Washington International Law Journal


Although the United States and Japan have similarly worded intellectual property statutes, significant differences in the stated statutory objectives as well as the substantive rights protected by those laws give rise to concern over the scope and quality of intellectual property protection offered in Japan. Collectivist values that frown upon personal gain have contributed to the less-than-adequate enforcement of individual intellectual property rights in Japan, and this socio-judicial ethic has been consistently reflected in the minimal damage awards granted by the courts. The courts' traditionally narrow construction of damage provisions in the intellectual property arena has resulted in the limitation of damage awards to a minimal lost-royalty amount, which in turn resulted in a lack of deterrence effect. A number of recent cases, however, indicate that Japanese courts may be in the process of re-assessing their traditional stance with respect to intellectual property enforcement. This Comment addresses the recent Michelin decision and considers whether this case may represent a shift in Japan's intellectual property jurisprudence.

First Page