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A total revision of the Korean Trademark Law which had been enforced for 26 years (News Letter No. 343)



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1. A total revision of the Korean Trademark Law which had been enforced for 26 years

- Expansion of the subject of a preferential and improvement of a trial system for cancellation of a trademark not in use

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the Korean Trademark Law and its subordinate statutes, the Enforcement Ordinances and Rules, which were totally revised after 26 years (hereinafter, referred to as the ‘total revision of the Trademark Law’) has now been fully enforced since September 1, 2016.

The main points of the total revision of the Trademark Law are ▲ to expand an opportunity for people to select trademarks and ▲ to improve the convenience of an applicant by supplementing inadequate matters.

The major contents of the total revision of the Trademark Law being enforced are as follows:
- A service mark is integrated into a trademark: Previously, since a trademark and a service mark were different from each other in the definition under the Trademark Law, the law system was complicated. However, under this revised Trademark Law, the definition of a service mark has been deleted to be unified as a trademark.

- A trial system for cancellation of a trademark not in use is now modified: Previously, an interested party should request a trial for cancellation of a trademark registered but not in use. However, under this revised Trademark Law, ‘anyone’ can request the trial.

- The regulation of prohibiting the filing of an application for a trademark for one (1) year after the trademark right lapsed is deleted: Deleted is the regulation to prevent a trademark which is identical with or similar to the trademark(s) of another for one (1) year after the trademark(s) lapsed.

2. A presentation of an intellectual property (IP) protection system through the Customs of major countries including the USA and Japan was held

A presentation regarding the IP protection and registration systems in the Customs of the seven (7) major countries was held for Korean export companies on August 26, 2016 in the Seoul Customs auditorium by KIPO and the Office of Customs Administration (OCA). The seven (7) countries presented were the USA, Japan, Germany, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.

The two organizations had held a first presentation in 2015, by publishing a manual of the IP registration and protection systems through the Customs of the four (4) Asian major countries, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.

At the request of the companies participating in the presentation last year, this second presentation was held by publishing the manual regarding the IP registration system through the Customs of the USA, Japan and Germany where there are lots of IP disputes at the customs stage.

Most countries including the Republic of Korea operate the IP registration systems through the Customs, to prevent the international transaction of goods infringing IP rights.

This presentation guided a method of registering an IP right according to each foreign Customs and a governmental program to support the registration and presented Korean companies’ cases which controlled counterfeit goods at the Customs entry stage by using the IP protection system through the foreign Customs.

3. KIPO awarded the outstanding examiner(s) during the first half of 2016

On August 9, 2016 in the Daejeon Government Complex, KIPO awarded 54 outstanding examiners and 31 outstanding divisions selected as contributing to the improvement of examination quality through high quality examination.

The outstanding examiners and examination divisions were selected by measuring the quality of examination of individual examiners regarding the examination cases during the first half of 2016, through the close review of the statistics index reflecting an examination pattern and examination quality.

The outstanding examiners were selected including ▲ 9 leaders of excellent parts related to quality control, ▲ 40 excellent examiners (including 5 examiners winning grand prizes), and ▲ 5 examiners winning special prizes. The outstanding divisions were selected including ▲ 10 excellent examination divisions and ▲ 21 excellent examination parts.

In this event, ▲ 3 excellent appeal boards ▲ 5 judges ▲ 1 excellent litigation performance officer, and 9 researchers including a leader of search team of the Patent Information Promotion Center which is a prior art search agency were awarded.

4. Trends of patent applications related to an automobile high performance safety tire technology

Tires have evolved. Tires have been developed as future high performance safety tires, to keep up with the development of eco-friendly future cars, such as electric cars. Applications have been steadily filed for the technology related to diverse safety tires to prevent the anxiety and safety accident of a driver due to a lack of air pressure of a tire or a puncture thereof, etc.

The present condition of the number of the applications related to the safety tire technology by years shows two digits in the following years: 82 in 2006, 82 in 2007, 69 in 2008, 63 in 2009 and 95 in 2010. After that, the number of the relevant applications increased to 106 in 2011, 135 in 2012 and 146 in 2013 and slightly decreased to 88 in 2014 and 71 in 2015. However, the applications in this field are considered as being steadily filed.

The present condition of these applications by safety tire technology types is as follows: The most applications, 547 (58%), are related to the TPMS technology, 181 (19%) applications are related to the non-pneumatic tire technology, 149 (16%) applications are related to the run-flat tire technology and 60 (7%) applications are related to the sealant tire technology. Specially, the applications for the non-pneumatic tire technology have been actively filed since 2010, with an average annual number of more than 20 applications.


A 12th international Patent Information Expo (PATINEX 2016) was held (News Letter No. 344)


A biggest Korean IP integrated exhibition will be held in December (News Letter No. 342)