Wednesday, January 3 2024   \  Published by JD Supra.

Trademark Practice in Korea is Changing - What US Companies Should Know and Consider

Trademark Practice in Korea is Changing - What US Companies Should Know and Consider

In October, 2023, Korea passed a new trademark law to add flexibility to its strict trademark registration requiring that later-filed marks need to be completely unique from existing senior marks. Under current trademark law in Korea, a later-filed mark that is similar to a senior mark already registered with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (“KIPO”) would be rejected for registration. Parties then have to resort to what is called the “assign back” system. The “assign back” system assigns the later-filed-similar-mark (“Similar Mark”) that is rejected by the KIPO to the existing senior mark owner. Then, the Similar Mark is re-assigned to the owner of the Similar Mark once the grounds for rejection due to similarity are overcome. In addition to its complications, the “assign back” system is inefficient in terms of cost and time for later applicants, existing senior mark owners, and the KIPO. The system is also inconsistent with the registration system in several other countries, including the United States and many European countries, which allow a Similar Mark to be registered upon the submission of a letter of consent issued by the owner of the senior mark. Read more

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