Maglite pocket torches are easily recognizeable. The firm managed to obtain a 3 dimensional trademark in Japan for their distinctive shape. Yes well…
For as long as I can remember, electric torches generally had a cylindrical body and widened out, generally in a tapering manner into a head that housed the bulb behind a glass disc or lens.
The cylindrical body was a function of the shape of the dry electrochemical cell (battery) therewithin. Everything functional.
Now the maglite is a well designed pocket torch of this generally phallic shape. I would classify the shape as an industrial design and give it a fairly narrow interpretation since it si not all that different from other cylindrical torches.
I do not know much about industrial design registration in Japan, as I have until now only dealt with patent and trademark registration in Japan for clients, and that was via associates of course. Assuming that the Japanese have some form of industrial design registration, I would think that the maglite design should have been entitled to that type of protection.
Now industrial designs are usually valid for short periods of 7 to ten years, that can generally be renewed once.
Trademarks however, can be renewed indefinitely. I do not see why the Maglite should be protected indefinitely.
I think that 3 dimensional trademarks should be reserved for distinctive packages such as whiskey, liquer and perfume bottles, or for car mascots, not for essentially functional objects.