1. The number of patent applications filed in foreign countries last year jumped with an increase to the maximum number in six years
- The number of foreign applications increased by 10.9% and the number of foreign registrations increased by 8.8%.
The number of patent applications filed in foreign countries by Koreans seeking to develop overseas markets and preoccupy global markets has greatly increased.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of patent applications, which were filed by Korean companies in the major five (5) IP countries (US, China, Europe, South Korea and Japan) in 2019, totaled 66,792, increasing by 10.9% compared to
60,186 in 2018 such that the maximum increase was recorded since 2014.
By countries, the status of foreign patent applications filed by Korean companies is: 36,852 applications were filed in US (with an increase of 8.5%), occupying about a half (55.1%) of the total of the foreign patent applications, followed by 16,019 in China (with an increase of 15.4%), 8,287 in Europe (with an increase of 13.8%) and 5,634 in Japan (with an increase of 11.1%).
Specially, the number of the applications in US greatly rebounded in 2019 from the falling trend since 2016.
2. KIPO has opened a service for mobile-filing a trademark application for the first time in the world
KIPO announced to operate a mobile service for people to easily and rapidly file an application anytime and anywhere.
As the “특허로” portal (which is available on the Korean language website, www.patent.go.kr), is focused on the improvement of user convenience and has been finally reorganized, the mobile service has started. It is noted that, in the newly reorganized “특허로” portal, people can use, by smart phones, all customer services from the filing of a trademark application, receipt of an official notice, payment of official fees, search for examination processing status, and issuance of a registration certificate.
Besides the mobile-filing of a trademark application, since the latest IT technology is applied to the new “특허로” portal, the function of promoting convenience in civil petitions has sharply improved.
Further, a screen US (user interface) which is proper for a computer, tablet, smart phone, etc. is provided as a responsive web based on the HTML5 (Hyper Text Markup Language 5) standard technology. A simple authentication function through a browser public certificate or a digital one pass is provided, and a private certificate can be used in accordance with the revised Electric Signature Act.
3. It is possible to file a design application for an English goods name only
- The revision to the design examination standards has been operated from March 1, 2020.
Since March 1, 2020, KIPO has enforced the design examination standards having the major content to acknowledge English goods names which have newly appeared in line with the digital and multimedia technology development and to strengthen the examination of an application which partially changes a famous trademark or design.
Previously, foreign characters which were not named in the Korean language were not approved as a name(s) of goods. However, under the revised design examination standards, in the case where even words consisting of English only are ordinarily used in the relevant design industry (for example, Smart Watch, etc.), those words are recognized as justifiable names of goods. This is an improvement to meet with the international standards and transaction status under the situation that the number of new goods has increased according to the 4th industrial revolution.
When an application is filed by copying some constituents of a famous trademark or design, previously confusion would result because of the relevant unclear reasons for rejection against the application. However, now, examples of the specific reasons for rejection against such an application are provided, thereby strengthening the protection of Korean famous trademarks and designs.
4. The number of mask design applications has increased by eleven (11) times or more over the last ten (10) years due to respiratory diseases and fine dust
- The examination process of the mask design applications is shortened to about ten (10) days
According to KIPO, the average increase rate in the number of mask design applications is very high as 43.2%.
By period, the number of the relevant applications showed a slight increase from 2009 when swine flue (H1N1) was prevalent to 2013 before the fine dust forecast was started and then steadily increased due to the extension of awareness about health problems caused by fine dust and the outbreak of MERS (middle east respiratory syndrome) in 2015. Specifically, a total of 815 applications were filed during the last year, showing a high increase of as much as 212.3% compared to 261 in 2018. This is considered as resulting from the extension of harmfulness of not only fine dust but also the respiratory diseases which threaten the health of the world people, such as Covid 19.