1. Documents to be submitted for a design registration are simplified
- Examination standards for a design application have been revised to be effective from October 1, 2015.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced that new examination standards of a design application have been prepared to be in operation from October 1, 2015, by improving inconvenient matters previously experienced by an applicant upon filing a design application and reflecting examination cases discussed by examiners.
The main content of the revised examination standards is to specify the standards for determining the possibility that a design application may be registered, to lessen the burden of making documents by simplifying the document requirements to be submitted by an applicant and to protect designs in diverse forms.
▲ Alleviation of requirements for submitting design drawings
The unnecessary requirements in filing a design application have been abolished, to improve the ease of filing for the applicant. If it is possible to understand an overall shape of a design, an applicant may not submit some drawings. In a case of two-dimensional goods like a fabric sheet, even through an applicant submits only a front view of the fabric sheet since a back view thereof is regarded as having no shape, it is registrable.
▲ Expansion of an object to be filed as a pair of goods
Even though a right and a left are separated like a pergola of which right and left are created to be asymmetric, it is reasonable to trade as one goods. However, in the case where accessorial means like a mannequin or hanger are expressed to clearly express goods, this was not registrable since it was regarded as violating one application for one design. However, it is acceptable under the revised examination standards.
▲ Modification of standards of determining a design including a national flag, etc.
KIPO has specified the standards of determining the requirements for registration, to increase the consistency and accuracy of examination. Previously, a design application including a national flag shape was rejected. However, under the revised examination standards, even though a design includes a national flag shape, whether the design is likely to harm the dignity of a nation is reasonably determined without uniformly rejecting the design.
▲ Modification of standards of determining a design core part in an application claiming a priority
When a drawing(s) is amended in a design application filed by claiming a priority according to the treaty, whether a core part of a design has been changed is determined by considering the design of the first application filed in a country. If the design of the application is determined as being within the same scope of the design of the first filed application, it will be acceptable.
2. The trade between Korea-ASEAN has rapidly increased and therefore the number of trademark applications tends to increase
- By countries, Singapore filed more than a half of the total of trademark applications, and by items, foodstuffs had the majority of the trademark applications.
Since the FTA was concluded between the Republic of Korea and ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) in 2007, trade among these countries has rapidly increased and the number of Korean trademark applications filed by these ASEAN countries has steadily increased.
The ASEAN consists of a total of ten (10) countries including Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
According to KIPO, the number of Korean trademark applications filed by the ASEAN countries since the conclusion of the FTA between Korea-ASEAN totaled 3,287, showing an increase of about 140%, from 321 in 2007 to 456 in 2014.
By ASEAN countries, Singapore filed 1,661 trademark applications, holding more than a half of the total number (51%), followed by Thailand filing 611 (19%), Malaysia filing 547 (17%), Indonesia filing 262 (8%). Among the ASEAN countries, Laos did not file any trademark application.
The ASEAN region is a huge market of more than six (6) hundred million people in the ten (10) member countries. Although the trade between Korean and ASEAN has rapidly increased due to the economic growth of this region and the influence of Korean cultural contents, since the economic growth in most of these countries is at a development stage, there are not many Korean trademark applications filed by the countries other than Singapore.
3. The number of patent applications for an automobile semiconductor has rapidly increased
- the era of an electric automobile, an autonomous automobile
As mechanical components used for automobiles have been changed to electric equipment, the number of patent applications for an automobile semiconductor technology has rapidly increased.
According to KIPO, the top five (5) companies based on the market share by the automobile semiconductor major companies are Renesas, Infineon, ST Microelectronics, Freescale, and NXP.
The number of the relevant Korean patent applications was only 68 in 2010 but increased to 138 in 2014, showing an annual average increase of 20.5% for the last five (5) years. The number of the applications reached 122 by August, 2015 and the increasing trend is expected to continue.
Automobile semiconductors mean semiconductors used for various sensors, control devices and driving devices for an automobile. Automobile semiconductors require stability and durability which are at much higher levels than consumer semiconductors, such as PCs, mobile phones, etc. At present, a single automobile contains more than about 200 semiconductors, memory and non-memory semiconductors, micro-control units (MCU), etc. Many more semiconductors are expected to be used for a future automobile such as an unmanned automobile.
The major technical fields of automobile semiconductors are divided into a sensor, a memory device, data processing/transmission, an integrated circuit (IC), power/discrete device, etc. The most applications (30%) are related to the integrated circuit (IC) which is used for electronic control. The discrete device means an individual device which has a mono-function, such as a transistor which has a role of a switch to pass a current, without using an integrated circuit such as the IC. The discrete device is generally used for a power semiconductor.
4. Series trademarks are the driving force in protecting cosmetics brands
The number of trademark applications related to ‘Cushion’ has rapidly increased. The ‘Cushion’ is also called ‘K-Cushion’ which is further from ‘K-cosmetic’ reflecting the Korean wave in the cosmetics industry.
According to KIPO, the number of the trademark applications of the ‘Cushion’-related cosmetics was 323 in 2014 by the major cosmetics companies including AmorePacific, LG Household & Health Care, The Face Shop, Etude, Enprani, etc. This number shows an increase of 196% compared with 109 in the previous year. The number of the relevant trademark registrations was 93 in 2014, showing an increase of 182% compared with 33 in the previous year.
Especially, the number of the relevant trademark registrations based at the end of August, 2015 was 238, exceeding 2.5 times 93 in 2014. This proves that the cosmetics industry is in the K-Cushion wave.
The main reasons for this increase are:
- the spread of K-beauty by the influence of Hallyu (Korean) wave; and
- the improvement of brand value, such as quality improvement according to the innovative technological development.