The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has revised the Trademark Examination Guidelines for non-traditional trademarks, such as three-dimensional (3D), sound, and color marks, in consideration of the increase in the registration of trade dresses as trademarks. The revised Trademark Examination Guidelines went into effect on January 1, 2021. The major changes are as follows:
1. Relaxed Requirements for Filing an Application for a 3D or Position Mark
There has been a recent trend in that the physical appearance of a business, for instance, the interior or exterior of a building, is viewed as a trademark. Therefore, in order to allow applicants to easily register the physical appearance of a business location as a trademark, the KIPO amended the guidelines to allow applicants to use solid lines (for the claimed part) and broken lines (for the disclaimed part) when depicting the interior or exterior of a building.
[ Examples of Registrations for 3D Shapes of Business Location ]
U.S. Reg. No. 4021593
U.S. Reg. No. 3956102
Retail store services featuring computers, etc.
Retail bakery shop, etc.
Furthermore, the KIPO relaxed the formality requirements relating to the minimum number of drawings to register a 3D or a position mark (from 2~5 drawings to 1~5 drawings), allowing applicants to file only one drawing for an application.
2. Color Mark Can be Registered as a Position Mark
Prior to the revision, only “a shape or a device that has acquired distinctiveness as a result of being used on a product in a specific position” was permitted to be registered as a position mark. Under the revised guidelines, however, “a color that has acquired distinctiveness as a result of being used on a product in a specific position” can also be registered as a position mark.
[ Examples of Registrations for Color Marks ]
Europe Reg. No. 1027747
U.S. Reg. No. 3361597
Moreover, in the past, applicants for a color mark were allowed to express colors based on Pantone color codes only, but applicants are now permitted to express colors using color codes from Hex, RAL, RGB, CMYK, and KS A 0062, in addition to Pantone.