Intellectual Property Right Applications increased in the first half of this year despite Covid-19

Intellectual Property Right Applications increased

in the first half of this year despite Covid-19

-Remarkable increase in applications

in the contactless industry-


With the spread of the Covid-19 infectious disease around the world, negative economic growth in major developed countries, including Korea, is predicted. Meanwhile, applications for intellectual property rights (IPR) such as patents and trademarks are on the rise, showing a hopeful sign for economic recovery.


According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global economic growth rate is expected to be -4.9% this year due to blockade policies of individual countries in response to Covid-19 and the decrease in international trade volume, etc. In particular, negative growth is expected to be even more severe in major developed countries such as the US (-8.0%), the Eurozone (-10.2%), and Japan (-5.8%).


Korea's economic growth rate is forecast to be -2.1%, which is higher than that of other developed countries. However, since this is the lowest level in the 22 years since the financial crisis in 1998 (-5.1%), we also need to prepare various measures to defend against the recession.


Despite this negative outlook, the number of IPR* filings this year increased from last year, showing the potential for economic recovery and growth.

* Patents, utility models, trademarks, designs, etc. (excluding copyrights)


In the first half of 2020, the total of 253,027 IPR applications represented an increase of 4.5% compared to the same period last year, and patent rights and trademark rights increased by 2.1% and 9.4%, respectively, to lead this increase.

* First half growth rate: [patents] 99,336 cases, +2.1%, [utility models] 2,306 cases, -16.5%, [trademarks] 120,833 cases, +9.4%, [Designs] 30,522 cases, -3.3%


IPR Application Filing Trend by Year



Since Covid-19 spread in earnest in March, IPR application activity briefly declined, but applications for the whole of the first half recovered in June, with applications increasing 17.3% from the previous month and 20.7% from the same month last year.


IPR applications in the first half of 2020 compared to the same months of last year



It is analyzed that companies’ efforts to overcome Covid-19 through contactless technology and services have influenced this increase in the amount of IPR applications even in the midst of an economic crisis.


From January to June, patent applications in contactless-related areas, such as online shopping and delivery logistics, increased 27.2% compared to the first half of the previous year. On a monthly basis, the volume of such applications decreased by 15.8% in January from the same month of the previous year, followed by a double-digit increase in all remaining periods.


Status of Contactless Industry-Related Patent Applications



In looking at trademark and design rights, application performance in the contactless field is clearly revealed. In contactless areas such as e-commerce, telecommunications and broadcasting, trademark applications increased by 12.5% ​​compared to the first half of last year, an increase of 4,209 cases. Considering that the total number of trademark right filings increased during the corresponding period by 10,356 cases, it can be said that the contactless field contributed more than 40% to the increase in applications.


Status of Contactless Industry Related Trademark Applications



In the case of design rights, the total number of applications filed in the first half of 2020 fell 3.3% compared to the same period last year. However, in hygiene and medical field such as for masks or diagnostic booths, the number of applications increased by 238.3%, contributing to an increase of 42.6% for the overall contactless field.


Status of Contactless Industry Related Design Applications



A company's intellectual property activity represents its will to create new industries and secure competitive advantage. In addition, since recent IPR activity is centered on the contactless field, it can be confirmed that companies, etc. are already responding to the post-corona era in earnest.


In addition, the increase in the amount of IPR filings goes beyond a simple indicator and shows the possibility of an economic recovery in the near future.


Globally, a positive correlation between the amount of patent applications and GDP has been proven, and a clear positive correlation between the number of domestic patent applications and the size of GDP has been shown in Korea since the 1970s.


Correlation between Korean GDP and number of patent applications



Accordingly, the head of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) said, “Watt's steam engine patent and Edison's electric patent triggered the first and second industrial revolutions, respectively, and the rapid increase in computer-related patents in the United States since the 1960s led the third industrial revolution centered on knowledge and information. In this way, IPR have played an important role in reorganizing the market order at each inflection point of industrial growth.” He added, “As we face a new inflection point due to the spread of Covid-19, KIPO will mobilize all its capabilities and means so that the active efforts of companies to create IPR can be directly linked to overcoming the crisis and creating economic growth.”



[Source: KIPO]


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