The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO, Commissioner Soo-won Lee) will begin efforts to reduce the number of stored marks not intended for actual use. This is in response to a number of applicants registering unused trademarks which limits the scope of trademark selection as well as a tremendous expansion of the trademark DB which has delayed the examination process of applications for trademark registration. To address these issues, KIPO plans to charge additional fees for trademark applications and check the intended use of the trademark.
Trademark examiners will now inquire about the applicant’s intention or will to use a trademark if there is any reasonable doubt the applicant will not likely use the trademark. In return, the applicant will be required to submit documents certifying that they are preparing to use or already using the trademark, thus proving their will to use the trademark.
The following are examples of cases in which an examiner will need to check an applicant’s will to use a trademark: when an applicant is legally limited from performing a certain service business; when an applicant has over five designated goods or service businesses for each class; and when an individual has designated a service business requiring large capital or facilities.
KIPO Director General Jun-seok Lee of the Trademark and Design Examination Bureau said, “These measures will reduce the harmful consequences of stored marks and protect real users of trademarks while providing the opportunity to manage the fair use of trademarks.”