IP Newsletter | Fall 2017
Korean Trademark Act's Guidelines for the Designation of Goods and Classification Recently Amended
One of the Trademark Act regulations, the Guidelines for the Designation of Goods and Classification ("Guidelines"), was amended on June 29, 2017, and the changes became effective on July 5, 2017. The Guidelines set out what designations of goods and services are acceptable to the Korean Intellectual Property Office ("KIPO").
Korea has adopted the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (the Eleventh Edition of which became effective January 1, 2017). In principle, KIPO examiners follow the general rules of the Nice Classification System, such as the class headings, explanatory notes and alphabetical list. However, not all goods and services designations in the alphabetical list of the Nice Classification have been included in the Guidelines.
With the recent amendments, the list of acceptable goods and services designations in the Guidelines has been significantly expanded. More than 4,000 goods and services designations have been newly added, some of which were adopted from the Nice Classification list, while others were adopted from the list of acceptable goods and services provided by the European Union Intellectual Property Office ("EUIPO").
The key changes to the Guidelines are as follows.
- 4,012 new goods and services have been introduced, particularly in Classes 5, 8, 10, 30, 38, 41, 42, etc., and the total number of the goods and services listed in the Guidelines is now 54,232.
- The following designations (which previously would have been deemed vague or too broad) are now acceptable in Korea.
Designation of goods and services Class
Pharmaceuticals 5
Pharmaceutical compositions 5
Implantable medicines 5
Snips [hand operated tools] 8
Foot massagers 10
Body massagers 10
Electrically operated massagers 10
Medical instruments 10
Flour 30
Data transmission and data broadcasting 38
Interactive broadcasting and communications services 38
Wireless transmission and broadcasting of television programs 38
Entertainment services 41
Training services provided via simulators 41
Instruction services 41
Teaching 41
Preparation of engineering reports 42
Engineering services for others 42
Engineering testing 42
Engineering feasibility studies 42
Engineering project management services 42
Engineering project studies 42
Technical supervision and inspection 42
Technical inspection services 42
Technical testing 42
Technical testing services 42
Technical engineering 42
Technical writing 42
Provision of surveys [technical] 42
Technical survey services 42
Research into new products 42
Of course, an applicant can register a mark for goods and services which are not clearly listed in the Guidelines, as long as the applicant can satisfactorily explain to the Examiner what the goods/services are and that they have been properly classified. However, as this can be very burdensome from the applicant's perspective, the expansion of the Guidelines' list of goods and services should make it substantially easier for applicants to obtain registrations for many goods and services, as well as registrations of a broader scope than before.
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