1. The recently changed trademark and design system.
- KIPO held a presentation of 2023 trademark and design system trends.
KIPO held a presentation of recently changed trademark and design system trends.
This presentation was held as a face-to-face event 3 years after 2020, focused on the ‘trademark partial rejection system’ in effect since February 4, 2023 according to the Korean Trademark Act amended in 2022, the ‘examination guidelines of virtual goods’ in effect since July 2022 to strengthen the trademark and design right protection in the digital environments, and the ‘revised examination guidelines of computer-generated graphic designs, icons and etc.’ in effect since January 2023.
Under the trademark partial rejection system to expand the convenience of an applicant of a trademark application and the chance of securing the applicant’s right, in the case that only a part of the designated goods described in a trademark application is rejected, the other designated goods are allowed to be registerable as a trademark. In this regard, the presentation provided a detailed explanation of notes and examination standards, etc. which applicants and agents should be aware of.
Regarding the examination guidelines of virtual goods and the examination guidelines of computer-generated graphic designs, icons and etc., the presentation provided the relevant explanation focused on the changes in the content of a reorganized classification system of virtual goods, the standards for similarity judgement of virtual goods, the requirements for establishment of computer-generated graphic designs, icons and etc., and the basis for novelty and creativity of computer-generated graphic designs, icons and etc..
KIPO’s chief of the trademark and design examination bureau said that, as a part of the positive administration, this presentation would greatly contribute to solve the relevant industry’s curiosity of the newly changed trademark and design systems and to strengthen the trademark and design protection.
2. KIPO starts an electronic braillewriter service for the visually impaired.
- The visually impaired’ accessibility to information is improved due to the introduction of the electronic braille generation service (February 7, 2023).
According to KIPO, the electronic braille service started from February 7, 2023, to enhance the visually impaired’ accessibility to the information provided by KIPO.
The electronic braille service is to provide various IP policy, systems and reports, etc. which are available in KIPO website (www.kipo.go.kr) and converted in a braille file. When the visually impaired presses the icon, ‘view electronic braille, positioned on the right top of bulletins in the website, the relevant information is converted to electronic braille to be saved in his/her personal computer.
The visually impaired is able to read the relevant file by using the braille information terminal or printing it in braille using a braille printer.
For the visually impaired, KIPO has complied with the national standard guidelines of web-accessibility by providing an image substituting text to be used on the KIPO website by a keyboard only, such that the impaired is able to easily access to the information in the website. At this time, as the electronic braille service has been added, the visually impaired’ use of the website is expected to be easier.
3. South Korea took a 3rd place in ranking the number of patent applications relating to an extended virtual world (metaverse).
- Competition of realistic content-related technology is intensive among the world companies.
According to KIPO, the number of metaverse-related patent applications filed in IP5 (which is a forum of the five largest intellectual property offices in the world: Korea, US, China, Japan and Europe) increased by an annual average of 16.1% over the last 10 years (2011~2020), showing a high increase.
The number of these applications over the last 5 years (2016~2020) increased by about 3 times (from 14,983 to 43,698), compared to the previous period (2011~2015), showing that the filing of the metaverse-related applications has been accelerated.
This is considered as the result of an increased industrial utilization to a metaverse as the realistic content and a head mounted display (HMD) converged since 2015.
By applicant nationality, US (35.9%, 17,293 applications) was in 1st place over the last 10 years (2011~2020), followed by China (29.7%, 14,291) and South Korea (16.2%, 7,808). Especially, an increase rate of the relevant applications filed by China (annual average of 42.5%) was noticeable.
From the view of the ranks of companies filing most applications (2011~2020), Microsoft (MS) took a 1st place with 1,437 applications, followed by IBM with 1,212, Samsung Electronics with 1,173, showing that the global information and communication technology (IT) companies stood out.
As Korean companies, Samsung Electronics (3rd) and LG Electronics (10th) placed within the top 10.
The trends in these applications (2011~2020) by detailed technology field were content (47.8%), operation system (43.9%), display (8.1%) and non-fungible token (0.2%), indicating that more applications were filed in the content field rather than the operation system technology field, such as ZEPETO, Roblox, etc. since 2018.
