1. KIPO supports competition to secure a standard patent of the next generation mobile communication.
-KIPO and Korea Telecommunications Technology Association (KTTA) made a business agreement to share standard technology documentation, etc., in the information and communication area.
KIPO announced an agreement with KTTA in the head office of KTTA, to improve IP and international standard competitiveness in the information and communication area.
As competition for technology hegemony has intensified, the two organizations positively cooperate such that a Korean company can lead an international standardization and take the lead in the competition to secure a standard patent.
In the future, KIPO provides KTTA with the standard technology document information of the mobile communication standardization technology cooperation organization (3GPP, 3rd generation partnership project), which has been used for patent examination. Since 2013, KIPO has built a database by standardizing mixed file formats such than an examiner is able to easily search and use the 3GPP standard technology documents. The mobile communication standardization technology cooperation organization is in charge of WCDMA, LTE, 5G mobile communication standards.
Using the standard technology document information, KTTA builds a keyword-based integrated information system of the mobile communication standard technology cooperation organization (3GPP), so that many more companies are able to easily access to the 3GPP data and use them.
KIPO also supports education, meetings, etc., to improve a KTTA’s member company’s awareness of IP.
KTTA plans to provide the latest technology information and education for an examiner, so that KIPO is able to maintain the best examination quality.
2. Public and private unite for accurate patent examination to support a semiconductor
- KIPO starts a patent examination quality advisory committee consisting of public and private experts.
On July 1, 2022, KIPO held the first meeting of the patent examination quality advisory committee of public and private experts, for a rapid and accurate patent examination.
This meeting was an opportunity where the KIPO commissioner who just took office and who from the private sector met patent examination experts from industry-university-research and patent attorney circles, to discuss the recent patent examination trends and policy directions to strengthen the examination expertise and to improve the examination quality, etc.
Major matters of discussion were related to the ► plan to strengthen examiner expertise, such as an improvement of an examiner’s work environment, ▲ amendments to the Korean Patent Act to protect a digital new technology, and ▲ introduction of major policies which have been conducted up to now, including the survey on external customers in 2021. In this meeting, the opinions to improve these were presented.
This meeting was especially called to collect the experts’ opinions on the review of the previous patent examination quality index limit of measuring only some indexes, such as the patent invalidation percentage, and a plan to improve a previous index to be a quality index which is directly evaluated by an actual customer who is an applicant of a patent application.
Recently, as companies’ intangible asset value and patent use such that the IP financial scale increased over 6 trillion Korea Won have increased, rapid and accurate patent examination has become important. However, a concern has grown about delays in the patent examination process period and a deterioration in the examination quality due to a rapid increase in the number of patent applications.
In this regard, KIPO will listen to private’s opinions through the patent examination quality advisory committee and reflect the private’s excellent ideas in the patent examination policy, to provide an examination service focused on the applicants.
3. A report and consultation on IP infringement are solved at once.
-KIPO launches an integrated (one stop) report and consultation center of IP infringement
On July 4, 2022, KIPO announced that it has opened the integrated (one stop) report and consultation center of IP infringement to rapidly and accurately solve complaints.
In the meantime, although the number of reports on various IP infringement cases on patents, trademarks (counterfeits), designs, trade secrets and unfair competition acts, etc. increased, since the windows to receive complaints were scattered in different departments (such as the KIPO staff in charge, the KIPO IP customer center, the special judicial police), it was difficult to access to a desired consultation window at once.
Further, since the KIPO staff in charge performed a report reception service, a person in charge of complaints frequently changed according to the former staff’s personnel transfer or assigned service change and therefore there was a limit making it impossible to accumulate the counseling expertise.
As a part of proactive administration to solve the public’s inconvenience, KIPO carried forward forming the consultation center and selected the Korea Intellectual Property Protection Agency (KIPPA) as the entity to operate the consultation center and designated 4 staff exclusively responsible for the relevant work, thereby systematically supporting professional consultation.
Through the preparation of 5 months to build the relevant system and hire the staff in charge, etc., KIPPA started the consultation and report receipt services from July 2022.
4. The number of trademark applications has sharply increased in line with the popularization of health functional food.
-The number of the relevant trademark applications has greatly increased by small and medium companies, and the individual applicants thereof has been changing with the younger generation.
The increase in the number of trademark applications for the health functional food represented by red ginseng, vitamins, probiotics, omega-3, etc. is strong. Health functional food means products made through certain procedures according to the ‘law relating to health functional food’ and it is indicated with the certification mark, “health function food”.
According to KIPO, the number of the health functional food-related trademark applications sharply increased from 2,105 in 2017 to 7,145 in 2021, with a big increase of 239% over the 5 years. Also, the number of the health functional food-related trademark applications increased passing over 10 times in comparison to a 20.9% growth of the health functional good market scale for the same period.
Such an increase is due to the health functional food market, which has grown through an increased interest in health due to the wellbeing trend and through the craze for the age of 100 as an aging population has gradually increased, has further expanded the consumer segment, based on an expanded interest of the MZ generation focusing on self-care and an influence of the pandemic of COVID-19.
The pandemic of COVID-19 is confirmed as increasing especially the number of the health function food-related trademark applications, and the recent increase in the number of the trademark applications filed by the MG generation is notable.
The number of trademark applications filed in 2020 when the pandemic of COVID-19 started was 6,578, showing an increase of 40.9% compared to 4,670 in 2019. This was an increase range which is higher by 5% or more than 35.7% which is an annual average increase over 5 years starting from 2017.
In addition, the number of the trademark applications filed for 5 years (2017~2021) by those born in 1980~1990, called the MZ generation, rapidly increased by an annual average of 64%; whereas the number of the applications filed by those born in 1960~1970 increased by an annual average of 34%. This is just an example showing that the younger generation has changed as a leading force in filing trademark applications.
Upon reviewing a total of 7,145 trademark applications filed in 2021 by an applicant, 3,563 applications (49.9%) were field by small and medium companies and 1,959 (27.4%) were filed by Korean individuals. From the view of an annual average (2017~2021), the number of the trademark application filed by small and medium companies increased by 47.6% and that filed by individuals increased by 41.8%. This shows that small and medium companies and individual businesspeople have led the trademark applications in the health functional good area.