Augmented reality and virtual reality designs also protected
- Establishing a legal framework for protecting new technology designs for the development of digital and untact (contactless) industries -
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) made an announcement that they will revise the Design Protection Act to protect new technology image designs independently.
Under the current Design Protection Act, protection is possible only when an image design is expressed on a product, but image designs which are reflected to exterior walls or spaces cannot be registered as designs.
Recently, new kinds of design products grafted onto new technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), etc. are being released in this digital revolution era, and accordingly, the importance of design is getting higher in the global market place, and the industrial scale of new technology design is also growing.*
* According to Korea Institute of Design Promotion’s “Statistical Research for Industrial Design in 2019”, the economic value of design in 2018 was calculated as being 124.3 trillion won and the economic value of new technology design in 18 key industrial areas such as AR/VR and Internet of Things (IoT), etc. is calculated as being 17.2 trillion won (31.6% of the 56.9 trillion won, which is the economic value of design in the 18 industrial areas).
Also, as the U.S. and the EU reinforced protection against new technology design such as in relation to Graphic Design (GUI) and Icons, etc., it has become more important to protect new technology design in order to create new industries for domestic corporations and to target overseas markets.
Accordingly, the Design Act will be revised such that image design will be extended as a new protection target so as to protect image designs independently, and an act of online transmission of an image design or assigning or leasing it by using a recording medium (e.g., USB, CD) will be included as actions of using a design right.
Such revision to the Design Protection Act for protecting image designs is expected to be approved by the National Assembly in the first half year in 2021.
The director of the Trademark and Design Examination Bureau stated, “Considering the big vitalization of the untact and remote services market due to COVID-19 in the future, it is expected that growth of the industrial market related to image designs is going to accelerate.”