DAEJEON, Dec. 27 (Korea Bizwire) – The number of patent applications pertaining to electronic money have risen dramatically in the past few years, according to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO).
Last year, KIPO received 79 applications, an eightfold increase from 2013′s nine, and through October this year, 149 applications were registered.
Also referred to as e-money, electronic money is a payment method that can be used instead of cash or a credit card.
With the ongoing development of “fintech”, access to and use of e-money has become more convenient.
The recent expansion of the e-money market on smartphones has been identified as one of the factors driving the large number of patent applications.
Both the Bank of Korea and the Financial Supervisory Service have confirmed that the five major mobile payment services had registered a total of 10.1 trillion won in transactions as of August.
The number of patent applicants was evenly distributed, with 97, 96 and 73 applications submitted by SMEs, major corporations and individuals, respectively.
SMEs and individuals were responsible for only 33 combined applications last year, but tripled their numbers up to October this year (SME: 59, Individuals: 38). Eased regulations and lower costs thanks to improvements in technology are two likely causes for the massive increase.
Despite the comparable number of patent applications, major corporations outstripped the two in trademark registration, with 56 to a combined 32.
An official at the KIPO said that there is a need for trademarking as the e-money market will expand and grow more competitive while fintech continues to develop.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)