Intellectual Property, NAM & NAM updates

South Korea

Contributed by NAM & NAM
Strengthened provisions for keeping designs secret
  • South Korea
  • 19 April 2021

Unlike patent applications, which are published in full after a fixed period to prevent redundant research and investment, the details of design applications are disclosed via publication in the Design Gazette at the time of registration. Parties may postpone the disclosure of a design using the secret design system. A recent amendment to the secret design system aims to offer applicants stronger protection and enable the strategic management of applications for new product designs.

Trademark infringement theory – innocent or infringing?
  • South Korea
  • 12 April 2021

Where an application for a trademark which is substantially similar to a prior registered trademark is successful, does the use of the later filed trademark constitute infringement of the prior registered trademark? This situation is not explicitly addressed by the Trademark Act, but the courts have traditionally held that it does not constitute infringement. However, a recent Supreme Court ruling overturned this convention, highlighting the importance of early filing in South Korea.

Notable changes to trademark practice
  • South Korea
  • 22 March 2021

The Korean Intellectual Property Office recently updated the Trademark Examination Guidelines, the Similar Goods Examination Guidelines and the Trademark Act Enforcement Rules. The updates affect, among other things, Class 09 software descriptions and non-traditional and foreign language trademarks. This article summarises the most noteworthy changes.

Patent Court takes issue with ex officio examination of trial request validity
  • South Korea
  • 25 January 2021

If an invention subject to confirmation is identical to a later-registered patent, a request for a scope confirmation trial will be considered improper as this could result in the later-registered patent's validity being denied without it being subject to an invalidity trial. However, the Patent Court recently ruled that if the IP Trial and Appeal Board ex officio dismisses a scope confirmation trial for this reason but fails to give the parties an opportunity to submit an opinion, such decision would be a procedural violation.

KIPO measures to prevent online counterfeits
  • South Korea
  • 18 January 2021

According to a Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) press release, the number of reports concerning online counterfeits has increased by 204.4% year-on-year following the increase in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, KIPO has devised a number of measures to more effectively combat the rapidly increasing online distribution of counterfeit products while minimising damage to consumers.


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