Major changes to the South Korean trademark law have brought excitement to applicants. The first big change, which took effect last August 4, 2022, clarified that the distribution of trademarked digital goods is considered “use” of the trademark, including distribution of such goods through a telecommunications network. This means the law now explicitly protects trademarked digital goods, including digital files such as apps, e-books and emoticons purchased from Apple’s App Store, Google Play or similar sites.
Two changes that took effect on February 4, 2023, will streamline the country’s application process. Under the partial rejection system, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) may refuse certain goods or services on an application while allowing registration for the remaining specification of goods or services. In other words, in cases where the applicant is content to abandon the refused goods or services, no further action will be required on their part to have the application registered for the remaining non-problematic goods or services.
The new re-examination system involves cases where a pending application is finally rejected after a notice of preliminary rejection. If reasons for rejection can be easily resolved via amendment of goods or services, an applicant will be able to request re-examination (within three months of final refusal) and simultaneously file an amendment to cure the refusal grounds. Read more