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The most cases of unauthorized preoccupation of overseas trademarks relating to Korean trademarks (brands) are in the fields of cosmetics, electronics and clothes. (News Letter No. 509)

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KH

Post Date 

2023-08-01

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1.The most cases of unauthorized preoccupation of overseas trademarks relating to Korean trademarks (brands) are in the fields of cosmetics, electronics and clothes.

-KIPO published analysis results of the status showed that Korean trademarks (brands) were subject to unauthorized preoccupation in China and Southeast Asia.
-The relevant damages were frequent focusing on 5 industries including cosmetics, electronics, clothes, etc.
-When advancing abroad, Korean companies should be careful of overseas jumping on their high-quality images.

On July 23, 2023 KIPO published the analysis results of information collection data of unauthorized preoccupation of overseas trademarks of Korean companies over the last 4 years (2019~2022) in China and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia). The analysis was conducted by comparing the trademark applications filed in the relevant countries during the search period with the Korean trademark applications and registered trademarks. The analysis was based on 15,692 cases of collected information data relating to the unauthorized preoccupation of overseas trademark in China and Vietnam (2019~), Thailand (2020~) and Indonesia (2021~).

Foreign companies, etc. have unauthorizedly filed applications of Korean trademarks (brands) abroad, causing damages of trademark disputes, counterfeit product distribution, etc. to Korean companies. The analysis of the unauthorized preoccupation of overseas trademarks of Korean trademarks (brands) was conducted to help Korean export companies in preventing and preparing for the difficulties of trademark disputes, counterfeit products, etc. which they would experience due to the unauthorized preoccupation of the overseas trademarks.

As the analysis results, since many cases of the unauthorized preoccupation of the trademarks to jump on Korean companies’ high-quality images were focused on the fields of cosmetics, electronics, and clothes, etc., the relevant industries need to take special attention.



The 5 sectors of Korean companies that have been most damaged by the unauthorized preoccupation were cosmetics (18.7%), electronics (15.3%), clothes (15.1%), franchisees (13.2%) and food (7.6%).
As the awareness of Korean companies’ trademarks (brands) has increased due to the Korean wave of Korean content, etc., it is considered that the unauthorized preoccupation of the Korean trademarks (brands) has been frequently found abroad.



By company size, Korean small and medium companies had the most damages, 81.8%, due to the unauthorized preoccupation of overseas trademarks of Korean trademarks (brands), middle market companies 9.4%, and big companies 8.2%. The small and medium companies and the middle market companies had the most damages, 18.2% and 27.3%, respectively, in the field of cosmetics, The big companies had the most damage, 24.7%, in the field of electronics.



As a result of analyzing the type of the unauthorized preoccupation of the relevant overseas trademarks, 69.5% (56.3% in China and more than 80% in Southeast Asia) were the cases of unauthorizedly preoccupying the same trademarks in the same business fields as the original Korean trademarks (brands). In addition, in China, 27.4% were the cases of using the identical or similar trademarks in the different business fields.

The reason for occurring damages due to the unauthorized preoccupation of the relevant overseas trademarks in the different business fields from those of the original trademarks is considered as the awareness and reliability of Korean trademarks are high and thus even if the relevant overseas trademark applications were filed in different business fields, an unauthorized ride on the relevant Korean trademarks (brands) would be possible.



Among the overseas trademarks of Korean trademarks (brands) which were preoccupied without authority, the English trademarks were the most, 70% or higher, of the total trademarks damaged by the unauthorized preoccupation. However, the damages of the trademarks including Hangeul (Korean alphabet), such as the ‘English and Hangeul mixed trademarks’ and ‘Hangeul trademarks’, were also high, 25% or more.

The reason that the damages of the trademarks including Hangeul were high is considered that since Hangeul is recognized as figure in both China and Southeast Asia countries, it is easy to avoid the suspicion of the unauthorized preoccupation of the trademarks.



KIPO started collecting the information of unauthorized preoccupation of the overseas trademarks of Korean companies’ trademarks in China in 2017 and expanded the target countries to Singapore in 2023 following Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Through this project, KIPO has tried for Korean companies’ damage relief by providing individual damaged companies with not only the results of collected information but also the step-by-step customized response strategy information and the response strategy consultation to the unauthorized preoccupation of a trademark by risk level.



2. KIPO collected public opinion on “Is artificial intelligence (AI) an inventor?”

-KIPO will conduct a public survey on an AI inventor in the KIPO homepage.

On July 24, 2023 KIPO published to conduct a public survey by September 30, 2023, to listen to the opinion of people including experts as to whether AI can be recognized as an inventor and which changes to be made in the current Korean Patent Act if an AI’s invention is recognized.

To this end, KIPO opened a corner called ‘AI and invention’ in its website (www.kipo.go.kr), to conduct the public survey and provide the information on the ‘AI inventor issue’ which has been discussed at home and abroad. People who want to participate in the survey may fill out the document (file) in the KIPO website and return it to KIPO’s Patent Legal Administration Division by email.

In addition, anyone who wants to participate in the survey is able to quickly respond to the survey by indicating an answer to a question through the whole public communication (website: www.sotong.go.kr), which is operated by the Korean Ministry of the Interior and Safety, without submitting a separate document (file).



