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South Korea’s trademark landscape is entering a new phase of productivity. Despite the challenges brought on by the covid-19 pandemic, trademark applications rose by 10.9% in 2020. Fast forward to the first quarter of 2021 and the country has witnessed a further uptick in local trademark filings – the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) recorded a 22.4% increase in applications from domestic applicants. On the regulatory front, a major *en banc* ruling from the Supreme Court has reformed proceedings substantially. Going forward, the first-to-file rule under the Korean Trademark Act forms the grounds for rejection and invalidation – the use of a later-registered trademark now constitutes infringement.
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