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The Trademark System in Korea

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  • The Trademark System in Korea
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[Concept of a trademark under the Trademark Act]
A trademark refers to all sensible methods of expression used to distinguish one's goods from those of another. However, since it is difficult to protect all such methods legally, the Trademark Act places limits on the protectable constituents of a trademark. Previously, these constituents were limited to a symbol, character, diagram, three-dimensional shape, or any combination thereof, as well as color combinations of the mark. On July 1, 2007, protection under the Trademark Act expanded to include a mark formed by a single color or a combination of colors, holograms, motions, and all types of visually recognizable marks.
[Information on trademark applications]
A single application for a single trademark
According to the Doctrine of a Single Application for a Single Trademark, an applicant shall file a single trademark application for each of the classes of goods he/she has designated as prescribed by an ordinance of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. The filing of two trademarks in one application is not permitted.
This doctrine is principally applied to an application for new trademark registration, an application for the additional registration of designated goods, and an application for renewal of the term of a trademark right.
Under the Trademark Act enacted in 1997, the "Principle of a Single Application for a Single Trademark" was abolished on March 1, 1998, while the "Principle of One Multiple Class Application for a Single Trademark" was implemented. As a result, an applicant must file an application for each trademark and designate both the trademark and service business in the application.
Designation to use a registered trademark
When an applicant files an application for trademark registration, he/she may designate a trademark and the goods using the trademark to be protected as one or multiple classes in accordance with the 'Classification of Goods' and the 'Notice of the Name and Classification of Goods as specified in Article 28 of the Enforcement Regulations of the Trademark Act. The Addendum of the Enforcement Regulations of the Trademark Act specifies 45 classifications of goods from the 1stto 45th class.
Additional application of designated articles
If the scope of a trademark needs to be expanded due to the situation after application or registration, the applicant or owner of the trademark rights may register the additional designated goods which adds new articles to the goods designated by the registered trademark or trademark application. As a result, the scope of the trademark rights will be extended to protect the owner of the rights.
Divisional application
If an applicant designates one or more goods on his/her application, the application can be divided into two or more applications for each good or classification of goods. In other words, a divisional application does not entail a division of the trademark, but a division of its designated goods.