The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) defines a trademark as “all sensible methods of expression used to distinguish one's goods from those of another”. Thus, for your trademark to be registered it is essential to be distinctive.
Conducting a trademark investigation is the best way to avoid choosing a wrong name that may lead you to trademark infringement issues and/or could lead you to rejection of your trademark registration.
After you file your trademark application, the KIPO will check conflicting prior filed and registered trademarks. Upon examination, your trademark will be rejected if the KIPO determines that your trademark is similar to an existing one or is likely to cause confusion to consumers.
To avoid this situation, it should be made sure even before starting to use a mark that your good names, slogans, symbols, etc are not already in use, and consider filing for registration at an early stage. Trademark searches and reports do that. A thorough trademark clearance search will help you identify and avoid names that may cause a “likelihood of confusion” due to similarity with other brand names, and minimize the possibility of rejection.
Conducting a trademark search can also detect potential trademark issues with competitors that are likely to occur in the future. Trademark infringement disputes may lead to lawsuits that will only bring harm to your brand and business.
You can perform a basic trademark search of prior filed and registered trademarks for free on the KIPO website (link).
Wondering if your trademark has chances for registration? At PI IP LAW we can conduct exhaustive trademark searches and provide clear results in report format for you. View more here.