Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Korea has shown a remarkable increase in the number of international patent applications filed this year. (Korean Intellectual Property Office)

By Lee Kyoung Mi and Yoon Sojung

Korea in this year's first half showed the world's second-highest increase in the number of international patent applications filed.

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) on Sept. 14 said 8,867 domestic companies filed such applications with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in the first half of this year, making the country fifth in the world. The figure is a 10.3% jump from the same period last year and the world's second-highest increase after China's.

Under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), if a patent application is submitted to a PCT member country's patent office, it has the same effect as that submitted to any of the treaty's 153 member nations.

By country, China in the first half showed the highest increase of 19.8%, while the U.S. recorded a 4.7% rise. Both Korea and China showed a sharp rise in patent applications while Japan (minus 0.5%) and Germany (minus 2.4%) each saw a decline.

Since 2010, Korea has ranked fifth in the number of international patent applications filed. Considering Germany's latest decrease, Korea is likely to grab fourth at year's end to trail only the U.S., China and Japan.

A KIPO analysis found that Korea's steady increase in the number of such applications filed was thanks to domestic companies acquiring international patents to secure the foundation for penetrating overseas markets and aggressively protecting their patented technology or know-how. 

KIPO said in a news release, ''Those who secure overseas patents swiftly will determine the outcome of global competition over technological dominance in the post-COVID-19 era.''

''We will provide maximum support to Korean companies so that they can secure and effectively use international patents to actively enter and take the lead in overseas markets.''


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