Korea has now come in first place for the third year in a row in a specific category of the U.S. Chamber International IP Index rankings.
Korea topped 45 other countries in the category of "Trademarks, Related Rights and Limitations," part of the International IP Index announced on Feb. 13 by the Global Intellectual Property Center, part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and announced in Korea by the Korea Intellectual Property Office (KIPO).
Korea was the single winner in that category this year, unlike in past years where Korea tied at the top of the list with the U.S. or the U.K., as in 2014, or with the U.S. in 2015.
Of the seven indicators in that category, Korea received a total of 6.55 points out of 7, becoming the top country among the 45 countries reviewed. Korea received full marks in five sections, including "Terms of protection," "Limitations on use of brands," "Protection of well-known marks," "Frameworks against online sale of counterfeit goods" and "Exclusive rights, industrial design rights."
In its report, the Global Intellectual Property Center also mentioned areas where Korea needs to make improvements. The center pointed out that Korea should have in place laws and procedures that provide necessary causes of action to address violations of a trademark owner’s rights, and have in place exclusive rights rules that cover infringement of registered trademarks, unfair competition, false designation of origin or false advertising.
The International IP Index indicates a country’s capability in handling intellectual property rights and legal execution thereof. It provides information about the overall protection level and environment of intellectual property rights, and improvements being made. The assessment was conducted based on each target country’s 2016 legislation, guidelines and policies, research reports, precedents in legal circles and academic data.
According to the KIPO, one of the keys to Korea’s high marks three years in a row is the general revision in its Trademark Law that took effect in September last year.
Another factor that has helped Korea, it said, was Korea’s willingness to join the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, which took effect last year. This treaty is designed to simplify trademark-related procedures and to boost convenience for trademark registration applicants by conducting a regular monitoring of trademark brokers, managing a damage report center, and having in place a strict screening process against a bad-faith applicant’s trademark application.
Director General Choi Gyuwan of the KIPO's Trademark and Design Examination Bureau said, “Winning first place for three consecutive years means that Korea has the world’s top level trademark protection.”
“The KIPO will create an environment friendly for global intellectual property by setting up trademark protection policies and working to improve the system,” Choi said.