3. Korean companies have found an export breakthrough by increasing the number of overseas applications.

-KIPO published the application statistics for the first half, showing that the number of Korean patent applications is about 107,000 with an increase of 4.1% compared to the same period of the previous year.

-The number of the applications increased focusing on the main export industries, such as the leading-edge semiconductors, digital communications, etc.

-The number of overseas patent applications filed by Korean companies in the first half year was about 29,000, showing an increase of 25.5% compared to the same period of the previous year.

While the global uncertainty according to US-China battle for supremacy has grown, the number of Korean patent applications filed in the first half of this year recorded about 107,000, increased by 4.1% compared to the same period of the previous year. In addition, the number of overseas patent applications to preoccupy a new market increased by 25.5% compared to the same period of the previous year, showing Korean companies’ efforts to turn crisis into opportunity.



On July 16, 2023, KIPO published that the number of Korean patent applications filed in the first half of 2023 totaled 107,000, increasing by 4.1% compared to the same period of 2022.

By type of applicant, the number of applications increased by big companies (⊂14.8), small and medium companies (⊂4.8), and universities and public research institutes (⊂14.1), whereas the number of applications decreased by individuals (쮮2.8), and foreign applicants (쮮3.3).

By technical field, the number of applications increased focusing the major export industries, such as semiconductors (4,406 applications ⊂16.2), digital communication information (3,651, ⊂18.9), electrical machine/energy secondary battery manufacturing (5,581, ⊂6.1). However, the number of applications decreased in the following fields: E-commerce brokerage transaction (4,689, 쮮6.1), transportation electric vehicle control adjustment (2,889, 쮮7.8), organic fine chemical cosmetic preparation (1,865, 쮮7.0), etc.

The statistics by technical field were based on the cumulative standards of January to April 2023 since it took about 2 months for the technical classification period of the applications.

The above increases are considered as a result that Korean companies, which recognized the process of reorganizing the whole global supply chain as an opportunity not a crisis, have established the elaborate patent strategies focusing on the high-tech industries, such as semiconductors and communications, etc.



The efforts of Korean companies to preoccupy a new overseas market in line with the rapidly changing international situation are shown in the overseas patent application trend.

The number of patent applications that Korean companies filed in the major overseas countries, such US, China, etc. has steadily increased every year from 19,313 (in June 2021), 23,322 (in June 2022 ⊂20.8) to 29,271 (in the first half of 2023, ⊂25.5 compared to the same period of 2022).

By country, 14,800 applications were filed in US (more than a half, 50.6%), followed by 8,827 in China (30.2%) and 2,118 in Europe (7.2%). From the view of an increase rate in the number of overseas applications compared to the same period of the previous year, the highest increase rate, 1,795%, was in the number of applications filed in India, followed by 31.5% in Taiwan and 22.2% in US.

Notably, the number of overseas patent applications, which Korean companies filed in the third countries including India (1,042 applications, ⊂1,795), Taiwan (1,562, ⊂31.5) and Vietnam (128, ⊂24.3), has steadily increased this year.

In this regard, upon reviewing the trade balance data by country, which were published by the Korea Customs Service, US was Korea’s largest trade surplus country, Vietnam was a 2nd, and India was a 4th trade surplus country.

For reference, US (14.283 billion dollars), Vietnam (9.942 billion dollars), Hong Kong (7.074 billion dollars), India (4.455 billion dollars), and the Republic of T㉨rkiye (3.316 billion dollars) (January to May of 2023 accumulated basis)

As the target countries where Korean companies filed patent applications have expanded from previously US and China to the third countries such as India and Vietnam, etc., Korea’s export destination countries are considered as changing to the same direction as the patent applications as filed.



4. First in the world, KIPO begins full-fledged development of a patent examination system using a super-giant AI.

-KIPO and LG AI Research signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build an ‘AI-based patent examination system’.

-It is expected to improve the patent examination quality and to build super-giant AI advanced use cases.

KIPO and LG AI Research cooperated to begin full-fledged development of a patent examination system using a super-giant AI. For the first time in the world, the super-giant AI model is used in the patent administration field, expecting to enhance the examination quality and to make super-giant AI advanced use cases.

KIPO and LG AI Research signed the MOU to build an AI-based patent examination system.



LG AI Research provides KIPO with the AI development knowhow and the relevant technological education which were accumulated while developing EXAONE, a super-giant AI. KIPO will apply AI expertise provided by LG AI Research to the realization of the super-giant AI-based patent examination system. This year, KIPO will first build an AI language model for patent documents.

KIPO provides LG AI Research with patent specialized knowledge and the patent information held by KIPO. When LG AI Research which has researched the AI technology for the experts relating to new drugs and material research, etc. is provided the patent information and patent knowledge from KIPO, these are expected to be greatly helpful in developing the AI technology specialized in the patent field.



Last February, KIPO published the ‘AI utilization patent administrative innovation implementation (roadmap) (2023~2027)’ which applies the AI technology to the patent administration in general, including examination and trial.

Starting with the building of an AI utilization base regarding overall patent administration, KIPO has a plan to fully apply the AI technology to each field, such as examination, trial, customer service, data building, etc.
 

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