Amendment to Korean Trademark Act for implementation of Korea-US FTA
In order to reflect the Korea-US FTA that was ratified on November 22, 2011, the Korean Trademark Act was amended accordingly, and the amendment to the Korean Trademark Act came into force on March 15, 2012, on the date on which the FTA became effective.

The major changes to the Trademark Act are summarized below.

1. Registration of Sound and Scent Marks
Under the amended Trademark Act, what can be heard and smelled and is not visible may also be protected as a trademark as long as it is capable of graphical representation (for example, Intel¡¯s sound effect or MGM¡¯s lion roar as a sound trademark, or a laser printer toner¡¯s lemon scent as a scent mark).

2. Registration of Certification Marks
Under the amended Trademark Act, marks certifying the characteristics of goods or services, such as, quality, country of origin, and production method, can be protected (for example, a mark that was granted for woolen products of a certain level of quality by the International Wool Secretariat).

3. Abolition of the Recordation Requirement of Exclusive License
Previously, in order for an exclusive licensee to use the registered trademark and to grant a sub-license to another party, an exclusive license had to be registered. With the amendment, however, it is possible for the trademark owner to grant an exclusive license of the trademark without recording the exclusive license in the Trademark Register.

Introduction of Statutory Damage System
With the newly introduced provisions, trademark owners are able to be compensated for damages against infringement of not more than 50,000,000 Korean won (equivalent to about USD 45,000) as well as compensation for actual damages.