KIPO – 2017 Statistical Overview


The total preliminary number of IPR applications, including patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks, submitted to KIPO in 2017 amounted to 442,670, a 2.0% decrease from 2016. In 2017, patent applications totaled 204,775, showing a 2.0% decrease. Utility model applications decreased 12.3% since 2016, totaling 6,811. Design applications decreased 3.4% for a total of 62,528 and trademark applications for 2017 totaled 168,556, a 1.1% decline rate compared to 2016.

Volatility caused by the financial crisis lowered the number of patent applications by 4.2% in 2009, but this was soon rectified in 2010 with a 4.0% increase which kicked off an upward trend that has since continued unabated. Patent applications stood at around 200 in 1949, before jumping to around 5,000 in 1980, and 100,000 in 2000. This number has more than doubled to over 200,000 throughout the past 17 years.

There were 45,680 foreign applications, accounting for 22.3% of the total number of patent applications. The greatest number of patent applications (15,043) was from Japan, which was a 1.8% increase from 2016. This was followed by the United States (13,438, a 1.5% decrease from 2016), Germany (4,012), China (3,015, a 6.5% increase from 2016), and France(1,746).


The total number of registrations for intellectual property rights in 2017 reached 289,652, a 1.0% increase from 2016.

A breakdown of IP rights shows that: patent registrations reached 120,662, a 10.8% increase rate from 2016; utility models increased by 4.8% to 2,993; and trademark registrations decreased by 2.2%, totaling 116,704. Further, designs decreased by 11.4% to 49,293.


In 2017, the number of trial requests decreased by 11.6% from 11,960 to 10,566. A look at IP statistics shows that: patents decreased by 16.2% to total 5,689; utility models decreased by 21.5% to total 240; trademarks decreased by 2.9% for a total of 4,216; and designs decreased by 17.8% to total 421.


The number of international applications filed under the PCT by Korean applicants has experienced a steady annual increase primarily due to a clearer understanding of the advantages of the PCT system, increased awareness as to the importance of IPRs, and continued efforts toward the consolidation of international patent rights.

PCT international search reports and international preliminary examinations

The number of PCT international search reports by KIPO totaled 25,955 in 2017, this was a 7.8% decrease from 2016 which was 28,176. The number of international preliminary examinations undertaken by KIPO in 2017 was 169, a decrease of 19.1% in 2016. The numbers have continuously decreased over the past few years due to the PCT regulation amendments in 2002, which extended the time taken to enter the designated states from 20 months to 30 months, even if international preliminary examination was not requested.

This trend is partly due to the International Searching Authorities reviewing the patentability of applications since 2004.


The number of Madrid international applications submitted by foreigners that designate Korea as the office of origin reached 14,131 in 2017, a 25.5% increase from 11,259 in 2016.


As a result of Korea joining the Hague Agreement, in 2017, we oversaw a total of 133 international trademark applications as the office of origin, and 925 international applications as the designated office.