Annual Technical Report 2009 on Trademark Information Activities submitted by Republic of Korea (CWS/ATR/TM/2009/KR)
Where URLs are requested below, it is preferred that either URLs which are likely to remain stable over time (three years or more) are provided, or home (main) page URLs are provided with a short explanation of how to access the corresponding information.
I. Evolution of registration activities
Changes experienced in terms of application filings and registrations with respect to the previous year
In 2009, compared with 2008 (when measured on a multiple class basis), the number of trademark applications was 162,682 representing an 8.7% decrease; while the number of registered trademarks was 53,155, representing a 19% decrease.
URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide statistics related to trademarks
II. Matters concerning the generation, reproduction, and distribution of secondary sources of trademark information, i.e., trademark gazettes
Publishing, printing, copying techniques
Since July 2001, PDF gazettes of registered trademarks have been made available on KIPO’s website and updated daily. In addition, XML-formatted gazettes on DVD-ROMs are distributed to 29 domestic and foreign organizations twice a month. The master DVD-ROMs of the publications are archived after the publications have been uploaded to the Internet. In 2009, 57,079 trademarks applications were disclosed in official gazettes.
Main types of announcements of the Office in the field of trademark information
Trademark-related information intended for the public (including applicants) from KIPO is usually announced at KIPO’s website. Other announcements include:
• Announcements about notifications that couldn’t be delivered due, for example, to an applicant changing his or her postal address without informing KIPO
• Advance notice on trademarks expiring due to the non-payment of fees
• Other notices, such as, changes in laws or fees
Internet gazette search service
Since July 2001, an Internet gazette search service has been made available through KIPO’s website . At the website, customers can refer to publications from the year 2006 to date in PDF format. In addition, they can register to receive notifications about their topics of interests through a push-mail service.
Word processing and office automation
With the launch of the KIPOnet system in 1999, almost all IPR administrative processes were computerized including the receiving, examining, and granting of applications as well as the publication of gazettes. In addition, the system facilitated the sending of examination results to applicants via email and SMS, publishing of official gazettes on the Internet, and handling most registration and opposition procedures online.
And then due to the KIPOnet II system (an upgrade to the original KIPOnet system), which was completed in 2005, KIPO started offering nonstop services, a work-at-home examination system, a real-time notification service as well as a public service for notifying applicants of when their applications would be examined.
Through the WEB-PASS, which was launched in November 2007, all types of IPR applications including trademarks can now be filed on the web through KIPO’s homepage. Moreover, in 2008, for the convenience of users, the WEB-PASS was configured to enable applicants to submit documents related to registration, trial or other intermediate processes online. In addition, KIPO started having automatic notifications mailed to applicants.
In 2009, we improved our e-filing portal so that individual users could more efficiently manage their trademark affairs. In addition, we developed a commercial MS-WORD-based editor to replace existing filing editors, and enhanced the fee payment system.
Techniques used for the generation of trademark information (printing, recording, photocomposing, etc.)
Digitization Center (Data Conversion Center)
In January 2001, KIPO began operating a Digitization/Data Conversion Center for digitizing paper-based trademark applications and intermediate documents such as amendments, written opinions, objections, registrations, trials and paper-based gazettes at both its Daejeon headquarters and its Seoul branch office.
The Center automatically receives applications, performs formality checks and data conversions on them. Delays and errors during the conversion process are avoided through the use of state-of-the-art technologies, such as, Multi OCR, dual key-inputs, automated verification of electronic data, and color-scanning technology for documents attached to applications.
In 2009, the Center digitized 83,652 documents, which were a combination of 777 different kinds of paper-based documents, including 10,196 trademark applications.
Data Management Center
Since May 2002, KIPO has been operating the Data Management Center to provide high-quality data services. The Center is responsible for generating data, processing it and fixing any errors found in it. In 2009, data analysis was conducted on the following:
• Database building: 414,000 domestic trademark data
• Data transfer: In order to improve on the availability and accuracy of public data, KIPO provided KIPI with 1.7 million raw trademark data. These are available to the public through a free online trademark information search service - KIPRIS.
• Media management system: Individual ID numbers were assigned to 4,066 media collected from foreign offices and entered into the system in 2009.
URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide access to online trademark gazettes and to other sources of trademark information, including download of bulk trademark data
III. Matters concerning classifying, reclassifying and indexing of trademark information
Classification and reclassification activities; Classification systems used, e.g., International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (Nice Classification), International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks (Vienna Classification), other classification (please indicate whether goods and services for the registration of marks and whether the figurative elements of marks are classified by your Office and, if so, which classification(s) is (are) used)
Classification of goods and services
For the classification of goods and services, KIPO started using the Nice Classification System in March 1998, and officially became a party to the Nice Agreement in January 1999. In pursuit of greater fairness and objectivity, we continue to revise the examination guidelines and publish a directory for classifying similar goods and services. In December 2004, we organized an internal study group to investigate the classification of trade and service marks, share information on classification systems, and improve our examiners’ skill set. Since 2007, we have been using the 9th edition of the Nice Classification System.
