APAA e-Newsletter (Issue No. 26, December 2021)

KIPO’s Reward System Against Counterfeit Goods

John W. Chung, Y.P. Lee, Mock & Partners (Korea)


The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has been operating the Counterfeit-Report Reward System since 2006 in order to efficiently suppress distribution of counterfeit goods.  Under this system, rewards are offered to individuals or organizations who report manufacture or distribution of counterfeit goods.

The manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of counterfeits are all subject to reporting.  Reporters are required to identify themselves when reporting illegal activities, thereby ensuring reliability and cutting down on false reports.

The rewards range in value from 3,000,000 KRW (2,500 USD) to 10,000,000 KRW (8,500 USD), depending on the cost of the goods that have been counterfeited.  In 2020, an amount of 107 million KRW was awarded in a total of 89 cases.  Online sales accounted for the largest number of cases at 79 with an amount of 100 million KRW awarded.

KIPO also provided statistics of rewards for reporting counterfeit goods from 2015 to 2019 as shown in the table below.

There have been 1,644 cases submitted during the 14 years since the system was first introduced in 2006, with a total of 2.4 billion KRW awarded. The seized counterfeit goods were valued at 4 trillion KRW when matched to the retail prices of the genuine goods.

By encouraging a voluntary report of counterfeit goods and counterfeiting activities, investigation authorities may crack down on crime of counterfeiting more smoothly.  It is also possible to raise the general awareness of the harmful effects of counterfeit goods.