The Bank of Korea announced on August 22 that South Korea’s intellectual property trade deficit reached an all-time low of US$600 million in the first half of this year. For reference, the deficit amounted to US$950 million in the first half of last year. That related to patent and utility model rights dropped from US$930 million to US$100 million during the period.
The decrease in the deficit is because both large corporations and smaller companies increased their intellectual property exports. Specifically, the former posted an intellectual property trade surplus of US$330 million in the first half, the first surplus since records began in 2010. The latter’s surplus, in the meantime, totaled US$670 million, second only to that for the first half of 2016 that totaled US$940 million.
Still, the red ink continued as foreign-invested companies increased intellectual property imports. In the first half of this year, the intellectual property trade deficit of small and medium-sized foreign-invested companies in South Korea amounted to US$1.44 billion and that of large foreign-invested corporations in the country reached US$140 million. By industry, the red ink added up to US$250 million and US$360 million in manufacturing and service, respectively.
The intellectual property trade deficit with the United States totaled US$1.64 billion whereas the surplus with China was US$1 billion. The surplus with Vietnam reached an all-time high of US$1.14 billion.