Korea will become an official full member in the hitherto Trilateral Trademark Meeting held between the trademark offices of the United States, Europe and Japan. This is in line with the outcome of the mid-term meeting between the three offices held last May 18th in San Francisco, California. KIPO will start to become an official full member during the 10th trademark meeting in December and will be joining the global cooperative projects in the area of trademarks.
With the third highest number of trademark applications* in the world after China and the United States, Korea will join the G4 trademark framework of cooperation to play a leading role in international trademark norms and standards.
In particular, Korea has participated in the five major IP Offices (IP5) meeting for patents since 2008 and consolidated its leading status in international intellectual property by joining the meeting for trademarks.
Since 2009, KIPO had requested support to become and official full member of the three trademark offices. As a result, Korea participated as an observer and was able to introduce its strengths and achievements at the Ninth Trilateral Trademark Meeting held in December 2010. Furthermore, KIPO conducted a meeting of trademark experts with the OHIM (Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market) EU Patent Office and the Japan Patent Office in March and April this year respectively. KIPO also officiated separate meetings with the three offices and presented KIPO's capacity and areas for possible cooperation right before the decision on its membership during the mid-term meeting.
As an official full member of the meeting for trademarks, KIPO will get to pursue the mutual recognition of a common list of products, the building of a common database of registered trademarks, the electronic exchange of documents claiming right of priority, and the launch of cooperative projects to develop common statistical indexes. These projects are expected to largely raise the convenience of trademark applications between member countries and to smooth out the development of policies for trademark examination and mutual cooperation.
In addition, the members of the interim meeting decided to include Korea's traditional food names in the list of common trademarks of the three offices. This will prevent the monopolization by a third party on our traditional food names such as bibimbap and tteokbokki, which have recently become popular globally, while greatly contributing to the globalization of Korean food.
Commissioner Lee Soo-won of KIPO said, “I believe our participation in the G4 trademark meeting and in meeting of the five major IP offices (IP5) were made possible through the even growth in various areas of our intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, and designs.”
* China 809 applications, United States 267 applications, Korea 134 application, Japan 111 applications (as of 2009)