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On March 8, 2011, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced that the total number of registered patents in Korea exceeded 1million. More impressively, this milestone was reached in only 62 years, which is the shortest time ever recorded. In comparison, it took 75 years for the United States and 97 years for Japan to reach 1 million registered patents.
The KIPO stated that Korea is only the fourth countryto reach 1 million registered patents, following the U.S., Japan and Canada. Further, among the countries which have introduced and implemented a patent system, Korea is unique in that more than 2/3 of all patents (approximately 690,000) were registered in the last ten years (from 2001 to 2010).
The recent surge in the number of patent registrations is due largely to the technological advances made in the fields of information technology, namely, the commercialization of cellular phones, and semiconductors beginning in the late 1990s. Moreover, R&D investment in the field of information technology has increased by an annual average of at least 12% since 2000.
Many conglomerates in Korea, such as Samsung and LG, have recently changed their patent strategy, focusing more on quality over quantity, but the growth in number of registered patents in Korea is still expected to accelerate.