1. Cooperative consultation examination of a trademark application is active in KIPO
-The innovation of an examination method is promoted by an increase in the number of trademark examiners.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO, Commissioner: WonjooPARK), the consultation examination among the examiners is actively conducted in trademark examination. The number of the consultation examination cases of trademark applications was 1,356 (2017) →2,407 (2018) → 1,752 (June 2019) → 3,504 (estimated in 2019).
In the consultation examination where usually 3~6 examiners participate, an examiner in charge listens to other examiners’ opinions and decides an examination direction.
The trademark consultation examination is generally conducted for a trademark application where it is difficult to decide whether a trademark has the distinctiveness from another trademark or whether it is similar to another trademark or a trademark application that may be socially an issue such as a newly appearing coinage.
When a consultation is needed, the examiner in charge designates an examiner with professionalism in a particular field through an examination system and requests a consultation, the designated examiner proposes an opinion to conduct an examination. Since the result(s) of consultation is recorded and shared by all examiners, it is effective in especially increasing the consistency of the examination.
The reason why the consultation examination is active in the trademark examination is because of the increase in the number of examiners and the examination quality control around the trademark team operating from the second half of 2018.
2. The number of reasons for rejection based on an error in indicating goods is reduced
-Correct indication of goods is automatically guided when electronically filing a trademark application.
The number of the cases where obtaining a trademark is delayed or a trademark is not registered due to an unclear description with respect to the indication of goods is expected to be greatly reduced.
As a part of the government transformation, from September 19, 2019, KIPO has started the service of automatically guiding correct names of goods with respect to the wrong indication of goods when electronically filing a trademark application.
When electronically filing a trademark application, an applicant should accurately describe which goods the trademark to be used is applied to.
In the case where a plurality of goods are designated or goods are designated using comprehensive names, a rejection is issued since the scope of a trademark is unclear. Percentage by year, that trademark applications were rejected based on errors in describing the names of goods, is 19.6% (2014) → 17.5% (2015) → 12.9% (2016) → 11.6% (2017) → 11.4% (2018).
If an error is made in describing the name(s) of goods even though a trademark is registerable, the registration is delayed by at least two months. If the name(s) of the goods is not amended to be corrected, the trademark is rejected, making it is difficult to obtain a registration.
This currently introduced service is to prevent a ‘unclear name(s) of goods’ where an applicant makes an error when filing a trademark application and guide a correct name(s) of goods at the stage of filing a trademark application.
3. KIPO has opened a contest of a quick response (QR) code design for intellectual property (IP) indication
According to KIPO, the ‘contest of QR code designs’ to confirm IP registration information has opened to the whole nation from September 2 through October 31, 2019.
The QR code designs elected in the contest will be attached to the products with IP rights from the second half of 2020 and will be used in easily confirm the information of the IP (patent, utility model, trademark, design, etc.) applied to corresponding products.
KIPO expects that, through this QR code design contest, the general public willeasily recognize the products with IP rights and easily confirm the relevant registration information.
4. The number of patent applications related to floating photovoltaic power generation has rapidly increased
According to KIPO, the number of the patent applications related to the floating photovoltaic power generation was active with about yearly 20~30 from 2010~2013, 49 in 2014 and 74 in 2015 and 103 in 2018, continuing to increase with 54 in the first half of 2019.
The rapid increase from 2018 is considered to relate to the expansion of the floating photovoltaic power generation business according to government policy.
A floating photovoltaic power generation system essentially comprises a floating body to float a generation plant and a mooring system to hold the floating body. Upon reviewing a total of 492 applications filed from 2010 to June 2019 by technology, 260 applications (53%) are for a floating body and frame, 45 (9%) for mooring and holding, and 37 (8%) for movement and rotation of the generation plant, so that many applications (a total of 342, 70%) are directly related to the installation of the solar generation plant on the water.
In addition, 44 (9%) are for hybrid generation combined with tidal or wind power generation, 38 (8%) for water quality management to improve the water quality of the place where the generation plant is installed, 24 (5%) for cleaning/cooling of the generation plant using water resources, 17 (3%) for management and surveillance, and 17 (3%) for electric power control, and 10 (2%) for the technology of adding water culture of crops and fishing culture equipment in the generation plant.