Trademark Applications Growing Due to Increase in Trade Volume with ‘New Southern Policy’ Countries
- Singapore leads in Korean applications while Vietnam leads in applications from Korea-
With the FTA agreement between Korean and ASEAN* was entered into in 2007, along with the resulting rapid increase in trade with ASEAN countries, there has been a great increase in the number of incoming and outgoing applications between Korea and the so-called “New Southern Countries”, which consists of ASEAN and India.
*ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations)
10 Countries Total: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia
* New Southern Policy Countries: ASEAN + India
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), while trade in relation to New Southern Policy countries has increased approximately 4.7 times over the approximately 10 years since 2008, it has been found that incoming trademark applications by the New Southern Policy countries in Korea, at 5,631 cases in total, have increased approximately 2 times from the 179 cases in 2008 to 786 cases in 2018.
As Korea’s outgoing trademark applications in New Southern Policy countries, at 46,970 cases in total, have increased approximately 5.4 times from the 1,666 cases in 2008 to 9,009 cases in 2018, this is to be over 8 times higher than the number of incoming cases from New Southern Policy countries filed in Korea.
In relation to incoming trademark applications from New Southern Policy countries in Korea, it was found that Singapore possessed about a half of the total by filing 2,502 cases, followed by Thailand’s 963 cases (17%), Malaysia’s 818 cases (15%), India’s 508 cases (9%), Indonesia’s 490 cases (8%) and Vietnam’s 173 cases (3%).
In relation to outgoing trademark applications from Korea in New Southern Policy countries, it was found that the number of Vietnamese applications was the highest as, in order, Vietnam received 12,550 cases in total (26.7%), Thailand 7,675 cases (16.3%), Malaysia 6,634 cases (14.1%) and Singapore received 6,484 cases (13.8%).
Analyzing filing trends by New Southern Policy countries, as the number of applications for agricultural products such as coffee, tea, fruit, etc. were the highest, at 1,004 cases (17.8% of the total), followed by cosmetics (6.4%), living & home appliances (6.3%) and clothes & shoes (4.6%), it can be seen that foodstuffs are more filed for than daily supplies or personal articles, and that wholesale and retail sales (7.7%) and food & accommodation services (5.9%) are the most filed for in services.
Also, looking at characteristics per country regarding designated goods of applications filed in Korea by New Southern Policy countries, besides the foodstuffs that each country files for the most, it was found that for Singapore, the most filed for was home appliances, while for Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia it was cosmetics, for Indonesia it was paper products, and particularly, for India, the most filed for was medicines.
As the population of the New Southern Policy countries is comprised of the 640 million people of ASEAN’s 10 countries and the 1.37 billion of India, this area is a huge market of over 2 billion people in total, and due to economic growth and the effect of Korean wave cultural content, etc., trade has been rapidly increasing. As most of these countries besides Singapore are developing countries, there have not yet been many trademark applications from them in Korea, but the numbers are steadily increasing. It is expected that exchanges with these countries will further invigorate a variety of cultural fields, etc. such as with the current Korean-Vietnamese culture exchange.
The Chief of the Trademark and Design Examination Department of KIPO advised, “Corporations entering New Southern Policy countries should pay particular attention to prevention and action in relation to intellectual property right infringements as well as to the securing of local trademark rights prior to trade because, as happens in China, there may be damages due to counterfeit products imitating Korean products.”
Meanwhile, in a conference between the Korean & ASEAN Patent Office Commissioners, the opportunity for which was provided by the Korean & ASEAN Special Summit Conference on the 25th of last month, a joint statement was agreed to in relation to creation of robust patents for a healthy intellectual property ecosystem, protection for respecting the value of intellectual property, and cooperation in applicable fields for promoting intellectual property commercialization. Based on such agreements, Korean corporations can further easily and speedily obtain patent rights in ASEAN countries, and protection of intellectual property rights of entered corporations is also anticipated to be strengthened.