The saga over the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba trademarks continue with Shueisha losing their appeal for the trademarks of Tanjiro, Nezuko, and Zenitsu’s iconic patterns after the Japan Patent Office refused to grant the trademarks due to not finding any “part of its composition[s] … to be distinctive enough to be identifiable on its own merits” earlier this year.
Shueisha originally applied for the trademarks of six designs from the Demon Slayer series, including the aforementioned Tanjiro, Nezuko, and Zenitsu, as well as Tomioka, Shinobu, and Rengoku. The three Hashira had their trademarked designs approved, but the three non-Hashira denied. Shueisha appealed the original decision on July 6, citing the “black border” and “not just squares, but rectangles” as distinctions to the historical decorative usage of the designs.
The designs in question:
These claims did not sway the appeals committee, who wrote that “a black line can be seen on trademark at the edge of the square, but the line is difficult to recognize at a glance because there is no outer margin on the border” and reaffirmed that “there are no distinctive parts that should serve to distinguish the trademark from other products.”
Originally, the designs had their trademarks refused because the checkerboard design of Tanjiro’s pattern had been used since at least the Edo period, with the office using kabuki actor Sanogawa Ichimatsu‘s 18th-century costume as an example of historic usage. Nezuko’s pattern closely resembles that of asanoha, a design that represents hemp leaves on Japanese clothing which is said to ward off evil, dating back to the Heian period of Japanese history, and commonly used for kimonos of young children. Zenitsu’s pattern on the other hand is just triangles with no distinctive traits.
Shueisha has three months from the filing of the decision of refusal on September 24 to once again appeal the decision and taking the case to the Commissioner of the Patent Office which will set up another panel to make the final decision.
Source: Huffington Post Japan
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.