There are two ways to protect your trademark in South Korea: the filing of a Korean Trademark Application to the KIPO (Korean Trademark office) or the designation of South Korea through the international trademark registration.
Shall be registered any symbol, character, diagram, three-dimensional shape, or any combination thereof. Protection includes also marks formed by a single color or combination of colors, holograms, motions and all types of visually recognizable marks.
Although the Trademark Act does not protect unregistered marks, it does provide protection of well-known or famous marks by restricting the registration of an identical or similar mark.
After the filing, applications are examined and if the Examiner finds some obstacles to the registration, a provisional refusal is issued. The applicant may file a reply to the provisional refusal.
In the event no office action is issued by the Korean Trademark Office, or if the Examiner decides the rejection has been overcome by the applicant’s response, the application is published.
From the date of publication any person may file an opposition within two months (non-extendable).
If no opposition is filed or if the same is overcome, the Examiner issues the decision to register the trademark. After payment of the registration fee, the trademark is registered.
A registration is valid for ten years starting from the date of registration and can be renewed indefinitely, each time for ten years.
A trademark will be subject to cancellation if not used for three or more consecutive years after its registration.