High Court suggested that the wording “a picture provided by an image display for the operation … of the article” in Article 2(2) of the Japan Design Law refers to being able to operate an article by using a figure shown on a screen instead of an operation button or physical parts such as used in household electrical appliances or information equipment. We hereby explain the judgment on one of the four cases for better understanding of the Japan Design Law and practice related to on-screen graphic images.

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