- Application for patents and trademarks increased by 8% and 7%, respectively -
Despite uncertain global economic conditions and financial crises throughout last year, Korean applications for intellectual property rights (IPRs) such as patents and trademarks increased last year, according to recent preliminary statistics.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO, Commissioner Ho-won Kim) gathered preliminary statistics on IPR applications from 2012 and found that the total number of applications for patents, trademarks, and industrial designs filed in 2012 increased by about 8% to 400,815 from 371,116 in 2011.
Although the uncertainty of the global economy is growing, companies remain committed to dominating new technologies and brands through future-oriented R&D investment, leading to an increase in Korean patent and trademark applications over the past year.
By type, applications for patents increased year-on-year by 7.6% to 192,575, utility models by 5.2% to 12,467, trademarks by 7.1% to 132,620, and industrial designs by 11.7% to 63,153.
From 2009, patent applications showed an increasing trend over the last three years surpassing the 170,000 level despite the financial crisis in 2010 and continued to reach 178,924 in 2011 and 192,575 in 2012.
By applicant, Korean conglomerates filed the most patent applications at 25.5% (49,167 applications), followed by small and midsized Korean businesses at 15.2% (29,187 applications), accounting for 40.7% of all patent applications in 2012. Foreign applicants filed 23.0% of the total patent applications (44,329 applications) in 2012.
More specifically, patent applications by conglomerates increased over the last three years and those by small and medium businesses dropped by 17.1% in 2011, but increased by 8.2% in 2012.
* Conglomerates: ’09 (41,824 applications, △16.1%), ’10 (45,658 applications, 9.2%), ’11 (47,409 applications, 3.8%), ’12 (49,167 applications, 3.7%)
* Small and medium businesses: ’09 (31,883 applications, 10.3%), ’10 (32,558 applications, 2.1%), ’11 (26,983 applications, △17.1%), ’12 (29,187 applications, 8.2%)
Samsung Electronics applied for the greatest number of patents (6,407 applications) among Korean companies, followed by Hyundai Motors (2,598 applications) and the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) (2,555 applications). Among foreign companies, Qualcomm (1,240 applications) topped the list, followed by Japan’s Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (653 applications), and Tokyo Electron (451 applications). By country, Japanese companies applied for the most patents (17,091 applications), followed by the United States (12,356 applications), Germany (4,083 applications), and France (1,993 applications).
Director-General Tae-keun Rhee of KIPO’s International Cooperation and Customer Support Bureau said, “National interest in IPRs like patents and trademarks is increasing in Korea because of the recent global patent war between Samsung and Apple.” He emphasized that “the more difficult the economic conditions are, the more important it is to expand investment in R&D to acquire key and original patents to prepare for the future.”