As the operation system to build a virtual world has been settled, the efforts to preoccupy the market as the realistic content technology applied to manufacturing, finance, education, etc. in addition to game and movie are considered as increasing the number of the relevant patent applications.
4. Korean IP-based economic growth experience spreads to the world.
- KIPO, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Korea Development Institute (KDI) School of Public Policy and Management (SPPM) signed a business agreement to run a master’s course of intellectual property development policy.
KIPO, MCST, WIPO (Director general, Daren Tang) and KDI-SPPM signed the business agreement to run a Master’s program in Intellectual Property and Development Policy (MIPD). This is a second agreement conclusion since the period of the first business agreement signed by KIPO, WIPO, KDI-SPPM and Sejong City in 2019 expired.
The objects of this agreement is to develop a human resource for the technological innovation and creative industry development of a developing countries, by running an education course which connects intellectual properties and economic development strategies while the importance of intellectual properties as the core of economic growth and national competitiveness has been increased in the 4th industrial revolution era.
Especially, since the curriculum reflects the experience (know-how) of KIPO in charge of intellectual properties, MCST and KDI-SPPM which is a development policy specialized educational institution, a developing country is expected to get some help in establishing economic development strategies by making an example of the economic growth experience of South Korea which developed into a developed country based on intellectual properties.
MIPD is a master degree course which for the first time connects an intellectual property and economic development in the world and has been run since 2020. Detailed curriculums include a general theory of intellectual property, development policy, development sustainable with intellectual property, and innovative growth, etc. The curriculums designed jointly be KIPO, MCST, WIPO, KDI-SPPM are run by KDI-SPPM.
Until now, from a total of 31 countries, 53 trainees including developing countries’ public officials and intellectual property manpower, etc. have participated. As the national prestige of South Korea has risen, a demand for participation by a developing country to learn Korean IP-based economic growth experience (know-how) has increased. In addition, as MCST newly participated this business agreement, the relevant education effects are expected to be higher.
5. A meeting was held between KIPO and the IP international organization.
- Discussion was related on how to strengthen the cooperation between KIPO and WIPO.
Taking an opportunity that Daren Tang, director general of WIPO visited Korea, KIPO held bilateral talks.
Director general Daren Tang hoped to directly experience the innovation ecosystem of Korea having the most powerful innovation capability among the Asian countries. On February 7, he visited Korea which he had selected Korea as a first country among the countries for tour in 2023 according to the offer to visit Korea from the commissioner of KIPO, who visited Geneva, Switzerland on the occasion of the WIPO general assembly in 2022.
WIPO evaluates the innovation capability of 132 countries every year and Korea was in 6th place in the world in 2022 (1st place in Asia).
In the 90 minutes of talks, the commissioner of KIPO and Director general Tang shared the same view on the point that the role of an intellectual property which is a product of creation and innovation should be further strengthened to overcome an economic crisis.
Both paid attention to the role of huge patent data (big data) to innovate governmental and private research and development (R&D) and agreed to strengthen the cooperation between the two such that an innovative small/medium company is able to easily raise funds by utilizing an intellectual property.
Especially, the commissioner of KIPO proposed to continue to hold a ‘WIPO intellectual property finance policy dialogue’ where the Korean intellectual property fiancé experience was directly shared with an international society, and Director general Tang was known as feeling the same way.
Director general Tang expressed gratitude for the KIPO’s positive role to bridge the intellectual property gap between a developed country and a developing country.
The two conferred a plan to strengthen the capability of a developing country by using a Korean trust fund. Notably, they decided to start a demonstration project, from this year, to fully provide a developing country with Korean invention education experience and the key to success thereof.
The commissioner of KIPO and Director general Tang discussed measures to user-friendly improve the WIPO international patent application (PCT) and international trademark application (Madrid) services which Korean companies have actively used.
The commissioner of KIPO emphasized that Korean companies including Samsung Electronics, LG electronics, etc. were the fourth in using the international patent application (PCT) service in the world and transferred to Director general Tang the point that a WIPO regional office should be established in Korea to improve the convenience of Korean users.