The Japan Textile Evaluation Technology Council (JTETC) is earnestly expanding the functionality-certifying SEK Mark outside Japan. Sales of SEK Mark products are allowed to be sold in nine countries and regions where the trademark is already registered.
JTETC is currently promoting globalization of the SEK Mark, and has been registering the trademark mainly in the Asian region. Among countries and regions that pass the regulations, sales of SEK Mark textile products are allowed in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Turkey.
The five SEK marks allowed to be sold are antibacterial odor-preventing finishing, antimicrobial finishing (general applications), photocatalytic antibacterial finishing, antifungal finishing and antiviral finishing. These marks are issued as an international standard (ISO), with testing methods and standards for antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. The quality levels necessary to achieve certification were proposed by Japan.
Mark eligibility is also being internationalized. Formerly, only Japanese companies were able to apply for the mark, but at a JTETC general assembly in June 2015, a resolution was passed to make foreign companies also eligible. Today, the Japanese subsidiaries and branches of foreign companies and foreign companies for which a Japanese company is an applicant agent can conditionally apply for the mark.
In regard to lifting the restrictions on overseas sales of SEK Mark products and admitting overseas companies to apply for the mark, JTETC notes that the interest in functional finishing is great even outside Japan. If the SEK Mark comes to be recognized globally, the merits will be great for the overseas sales of Japanese companies that already have mark authentication.
Accordingly, JTETC cites 2016 as the “first year of overseas strategy”, and is focusing on internationalization of the SEK Mark.