In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public is engrossed in securing intellectual property rights such as patents… a record high of 600,000 cases

Total intellectual property rights application trends such as patents and trademarks in 2021. Provided by the Patent Office

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it has been shown that Koreans are eager to secure intellectual property rights such as patents. In 2021, the number of applications for intellectual property rights, including patents, reached an all-time high of about 600,000.

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced on the 12th that the number of domestic intellectual property applications such as patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks totaled 592,615 in 2021, an increase of 6.3% from the previous year.

An official from the Korean Intellectual Property Office explained, “The average annual growth rate of intellectual property applications (7.7%) from 2020 to 2021, which continued during the COVID-19 crisis, greatly exceeded the average growth rate (3.6%) for the previous 10 years (2010-2019).”

By field, there were 285,821 trademarks, recording the largest increase, up 10.8% from the previous year. The number of patent applications was 237,998, an increase of 5.0% compared to the previous year.

When looking at the number of applicants for intellectual property rights, the number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and venture companies was 183,796, an increase of 11.0% compared to the previous year, showing the highest rate of increase. Universities and public research institutes increased by 6.1% and individuals by 4.3%, respectively. However, large companies decreased by 0.8%. An official from the Korean Intellectual Property Office said, “In particular, in the case of venture companies, 62,845 applications were filed, showing an increase rate of 19.8%, more than three times the overall average (6.3%). It is analyzed that the effort was put into securing intellectual property rights for this purpose.”

The increase in the number of patent applications by field was highest in artificial intelligence at 14.4%, followed by mobile shopping (13.9%) and video communication (9.5%). It is analyzed to be the cause of the acceleration of digital transformation in the COVID-19 pandemic situation. In addition, elevator and packaging machinery showed an increase of 7.9% and biotechnology showed an increase of 7.3%, respectively.

The increase in the number of trademark applications by field was found to be highest in digital broadcasting and communication (24.3%), software (SW) development/social networking service (23.9%), and camping equipment (22.9%). The increase in the number of trademark applications in finance (21.5%) and online shopping (19.4%) was also high.

Park Jong-joo, director of information and customer support at the Korean Intellectual Property Office, said, “It is analyzed that Korean economic actors did not shrink despite the pandemic and were actively engaged in start-up and commercialization activities such as acquiring technology through patents or applying for trademarks. Driving growth can be interpreted as showing that Korea’s intellectual property base is gradually getting stronger.”

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