Classification of the figurative elements of marks
Although we started using the Vienna Classification in October 1999, we are yet to join the Vienna Agreement. In 2002, we developed an examination system that could handle the classification and examination of figurative elements of marks. To improve on the quality and consistency of classifications, we organized a separate team for classifying figures in 2002 and began to apply the 6th Vienna classification system in January 2008.
Bibliographic data and processing
KIPO uses the SGML and XML formats for its search system. Our examiners can perform full text searches of registered trademarks published as far back as 1950, including those rejected since 1989.
IV. Trademark manual search file establishment and upkeep
KIPO developed the Trademark Search System based on a database of bibliographical data, examined trademark images, registered and rejected applications. The system also contains referral information such as international pharmaceuticals, international place of origin, foreign trademarks, public marks, and geographical indicators.
All these data are classified according to the Nice Classification, the Vienna Classification, and the Similar Group Code depending on the type of trademark, letters, figures, and designated products. The data is periodically updated in a batch file for easier text and image searches. As at the end of 2009, we had 5.59 million data on trademarks.
Storage, including mass storage media
Depending on the importance and use of data, KIPOnet’s storage configuration is divided into two sections: a section for the IP administration system and a section for the search system. The IP administration system uses RAID 1 for its integrated database, imaging system and XML data, using 50% of the disk, while forming a business continuous volume that will facilitate quick daily data backups and recovery. On the other hand, the search system applies RAID 5 using 75% of the disk (the rest of the disk is used for parity) for large-sized images, search database, indexes, and representative drawings.
V. Activities in the field of computerized trademark search systems
In-house systems (online/offline)
Trademark Search System
The Trademark Search System enables KIPO’s examiners to search for domestic and international trademark information from designated offices under the Madrid Protocol. It provides bibliographic data, images, and SGML/XML data. The online searches can be conducted by the mark name, application number/date, or by the applicant’s name.
Without inputting a keyword, our examiners can view similar marks by the basic name of the mark through the intelligent search function of this system. They can also conduct step-by-step searches ranging from full-match searches to partial-match searches, as well as figurative and Japanese cross-match searches. The major improvements and additions to the Trademark Search System in 2009 are as follows:
• Search function by classification code of figurative images and their representative images
• Loading the data of the country (place) of origin in accordance with the Korea-EU FTA into the Trademark Search System and improvement of the search function
• Automatic classification as ‘Class 98 under the Korean national classification of the figurative elements of marks and preferential search function
• Similar query search using “transfer of examination memo” function
• Search function for 6Ter reference data
Administrative management systems (e.g., register, legal status, statistics and administrative support)
As at the end of 2009, the KIPOnet had about 43 subsystems, some of which are listed below. Each subsystem plays an important role in managing data produced during the various phases of the IPR administrative processes; for instance, dealing with issues that originate in the transfer of data from one phase to another, and streamlining search-related administration.
General Information Management Subsystem
The General Information Management Subsystem generates a variety of statistical and policy data on trademarks as well as patents, utility models, and designs by using a variety of information retained by KIPO’s databases. The system efficiently manages large volumes of data and provides end-users with various functions and tools.
Electronic Approval and Routing Subsystem
The Electronic Approval and Routing Subsystem enables the electronic approval of IPR and general administration processes. The system comprises of two major parts: an approval system for IPR examinations, introduced with the KIPOnet system in 1999; and an approval system for general administration, launched in June 2000. The approval system for general administration was upgraded in January 2004 and replaced with the Onnara System in January 2007. The Electronic Approval and Routing Subsystem is used for the following:
• Electronic approval: preparation, approval, dispatch, and receipt of electronic documents, management of a document box, and circulation of documents.
• Electronic mail: preparation, transmission, receipt, and management of emails.
• Electronic bulletin board: for the submission of posts and reviews
• Management and preservation of records.
The system has a pop-up window feature, which shows messages on the approval status of documents and could be used for managing individual schedules. The electronic approval system was used for 99.4% of all the documents approved in 2009.
In 2006, the Knowledge Management System launched in 2001 was renamed Knowledge Oasis (KOASIS). The KOASIS does not only represent a change in name, but also represents a significant upgrade to the previous version of the system. The system is dedicated to the efficient management of a variety of knowledge and information created by KIPO staff. It is for assisting them in their work, and enables them to discuss and share knowledge through the bulletin board of the KOASIS website. Furthermore, it offers a keyword search function for gleaning details of approved documents and allows them to utilize various management tools, such as, knowledge maps, knowledge warehouses, personalized portals, and cyber knowledge communities.
