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Sudden Increase in Filings of Sound Marks

Sudden Increase in Filings of Sound Marks

- Filings of sound marks increased approximately 7.3 times, from 6 cases in 2015 to 44 cases in 2019 -

The Korean Intellectual Property Office announced that the number of filings of sound marks, which can protect scales, rhythmic senses and buzzwords, etc. used in relation to broadcasting advertisements, etc. as intellectual property, increased 7.3 times, from 6 cases in 2015 to 44 cases in 2019.

Sound marks, composed of sounds representing a source of goods, were added to the range of a mark along with scent marks from March 2012 in accordance with the contents of the concluded Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

<Filing status of sound marks in the most recent 5 years>

The first sound mark filed in Korea was a sound file composed of three notes, mi, sol and do, making a jingle rhythm adopting three syllables of ‘chungjungone’, and was filed by Daesang Group on the date the system came into force (March 15, 2012).

In the United States, sound marks have been protected since 1947. For example, the ‘cap opening sound’ of Pepsi-Cola, the ‘lion crying sound’ of MGM and ‘a triple chord chime bells sound’ of NBC are well-known sound marks in Korea.

The chief of the Trademark and Design Examination Bureau mentioned, “If Korean corporations strengthen their unique identities by actively utilizing not only visual marks such as words and logos, etc. but also sound and scent marks, competitiveness will be secured domestically, and such will also be greatly helpful in the global marketplace.”

Meanwhile, a sound mark will be registrable if such mark is well-known to general consumers and is recognizable as an indicator of the source of certain person’s goods as a result of the corresponding sound mark being used continuously, and is also recognized as having distinctiveness by itself, for example by expressing certain distinctive words’ pronunciations into sound.

[Source: KIPO]

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