While South Korea suffered a drop in trademark filings as a result of the global economic crisis, some commentators have reported signs of improvement in recent months. Following ratification of a free trade agreement with the European Union in 2011, the country has agreed to recognise a number of European geographical indications. The agreement is also likely to open up the domestic marketplace to international firms (currently, foreign firms are not allowed to practise). Sources observe that in recent years local companies have also become increasingly willing to use the Madrid System. A handful of large commercial law firms and boutiques in the jurisdiction dominate the trademark sector.