KIPO launches online product specification search service

South Korea

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has launched an online search service to help trademark applicants designate the products for which they seek registration.

Trademark applicants previously experienced difficulties designating products due to the continued emergence of new products and the lack of unified product names. Trademark examiners and trial judges also had problems locating certain products on the Internet or in the Product Encyclopaedia published last year. The encyclopaedia identified 5,000 of the 7,070 products listed in the enforcement regulations of the Korean Trademark Act - widely known goods were excluded.

As part of efforts to respond to the internationalization of trademark applications, the new service provides the product name in English, an explanation of its usage and function, as well as photographs. (An English translation of products' use/function is not currently available.) The service is free and can be accessed from KIPO's homepage in Korean by inputting the relevant product names.

KIPO intends to expand its online search service by providing 'specification of services' as well as leaflets providing specifications for goods and services already filed and for those newly emerging but not yet included in the Trademark Act's enforcement regulations.

Other online services developed by KIPO to automate IP-related administration include the trademark application system, launched in 1999, and the Trademark Gazette search service, in place since April 2001.

Yoon Bae Kim, Kims and Lees, Seoul

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