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The number of trademark disputes related to the imitation of foreign brand trademarks has decreased(News Letter No. 392)



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1. The number of trademark disputes related to the imitation of foreign brand trademarks has decreased

The number of the requests for trademark invalidation trials filed by foreigners to invalidate Koreans’ registered trademarks (which were related to the imitation of famous foreign brand trademarks) has steadily decreased.

The number of the trademark invalidation trials, which foreigners filed with the Korea Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board (KIPTAB) for the last five years (2013~2017) at the issue of the imitation of famous foreign brand trademarks, was 166 in 2013, 176 in 2014, 193 in 2015, 137 in 2016 and 127 in 2017, showing the decline starting from 2015.

Among these numbers, 72 was cited (decided to invalidate the registration) in 2013, 78 in 2014, 81 in 2015, 56 in 2016 and 48 in 2017. The average win rate over the last five years was 58.2%.

The state of the number of trials to invalidate the trademarks related to the imitation of the foreign trademarks by nations, which were filed for the last five years, is that: US filed 299 (37.4%), Japan 91 (11.4%), France 56 (7%), Germany 55 (6.9%), Italy 53 (6.6%) and China 39 (4.9%).

2. KIPO removes restrictions on a Power of Attorney in relation to a foreign cooperation to file a patent or trademark application

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the ‘evidence document submission system’ regarding a Power of Attorney was improved such that a foreign corporation can easily file a patent or trademark application with KIPO.

Previously, when a foreign corporation submitted a Power of Attorney to file a patent or trademark application in Korea, if a representative of the corporation did not sign on the Power of Attorney, it was required to submit a notarized certificate to verify whether the signature authority is effective or not.

Since a foreign corporation should submit the notarized certificate of the Power of Attorney at the stage of filing an application, it experienced difficulties in filing a Korean application. The relevant industry argued that such a system did not consider the company reality and signature culture in foreign countries and thus hoped for an improvement of the system.

To solve this problem, KIPO conducts this improvement scheme prepared by having a meeting and a business conference with the Korea Patent Attorneys Association and collecting the opinions from the related organizations.

The major content of the system improvement regarding a Power of Attorney in English is to remarkably ease the administration standard such that a patent attorney may not submit any additional evidence document other than a Power of Attorney when submitting general application documents.

However, in the case where any disadvantages, such as a withdrawal or abandonment of a patent application, occur to an applicant, a patent attorney should file a document to prove the power of representation.

3. Looking for a trademark in beautiful Korean

- For an outstanding trademark in amiable and easy Korean

KIPO will award an outstanding trademark in Korea to encourage the use of a Korean language trademark. This event, started from 2016, is prepared to spread the use of a Korean language trademark which is friendly, easily pronounced and refined while foreign trademarks or terms of unknown nationality overflowed.

For this event hosted by KIPO and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the National Institute of the Korean Language, anyone can apply his/her registered trademark or recommend another’s registered trademark through the KIPO home page (www.kipo.go.kr) from August 1 through 15.

The registered trademarks to be applied and recommended should be the Korean language trademarks registered since January 1, 2015. A trademark imitating another’s trademark, a trademark owned by a trademark broker, and a trademark related to a pending dispute, such as a trail, will be excluded from the objects of awards.

4. The number of the intelligent transport system-related patent applications shows a clear increasing trend

According to KIPO, the filing of Korean patent applications in the intelligent transport system area fully started in 2010 and has rapidly increased since 2016.

The number of the relevant applications was about 109 on average per year over 2010~2015 but rapidly increased to 177 in 2016 and 196 in 2017, showing an increase of nearly 2 times compared to 2015.

As a result of analyzing the technology of the relevant applications filed over the last five years, the communication-related technology was 41%, the navigation-related technology was 18%, the traffic signal control-related technology was 10%, and the traffic volume sensing technology was 5%.

Based on the applicants of the relevant applications filed since 2005, small and medium companies were 39%, schools and research agencies were 22%, big companies were 16% and foreign companies were 5%, indicating that the number of the relevant applications filed by the small and medium companies and research agencies was relatively high.

The rapid increase of the relevant applications since 2016 is considered as resulting from the fact that small and medium companies positively pushed themselves to develop the technology for preoccupancy of the market. Specifically, it is noticed that the number of the applications for the communication-related technology has sharply increased by the rapid growth of the new high-speed communication technology including 5G.


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