Last Year had the Highest Number of Intellectual Property Right Application Filings

Last Year had the Highest Number of Intellectual Property Right Application Filings

-About 557,000 cases, the highest ever, and a 9.1% rate of increase that is the highest since 2006-

-High growth in the digital economy, healthcare, and pharmaceutical sectors as well as for small and medium-sized enterprises-




Despite difficult economic conditions due to Covid-19 last year, the number of intellectual property right applications exceeded 557,000 cases annually, and this is the record for highest ever.



In particular, while applications from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) increased markedly, applications in the digital economy, medical, and pharmaceutical sectors also increased significantly.



According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) (Commissioner Kim Yong-rae), last year's patents, trademarks, designs and other intellectual property applications totaled 557,229, up 9.1% from the previous year.



This is the highest growth rate since 2006 and the highest number of applications ever filed. In addition, 62,065 applications were filed in December of last year, a 19.1% increase from the same month of the previous year, setting the monthly application volume record.



Regarding this trend, an official from KIPO said, “As seen in the past, IP applications have been directly linked to GDP growth. Despite the recent difficult Covid-19 situation, the number of applications has been increasing rapidly, and this provides a positive outlook for our economy.”



<GDP-Patent application correlation graph by year>


In terms of application trend by type of right, applications were filed in the order of 257,933 trademarks (a 16.4% increase), 231,740 patents* (a 3.3% increase), and 67,556 designs (a 3.9% increase).

* For the above chart and immediately below chart, patent applications include utility model applications.


In particular, trademark applications have recorded the highest growth rate in the last 20 years, surpassing the number of patent applications for the first time in the 36 years since 1985, and it is interpreted that this reflects the spread of awareness in society of brand value.



<Applications by right (cases)/increase rate (%) over the last 5 years>


<Applications by right (cases)/weight (%) in 2020 >


By type of applicant, the number of applications increased in the order of SMEs, individuals, university and public institutions, and large corporations. SMEs showed an increase of 17.8% in patent, trademark and design applications, leading all IPR applicant types. This is interpreted as being the result of SMEs' preemptive responses to changing times.


<Applications and growth rate by type of applicant>



Looking at the application trend by industry sector, a relatively higher rate of application growth was shown in the Covid-19 response and non-face-to-face technology fields. In the case of patents, e-commerce applications (10,407 cases) showed the highest growth rate at 8.4%, supporting the growing online transactions market* due to the spread of the digital economy.

* As of October 2020, the size of the domestic online transactions market was about 13 trillion won, an increase of 18.5% from the same period last year (11.0 trillion won). (Source: Statistics Korea Online Shopping Trend Survey)



In addition, applications in the fields of medical treatment (9,983 cases, 8.1%), medicine (4,380 cases, 4.8%) and bio (4,566 cases, 2.7%) have also increased, reflecting high interest in the medical and hygiene fields.



In design, applications for packaging products were most filed, and applications for household health and hygiene products (3,903 cases) recorded an exceptional increase of 125.9%.



As for trademarks, applications for medical devices (8,391 cases, 42.7%) and medicine (14,530 cases, 31.3%) classifications increased significantly. Along with the increase in personal broadcasting such as through YouTube, the broadcasting and communication industry (7,998 cases, 37.3%) and electronic audio and video equipment classifications (26,865 cases, 18.0%) also recorded high growth rates.



In addition, the rate of increase for service industry-related trademark applications was 12.6%, which is higher than for product-related applications, and it has been analyzed from this that a reorganization to a service industry-centric advanced country-type industrial structure is in progress.




[Source: KIPO]



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