(From Ministry of Foreign Affairs website - Regional index)
Useful information when protecting trademark rights in the Republic of Korea is presented below. It is our hope that our clients will find this page helpful in protecting their intellectual property overseas.
*As of 2015 (based on actual records of the survey by the JPO)
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2. Comparison of Japanese Trademark System and Korean Trademark System
Application with Multiple Classifications
Application Publication System
Types of Trademark
Signs, characters, figures, sounds, scents, 3D shapes, holograms, movements, colors, etc. (all indications that are used to indicate the origin of a good)
Characters, figures, signs, 3D shapes, colors, combinations thereof, sounds, etc.
Subject of Protection under Trademark Act
Goods, services, collective marks, geographical indications, certification marks, and business emblems
Goods, services, collective marks, regional collective trademarks, and defensive marks
Basis of Grant of Right
Necessity of Local Attorney for Overseas Applicant
Power of Attorney
Necessary *Submission can be made after filing of application *Submission of comprehensive power of attorney is allowed
Unnecessary(necessary in appeal)
10 years from registration date *Renewable
10 years from registration date *Renewable
Period of Cancellation of Trademark not in Use
3 years *Anyone can claim
3 years *Anyone can claim
2 months from publication date (before registration) *Anyone can raise
2 months from publication date (after registration) *Anyone can raise
Invalidation Trial System
○ *Only interested party and examiner can claim
○ *Only interested party can claim
• In Korea, registration of additional designated goods is allowed. This makes it possible to file a registration application in a case where the applicant wishes to add a designated good(s) or a designated service(s) to a registered trademark or a trademark for which a trademark application has been filed.
3. Q&A for Korean Trademark System
Q:What is business emblem?
A: "Business emblem" refers to a mark (e.g., signs, characters, figures, etc.) used by a person conducting a non-profit business (such as the Korean Red Cross) to indicate the person's business (Article 2(1)(iv) of the Korean Trademark Act). Examples of the organization include the Korean Consumer Protection board, the YMCA, and the Rotary Club.
In order to register a business emblem, it is necessary to submit, to the Director General of the Patent Office, an "application document for trademark registration (with sample of business emblem)" together with a document that proves the management facts of that business (e.g., "article of incorporation" in the case of legal entity).
Q:What is collective mark?
A: "Collective mark" refers to a mark which is intended to be used directly by a corporation jointly founded by the persons who produce, manufacture, process, or sell goods as a business or the persons who carry on service business or which is intended to be used with respect to the goods or services of members of the corporation who are controlled by it (Article 2(1)(iii) of the Korean Trademark Act).
Q:What is "the single application for single trademark principle" ?
A: A person who wishes to register a trademark needs to designate one or more classes of goods within the classification prescribed by ordinance of the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, and an application needs to be filed for each trademark. This is called the single application for single trademark principle, which forbids inclusion of two or more trademarks in a single application. In order to register two or more trademarks, it is necessary to file an application for each trademark (Article 10 of the Korean Trademark Act).
The single application for single trademark principle is a basic rule that applies to a new trademark registration application, a registration application for additional designated good(s), and a registration application for renewal of term of trademark right.
Q:How can we renew the term of a registered trademark?
A: Procedure for renewal of term of trademark right - A person who wishes to renew the term of a registered trademark needs to prepare and submit a renewal registration application within one year before the expiration date of the term of the registered trademark. Even if no renewal application is filed within the above period, it is still possible to file a renewal registration application within six months from the expiration date of the term of the registered trademark (Article 43 of the Korean Trademark Act). - If personal information on the applicant's code of the renewal registration application differs from the personal information of the right holder registered in the registry, it is necessary to take a procedure to change or revise the indication of the registered owner by submitting an "application for registration of change (revision) of indication of registered owner" prescribed by the enforcement rules of the Korean Trademark Act. That is, if the personal information on the applicant's code does not match, it is necessary to make a change (revision) by filing a "declaration of change (revision) of applicant's information" so that the personal information matches.
Q:How can I file a registration application for additional designated goods?
A: Designation of goods for which the trademark is to be used - A person who wishes to file a trademark registration application needs to designate (i) a trademark for which protection is sought and (ii) one or more goods for which the trademark is to be used, within the classification prescribed by ordinance of the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (Article 47 of the Korean Trademark Act). - The appendix of the enforcement rules of the Korean Trademark Act specifies 34 classifications (classes 1 to 34) for goods and 11 classifications (classes 35 to 45) for services. Since March 1, 1998, the Republic of Korea employs the international classification for goods and services for trademark registration (i.e., the Nice Classification) stipulated by the Nice Agreement.
Registration application for additional designated goods - An applicant of a trademark registration application can designate one or more goods in filing the trademark registration application. In a case where the applicant wishes to add a designated good(s) after filing of the trademark registration application or after registration of the trademark, the applicant can newly file an application for adding such a designated good(s).
Q:Can I file a trademark application for a hologram trademark or a movement trademark?
A: The Korean Trademark Act also covers hologram trademarks, movement trademarks, and trademarks constituted solely of colors, since July 1, 2007 (Article 2(1)(i) of the Korean Trademark Act).