In addition, the system enables KIPO to share ideas and knowledge with 18 external R&D institutes including the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) through an online Q&A communication corner. Some high quality information posted on the KOASIS is available to the public through KIPO’s homepage and private search portals like Naver. Since November 2007, it has been linked to the Government’s Knowledge Management System for more extended information sharing between government agencies.
Equipment used (hardware, including the types of terminal and network used, and software), carriers used
As at the end of 2009, KIPOnet had 50 UNIX Enterprise servers, 66 NT servers, and 20 Linux servers. For higher availability, individual servers are clustered for the e-filing system, IP administration system, and search system and particularly between the Homepage Server and the Portal Server. In case of system failures, the cluster paired systems temporarily substitute for each other. The total storage capacity of the 26 servers including 18 SANs is 359 terabytes. The peripherals consist of 7 backup devices, 5 jukeboxes and 349 sets of network equipment. The improvements made in terms of hardware performance in 2009 are as follows:
• Increased and improved the servers, storage equipment, and SAN switch
• Replaced old legacy equipment including backup equipment
• Performed a thorough check-up on IT resources to prevent disaster. Also carried out availability tests on the cluster paired servers
• Conducted disaster recovery tests on the e-filing and search systems
• Installed a security patch for the server resources of the general administration system and the search system
• Set up a quality verification environment for the general administration system
In 2009, to enhance the KIPOnet system and its security, we separated the IP administration network from the government network and replaced old (outdated) network equipment. We also dualized communication lines and devices to the International Intellectual Property Training Institute (IIPTI) and increased the communication lines between KIPO and the Korea Post. For our fee payment service, we established an exclusive communication line with our bank and built intrusion detection systems to prevent hacking. Additional communication lines were introduced as follows:
• 2Mbps * 1 lines between KIPO Headquarters and the IIPTI
• 2Mbps * 1 line between KIPO Headquarters and the National Computing & Information Agency (NCIA)
• 10Mbps * 1 line between the KIPO Seoul Branch and the Central Government Complex
For databases, performance tests are regularly conducted with support from Oracle. In addition, we continuously upgrade the backup tools, middleware, and web servers to improve the KIPOnet system’s performance and functionality.
As at the end of 2009, about 199 commercial software applications were in use. The software applications can be grouped into three major groups and are mostly related to database and middleware. The major groups are:
• 184 perpetual licensed software including DBMS and web servers
• 7 subscription licensed software including V3
• 8 packaged software for KOASIS, web mail, messenger, performance management, electronic approval, six sigma, and etc.
VI. Administration of trademark information products and services available to the public (relating to facilities, e.g., for lodging applications, registering trademarks, assisting clients with search procedures, obtaining official publications and registry extracts)
Planning, administration, automation, security
The Information Policy Bureau organizes comprehensive services for the public by managing the IP Digital Library and the e-Filing Portal System, while other departments support customers according to their duties and responsibilities.
e-Filing Portal System
Since 2001, for the convenience of applicants, KIPO has served the public through the e-Filing Portal System implemented at KIPO’s website. This portal helps applicants to file all kinds of industrial property applications online with the applicant code and digital signature authorized by KIPO via the Internet. In addition, they can change their personal information on the website, pay their fees via Internet banking, and are informed of the legal status of their applications. They are also informed in advance of when their applications will be examined by e-mail and/or SMS. Furthermore, they can request and receive certificates, download electronic dossiers, such as priority certificates via the Internet, and check the status of their requests.
Besides, individual applicants can check the status of their applications through an HTML-based service titled “How is my application going?” and enterprises, universities, institutes and IP law firms through a SOAP-based web service. This e-Filing Portal System is linked to the WEB-PASS, which is a web-based e-filing system used for receiving all kinds of IPR applications. In 2008, the WEB-PASS service was extended to include intermediate, registration and trial documents. In 2009, its functions were enhanced to serve as an individual information management portal which enables users to have their own information boxes. It enables enterprise management of information and allows users to share knowledge through blogs.
IP Digital Library
The IP Digital Library located at KIPO’s headquarters supports its customers by enabling them to search for trademark information in a variety of formats including online, microfilm, and paper, as well as in the journals and magazines the Library has. They could also order copies of published trademark applications as filed.
