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- Filing of trademark applications related to Home Meal Replacements increased-
As Home Meal Replacements (HMR*) get the spotlight as a means of replacing both home meals and dining out, filing of related trademark applications is increasing.
* Home Meal Replacement (HMR): Pre-cooked food sold to be easily prepared and eaten at home
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of filings of trademark applications related to HMR was only 5,037 cases in 2015. However, the number increased to 10,037 cases in 2019 (a 99.3% increase), and in the first half of 2020, the number reached 5,149 cases, an increase compared to the number in the same period in 2019, 5,025 cases.
* Annual number of trademark applications related to processed food (Class 29) (year-on-year growth rate): (2015) 5,037 cases → (2016) 7,906 cases (57.0%) → (2017) 7,653 cases (-3.2%) → (2018) 9,311 cases (21.7%) → (2019) 10,036 cases (7.8%)
This increase in trademark application filings was seemingly caused by growth of consumption trends towards HMR such as lifestyle changes (eating alone culture) and an increase in dining-in due to COVID-19.
While corporations filed 5,235 applications in 2019; a 78.9% higher rate than 2015 (2,911 cases), the filing rate for individuals increased 125.9% from 2,126 cases in 2015 to 4,802 cases in 2019, so the growth trend for individuals is much higher than that for corporations.
<Status of trademark application filings for processed food (Class 29)
by individuals/corporations (Unit: case and %)>
While foreigners filed 501 cases in 2019, a 35.8% higher rate than the 369 cases in 2015, the filing rate for locals increased 104.3% from the 4,668 cases in 2015 to 9,536 cases filed in 2019, so the growth trend for locals is much higher than that for foreigners.
<Status of trademark application filings related to processed food (Class 29)
by locals/foreigners (Unit: case and %)>
By type of local applications filed, individual filings increased 125.4% from 2,089 cases in 2015 to 4,708 cases in 2019, while small and medium-sized business filings increased 110.2% from 1,698 in 2015 to 3,569 cases in 2019. This shows that individuals and small and medium-sized businesses lead this increase of application filings rather than major companies or mid-sized businesses.
< Status of trademark application filings related to processed food
by type of applicant (Class 29) (Unit: case and %)>
However, in the case of the first half 2020, the rate of increase for application filings by individuals and corporations is somewhat slow compared to the same period of last year due to COVID-19
The Director of Trademark and Design Examination of KIPO remarked, “Such increase of trademark application filings related to HMR reflects changes to eating culture and an increase in eating-in”, and also mentioned, “According to the increased demand for products which help with preparing food easily at home without having to go outside for food due to COVID-19, filing for trademarks is analyzed to be one brand strategy for individuals and corporations who produce HMR and hope to differentiate their products from others”.