The Bank of Korea announced on March 24 that South Korea’s intellectual property trade deficit increased by US$190 million to US$800 million last year as local game companies’ franchise and computer program exports decreased and non-large companies’ imports increased in relation to patents, utility models and computer programs.
The intellectual property trade balance records began in 2010, when the deficit was US$6.7 billion. The deficit has decreased since the next year and the balance showed its first half-yearly surplus in the second half of 2019.
Last year, the deficit related to patent and utility model rights increased from US$1.65 billion to US$1.89 billion as large companies as well as smaller companies invested by foreigners increased their patent and utility model imports. The trademark and franchise surplus fell from US$300 million to negative US$170 million in 2019 with local game companies’ franchise exports on the decline.
Meanwhile, the copyright trade deficit related to culture and arts decreased from US$210 million to an all-time low of US$180 million. This is because local entertainment companies’ music and video copyright exports increased based on the popularity of artists such as BTS.