Customer Service Center
To integrate scattered counseling resources and promptly provide technical advice, the Customer Service Center was established in March 2002. Its roles can be summarized as follows:
• Counseling: procedural and technical advice on (electronic) filing, examination, registration, trial, search and use of trademark information, and on the evaluation of disputes, such as IPR infringement
• Customer Relationship Management: customized information based on the record of past phone requests and opinions collected through customer satisfaction surveys for better policies and promotional events
• Outreach service: informs applicants in advance that their applications would be extinguished and suggests reasonable solutions
• Others: managing a quick response system that is available on the Internet
In terms of security, the digital signature of electronic documents is used based on a public key infrastructure for encryption and decoding. To protect customers’ computers from external attack, a lot of security equipment such as IDS, firewall, and VPN have been deployed. Unauthorized access to the main database is prohibited via database security tools. 24-7 Enterprise Security Management has been introduced for security equipments and servers. Also, a key logger security and a hacking-diagnostic system are used for protecting PCs against other risks, such as spy wares; and a single sign-on system has been implemented for tighter security in accordance with the standardized Directory Access Protocol.
The KIPOnet system won the ISO 27001 certification in 2006 in recognition of its highly secure web services for applicants, SecureOS for servers, individual information protection marks, and secure site mark. As a result, among government departments, KIPO consecutively won first prize in security assessment (from 2007 to 2009) and in private information protection (from 2008 to 2009).
Collection management, preservation
IP Digital Library
The IP Digital Library archives trademark documents, such as, bibliographic data, abstracts and full texts collected from seven countries and one international organization in a variety of media such as, paper, microform, and CD-ROM. The library also possesses 8,138 volumes of journals, magazines and books that were either donated or purchased.
Information services available to the public (including computerized services and search files contained in libraries remote from your Office and trademark information posted by your Office on the World Wide Web)
Korea Industrial Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS)
Korean domestic trademark information is available free-of-charge at KIPRIS website http://www.kipris.or.kr/kor/main/main.jsp. The service covers up-to-date information on the legal status of trademark applications, bibliographic data, and TIFF images dating back to 1950; as well as full text gazettes in CD/DVDs since 1998. In addition, diverse image viewers such as thumbnail, JPG, and PDF are offered. Registered members are allowed to download and print documents of interest. Moreover, a web service, so-called “KIPRISPlus” enables users to modify databases retrieved from the website to suite their needs and requirements.
The KIPRISMobile service was put in trial operation in 2008 and in full operation in 2009. The KIPRISMobile service is an authentication-free web service for trademark searches via mobile devices. Besides, in terms of its functions, the KIPRIS service offers a Korean to English (and vice versa) translation service, sorting function on search results, and popular search queries.
URLs of web pages of the Office's website for electronic filing of trademark applications
URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide information on business procedures such as: filing, publication, examination and registration procedures related to trademarks; opposition and appeal procedures related to trademarks; etc.
URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide a description of information products and services offered by the Office (e.g., trademark search service(s) and trademark databases), as well as information on how to access and utilize them
VII. Matters concerning mutual exchange of trademark documentation and information
International or regional cooperation in the exchange of trademark information, e.g., in the form of official gazettes
We regularly offer on DVDs, official trademark gazettes to 19 trademark offices, including the AT, CA, DE, FR, IT, JP, RU, US and the OHIM.
VIII. Matters concerning education and training, including technical assistance to developing countries (please indicate URLs of web pages of the Office’s website wherever appropriate)
Promotional activities (seminars, exhibitions, visits, advertising, etc.)
2009 Trademark-Design Exhibition (September 2009)
To raise public awareness of the importance of trademarks and designs as intellectual property rights, KIPO has been holding an annual trademark and design exhibition since 2006. The event for 2009 focused on successful management strategies for individual trademarks and designs to strengthen the competitiveness of interested enterprises. The exhibition covered the history of Korean brands and designs that were on display by theme in the 13 different exhibition rooms. Some of the rooms were for the Best Brand Contest Award, New trends in trademarks and designs, Original/Counterfeit Experience, Hit Brand, Major Brand/Design Rights Conflict Cases, Trademark and Design Counselor, and the Brand and Design Seminar.
Training courses for national and foreign participants
International Intellectual Property Training Institute
In 1987, the International Intellectual Property Training Institute (IIPTI) was established in Seoul as an affiliate of KIPO. It initially offered 11 IPR training courses and then moved, in February 1991, to the Daedeok Science Valley in Daejeon with the support of WIPO and the United Nations Development Programme.
In 2009, the IIPTI conducted 69 different courses in a total of 288 sessions and have always endeavored to cultivate IP professionals, mostly examiners and trial examiners of KIPO, new patent attorneys, IP managers of enterprises, and researchers at universities and research institutes. The IIPTI also facilitates international seminars and training courses in conjunction with WIPO and the Korea International Cooperation Agency; and customized training courses at the request of other countries, such as Malaysia and Vietnam, have been run.
IX. Other general information related to the Office that is available on the Internet -- URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that:
provide information on legislation related to trademarks
contain the Annual Report of the Office
contain trademark-related news regarding the Office