According to data released last August by the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), Samsung Electronics ranked first in U.S. design registrations last year, while LG Electronics ranked third in both design and trademark registrations. 

Design Registration Rankings in the U.S. 

When it came to design registrations in 2014, Samsung held the top spot with 836. Microsoft came in second with 329 registered designs, while LG ranked third with 307. Completing the top five was Nike (229) and Apple (190). Over the last three years, Samsung has remained the top U.S. design registrant, and LG has continually maintained a position among the top five. 

Trademark Registration Rankings in the U.S. 

In the realm of registered trademarks, Mattel, Inc. ranked first with 426. The second highest, at 186, was Disney Enterprises, while LG came in third with 156 registered trademarks. Rounding out the top five was The Proctor & Gamble Company (146) and Samsung (143). 

Over the past few years, LG has consistently remained among the top five U.S. trademark registrants. It came in fifth in 2011, third in 2012, and second in 2013. Samsung, on the other hand, ranked 37th in 2011, 32nd in 2012, and 34th in 2013. However, in 2014, Samsung broke into the top five by securing 143 registered trademarks—a 2.8-fold increase compared to the previous year. 

The increasing number of U.S. design and trademark registrations being secured by Korean companies suggests that these companies are becoming more and more competitive thanks to continued expansion of IP-related R&D investment in recent years. 

Korean companies seem to have realized that aggressive IP strategies are more effective than lengthy, expensive post-litigation responses such as the patent litigations and trademark disputes between Samsung and Apple. As part of a strategy to ward off such disputes, Korean companies are registering, in a timely manner, as many designs and trademarks in the U.S. as possible. 

Director General Choi Gyuwan of KIPO’s Trademark and Design Examination Bureau stated, “By keeping Korean companies informed of the latest developments in foreign IP systems, KIPO is helping them to register and protect their IP in overseas markets.