KIPO's Activity

• IPR applications

The total preliminary number of IPR applications, including patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks, submitted to KIPO in 2016 amounted to 463,862; this was a 2.9% decrease from 2015. In 2016, patent applications totaled 208,830, showing a 2.3% decrease since 2015. Utility model applications decreased 5.2% since 2015, totaling 7,767, and this was the highest decline rate among all IPRs. Design applications decreased 3.4% for a total of 65,659 and trademart applications for 2016 totaled 181,606, a 2.1% decrease from 2015.

 

Volatility caused by the financial crisis lowered the number of patent applications by 4.2% in 2009, but this was soon rectified in 2010 by a 4.0% increase which kicked off an upward trend that has since continued unabated. Patent applications stood at around 200 in 1949, before jumping to around 5,000 in 1980, and 100,000 in 2000. This number has more than doubled to over 200,000 throughout the past 16 years.

< Industrial property applications by type >

IPR Type 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Patents 163,523 170,101 178,924 188,915 204,589 210,292 213,694 208,830
Utility
Models
17,144 13,661 11,854 12,424 10,968 9,184 8,711 7,767
Subtotal 180,667 183,762 190,778 201,339 215,557 219,476 222,405 216,597
Industrial
designs
57,903
(59,537)
57,187
(59,204)
56,524
(58,571)
63,135
(65,469)
66,940
(70,054)
64,345
(67,586)
67,954
(72,190)
65,659
(69,325)
Trademarks 126,420
(162,682)
121,125
(153,179)
123,814
(150,977)
132,522
(160,447)
147,667
(177,685)
150,226
(183,815)
185,443
(239,334)
181,606
(227,762)
Total 364,990
(402,886)
362,074
(396,145)
371,116
(400,326)
396,996
(427,255)
430,164
(463,296)
434,047
(470,877)
475,802
(533,929)
463,862
(513,684)

* Figures in parentheses include multiple applications.

[ Source: KIPO Intellectual property Right Statistics, April 2018 ]

• The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) & Madrid System

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) statistics in March 2018, the number of global international applications filed under the PCT amounted to 243,500, representing a 4.5% increase in comparison to 2016. Korea experienced a 1.3% increase in PCT applications (from 15,555 in 2016 to 15,763 in 2017) which accounted for 6.5% of all PCT applications and was the 5th largest amount by country of origin. The number of international applications filed under the PCT by Korean applicants has experienced a steady annual increase and this can be seen as primarily due to a clearer understanding of the advantages of the PCT system, rising awareness as to the importance of IPRs, and continued efforts toward the consolidation of international patent rights.

< PCT international applications: top 5 origins >

Rank Country 2015 2016 2017 Share 2017(%) Change from 2016(%)
1 USA 57,131 56,594 56,624 23.3% 0.1
2 China 29,838 43,091 48,882 20.1% 13.4
3 Japan 44,053 45,209 48,208 19.8% 6.6
4 Germany 18,004 18,307 18,982 7.8% 3.7
5 Republic of Korea 14,564 15,555 15,763 6.5% 1.3
Total 217,233 232,913 243,500 - 4.5

* Note : Data for 2017 are WIPO estimates

[source : WIPO Statistics Database, March 2018 ]

• Maintaining the fast examination pendency

In 2016, KIPO¡¯s first office action pendency was maintained at a similar level compared to other advanced countries while policy focus remained on examination quality. In line with the goal to maintain the current first office action pendency, the annual average first office action pendency period in 2016 was recorded at 10.6 months for patent and utility model rights, 4.8 months for trademarks and 4.7 months for design rights.

< Average first action pendency >

IPR Type 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Patents & Utility Models 15.4 18.5 16.8 14.8 13.2 11.0 10.0 10.6
Designs 9 10 10 8.8 7.3 6.5 4.4 4.7
Trademarks 9.7 10.6 10 8.9 7.9 6.4 4.7 4.8

(month/ year)

• Outsourcing prior art searches

In 2016, a total of 86,811 cases of patent and utility models applications, which was 47.2% of all examination cases handled in 2016, were subject to prior art searches.

A total of 85,082 cases of trademark applications, which was 39.6% of all trademark applications submitted in 2016, and 30,061 cases of design applications, that is, 43.4% of all design applications submitted in 2016, were sent to independent agencies for prior trademark and design searches.

• International search reports and international preliminary examinations

The number of PCT international searches undertaken by KIPO totaled 28,176 in 2016, this was a 1.0% decrease from 2015 which was 28,468. The number of international preliminary examinations undertaken by KIPO in 2016 was 209, an increase of 0.5% from 208 in 2015. The numbers have continuously decreased over the past few years due to the PCT regulation amendments in 2002, which extended the time taken to enter the designated states from 20 months to 30 months, even if international preliminary examination had not been requested.

This trend is also partly due to International Searching Authorities reviewing the patentability of applications since 2004.

• Registrations

The total number of registrations for intellectual property rights in 2016 reached 286,586, a 6.9% increase from 274,423 in 2015.

A breakdown of IP rights shows that: patent registrations reached 108,875, a 6.4% increase from 2015; utility models decreased by 12.3% to 2,854; and designs increased by 1.9% to 55,602. Further, trademark registrations increased by 3.9%, totaling 119,255.

< Registrations by IPR type >

IPR Type 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Patents 56,732 68,843 94,720 113,467 127,330 129,786 101,873 108,875
Utility
Models
3,949 4,301 5,853 6,353 5,959 4,955 3,253 2,854
designs 32,091 33,697 42,185 46,146 47,308 54,010 54,551 55,602
Trademarks 53,155 53,136 71,255 77,903 100,094 99,791 114,746 119,255
Total 145,927 159,977 214,013 243,869 280,691 288,542 274,423 286,586

* Trademark registration renewals are excluded.

• Trials

The number of trial requests decreased by 14.5% to 11,960, from 13,986 in 2015.A look at IP statistics shows that: patents decreased by 25.4% to total 6,796, while utility models increased by 21.4% to total 306, trademarks increased by 4.8% for a total of 4,346, and designs increased by 7.3% to total 512.

< Requested trials and appeals by IPR type >

IPR Type 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Patents 10,561 9,270 9,664 10,039 8,111 7,335 9,112 6,796
Utility
Models
828 559 473 402 336 251 252 306
designs 663(677) 689(691) 438(439) 569(577) 454(476) 572 477 512
Trademarks 3,531
(5,058)
3,354
(4,668)
3,855
(5,307)
3,737
(5,201)
4,113
(5,583)
3,823 4,145 4,346
Total 15,583
(17,124)
13,872
(15,188)
14,430
(15,883)
14,747
(16,219)
13,014
(14,506)
11,981 13,986 11,960

* Figures in parentheses include multiple applications.