Popular Broadcast Programs Filing Trademark Applications in Advance
-Areas of business are being expanded by the securing of trademark rights for popular entertainment and drama titles-
Recently, there has been an increase in the number of trademark application filings related to TV broadcasting programs such as popular entertainment programs and dramas.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced that the number of trademark applications related to broadcasting programs, which involved only 194 cases in 2015, has now more than tripled to the 647 cases filed last year.
The number of trademark applications by year from broadcast-related operators increased significantly from 194 cases filed in 2015 to 301 cases in 2016 (55.1%), 445 cases in 2017 (47.8%) and 653 cases in 2018 (46.7%), and although some decline was seen in 2019 with 647 cases (-0.9%), the overall volume of such applications is still being maintained.
<Status of trademark applications from broadcasting industry operators>
What is particularly unusual is that broadcasters are filing trademark applications for their entertainment and drama-related broadcast program titles even before they are broadcast on television. The drama 'Itaewon Class', which recorded a 16.5% viewership share in March, was filed as a trademark application for 'Danbam Pocha' even 6 months before its first broadcast, and the drama 'Good Doctor Life', which recently ended after reaching a 14.1% viewership share, also was filed as a trademark application one month before it broadcast.
This increase in trademark applications related to the broadcasting business seems to be due to recent growth in the importance of trademark rights. Primarily, early obtaining of a trademark right is done from the program planning stage to prevent others from preoccupying the trademark right as well as to block in advance applications from those who would seek to benefit from familiar names of popular programs by free riding. In addition, such early right securing seems to be necessary for the expansion of local broadcasting companies into the global marketplace as part of the Korean Wave.
The Chief of the Trademark Design Examination Bureau of KIPO said, "There are cases where a third party has filed a trademark application for a broadcast program that is widely known to the public" and added, “It is accordingly necessary to obtain a trademark right in advance for use not only in Korea but also in the global marketplace prior to broadcasting by filing a trademark application for the broadcasting program title”.