The Tale of Genji and copyright

  • March 27, 2024


 This year’s 2024 Japanese historical drama ‘Dear Radiance, Hikaru Kimi e’ features Murasaki Shikibu, known for her Tale of Genji and other works. Murasaki Shikibu was a poet and writer from the mid-Heian period, whose actual name and exact date of birth and death are not known. However, the term of copyright protection is 70 years after her death, so enough time has passed since the Heian period, and literary works from the Heian period, such as The Tale of Genji, are not copyrighted and are in the public domain. Therefore, they can be adapted into manga form, such as ‘Dreams at Dawn, Asakiyumemishi’ by Waki Yamato. Of course, even though the copyright on The Tale of Genji has expired, the copyright on ‘Asakiyumemishi’ exists.

The Tale of Genji Asakiyumemishi

 The Tale of Genji has also been translated into many modern Japanese versions. Recently, it has been probably best known for its translations by Jakucho Setouchi and Mitsuyo Kakuta. The translator holds the copyright to the modern translations. On the other hand, the translations of The Tale of Genji by Yosano Akiko and Tanizaki Junichiro, both of whom died over 70 years ago, are in the public domain and can be read at the Aozora Bunko. The Tanizaki Junichiro translation is listed as a ‘work in progress’ and could not yet be read.
 I think it would be interesting to take this opportunity to read and compare various modern Japanese translations of The Tale of Genji, but I would like to start by trying again to read ‘Asakayumemishi’, which I failed to finish when I was a student. (Marron)

Guinomi and Masu

  • March 26, 2024


 We would like to introduce a product related to a patent obtained at our firm (Hattori & Partners) on behalf of our client. They are “Guinomi” ,a sake cup and “Masu” , a square wooden container or measure. The “Masu” can be used to measure the mass of sake or rice, and can also be used as a sake container.

Guinomi and Masu

 Furthermore, if a lid is attached, it can be used as a wooden box for storing the sake cup as a sake container. Sake drinkers can choose to use the Masu as a container for holding sake, or they can choose to use the sake cups taken out of the Masu box as a sake drinking container. Full of good things !(^^)!

Guinomi and Masu

 You can also enjoy choosing the Masu or the Guinomi according to your mood at the time. To give a gift, you can change the shape and design of the Guinomi to match the taste of the person giving or receiving it.
 This is a thoughtful, elegant, and chic gift for those who are interested in sake. How about this versatile and multifunctional souvenir?

Guinomi and Masu

 In these days of the sake boom, this is a collection of ideas for promoting sake. Japanese Patent Registration No. 7190194 is an example of how a simple, everyday idea can be patented. Furthermore, this product was produced to support Tanegashima pottery. (rice ball)

Braille blocks

  • March 18, 2024

#Inventions of the Day

 I introduce an invention closely associated with today, 18 March. This time I would like to introduce Braille blocks. 18 March is designated as ‘Braille Block Day’, in honor of the world’s first Braille block, which was installed in 1967.

Braille blocks

 Although we often see Braille blocks, they have become part of our everyday scenery and we may not be particularly aware of them. At a time when social awareness is changing, with the Japan Patent Attorneys Association declaring its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion(PDF), I did a little research, as a matter of self-discipline.

 It seems that Braille blocks are officially called blocks for guiding the visually impaired, tactile paving. Needless to say, they provide the visually impaired with the information they need to walk, and are laid on pavements and floors.

 Braille blocks were invented in 1965 by Seiichi Miyake, the first chairman of the Traffic Safety Research Center. On 18 March 1967, Braille blocks were installed for the first time in the world near the pedestrian crossing at the Haraoshima intersection on the old national Route 2 near the Okayama School for the Blind, leading to the establishment of ‘Braille Block Day’, which was introduced at the beginning of this article.

 Due to their usefulness, Braille blocks have been adopted and installed in many countries. In 2012, the first international standard for Braille blocks, ISO 23599, seems to have been developed.

 I thank our ancestors for inventions like the Braille block and hope that many more such inventions will be created in the future to make the world a better place to live for everyone. (blink)

Echizen Railway

  • March 13, 2024


Last year I travelled to Fukui Prefecture.
Fukui is called the Dinosaur Kingdom. I saw many things about dinosaurs both inside and outside JR Fukui Station.

During my trip, I had the opportunity to ride on the “Echizen Railway”, a regional railway that runs through Fukui Prefecture.
The exterior of Fukui Station on the Echizen Railway is a soothing red color, and the interior of the station building is made from lots of wood, making it a very nice station building.

Echizen Railway

IC cards are not accepted, so I bought a ticket and boarded the train.

Echizen Railway Echizen Railway

I rode only two stations this time, but the “Echizen Railway” has the Katsuyama Eiheiji Line heading towards Eiheiji and Katsuyama and the Mikuni Awara Line heading towards Awara Onsen, which seems convenient for sightseeing. Next time, I would like to take the “Echizen Railway” and tour around Fukui Prefecture at a leisurely pace.

“Echizen Railway” and the mark, which appears to be a graphic representation of the letter E, were registered as a trademark on 5 September 2003 for the designated services, including “transport by rail” (Japanese Registration No. 4706690, Registration No. 4706691).

Using Licensable Patent ~IP Business Matching~

  • March 6, 2024

#intellectual property

 Have you ever heard of ‘IP business matching’?
 It is not always the case that a company creates its own original intellectual property rights. A company sometimes uses the licensable patents of other companies to develop new products. IP business matching is the creation of a new IP business by bringing together the seeds of companies holding unused patents and the needs of companies seeking patented technology that can be used to develop their own products.

Business Matching

 For example, the Chubu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry has a guidebook on IP business matching on its website. (Japanese only)

 An example of IP business matching was previously introduced in the program ‘Gogosumatching TV’ on CBC TV (a broadcaster in the Chubu region). (Japanese only)

Business Matching

 Depending on the company using it, the basic technology of the same licensable patent may be used for a completely different product. It is also possible that a new invention may be created by combining the basic technology with another technology. Recently, IP business matching has attracted attention as a form of IP strategy.
 Please contact our Firm for further information. (Conan)