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In the economic security era, a Korean technology leakage prevention plan is prepared.(News Letter No. 487)



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1. In the economic security era, a Korean technology leakage prevention plan is prepared.

◇ (Prevention) Intensive support is provided to prevent technology leaks with respect to the core industry including semiconductor, etc.
◇ (measures) Ministry collaboration is strengthened for rapid and efficient measures regarding technology leaks.
◇ (Base) Legal foundation is prepared to prevent technology leaks from reoccurring through an exemplary punishment.

An implementation plan of unfair competition prevention and trade secret protection was decided in a foreign economy ministers’ meeting (Seoul ↔ Sejong video conference) which was presided over by Kyungho CHOO, Deputy Prime Minister of Economy in KIPO’s government complex in Seoul.

Due to the US-China hegemonic competition and the situation in Ukraine, etc., the core technology, including semiconductors, etc. has emerged as essential strategic assets for national security beyond the industry perspective.

Accordingly, as each country’s competition has been intensive to secure technology, the number of attempts (such as key personnel scout, industrial spy, cyber hacking, etc.) to leak trade secrets to reduce a technical gap within a short period has increased.

In this regard, KIPO and the relevant authorities established 3 strategies (① prevention, ② establishment of response system, ③ preparation of protection basis) and 9 tasks as a comprehensive plant to protect a trade secret which is a core technical information.

The main content of this plan is as follows:

[Strategy 1] Prevention is strengthened to prevent a trade secret from being leaked.

① For large business partners and universities and institutes which are the weak links of technology leaks, a trade secret protection system is intensively supported.

KIPO and a collaborative organization of the core industry, such as semiconductor, display, etc., jointly intensively support the technology protection system of small and medium companies which are weak in protecting technology, and check the actual situation of a research security of a national R&D implementing agency and eliminate a security blind spot.

② Ecosystem is created to improve awareness of trade secret protection.

A trade secret respecting culture is created by making a mutual agreement for technology protection among big company-collaborate partner-government (KIPO) and holding a joint seminar with a major economic organization, and a technology protection education is provided to companies and universities.

③ A protection basis to prevent a technology leak in a foreign country is prepared by expanding legal support for a Korean company abroad.

[Strategy 2] All-round response capability regarding trade secret leak is improved.

① A rapid and efficient investigation system of a trade secret leak is established.

A ‘working-level consultative group’ between KIPO and a technology leak investigation and intelligence agency is formed to operate, and the range of criminal action which is subject to investigation of KIPO’s technical police is expanded.

② Response to dispute of a small/medium company which is weak in technology leak protection is supported.

Legal advice and digital forensics are supported to a victim company, and a dispute mediation is activated to enable a rapid dispute settlement.

③ A system advancement is carried forward to effectively settle a trade secret-related dispute

In judicial remedies for damages resulting from the leak, the burden of proof is eased, and the concentration of professional court jurisdiction to strengthen judicial expertise is reviewed by the relevant ministries to form a consensus.

[Strategy 3] A trade secret protection basis is built responding to a new environmental change.

① Support is strengthened to prevent the overseas turnover of key research personnel.

Expertise of a private retiree in the core technology, such as semiconductors, etc., is used, and a skilled technician is selected as a professor in the industrial site to provide technical advice to a small/medium company.

② A basis to prevent the overseas outflow of a trade secret is formed.

A result of patent analysis is used in identifying the institution holding a national core technology, and a system improvement is carried forward to prevent the overseas outflow of a trade secret or the systematic outflow thereof.

③ A trade secret protection plan is prepared according to the acceleration of digital transformation.

To strengthen the trade secret protection responding to digital transformation, public-private-academic jointly respond to a threat of new technology leak, and the protection of trade secret data is also strengthened.

[Prevention of Unfair Competition] An unfair competition act is eradicated to establish a fair competition order.

According to the enforcement of the revised law under which an act of misusing data and an act of using a celebrity portrait without permission are regulated as unfair competition acts, follow-up measures to settle the system are carried forward, such as an amendment to administration investigation manual, nationwide guideline production and distribution, etc.

2. KIPO detected 426 intellectual property false indications of convenience food.

-KIPO conducted intensive control as to intellectual property false indications of online sale of convenience food for 7 weeks from June.

On August 21, 2022 KIPO published that, to prevent consumer damages from convenience food due to the online shopping activation, it intensively controlled the intellectual property false indication on convenience food which was on online sale, for 7 weeks from June.

Convenience food means fully cooked or semi-prepared food which are manufactured, processed or packaged to be eaten without any special cooking step or through a simple cooking step.

In this crackdown, about 10,000 convenience food sale posts were checked with respect to the indication and advertisement status of intellectual property rights, such as patent, design, etc. As a result, 426 false indications were caught in 9 products.

Upon reviewing the types of false indications as caught, ▲244 cases indicated expired rights as valid rights, ▲135 indicated like the relevant food had a right even though it had no right since it had been rejected for registration, ▲29 wrongly indicated IP types, and ▲18 indicated the right which did not exist.

Therefore, it was confirmed that manufacturers launched and sold convenient food including a product indicated with an expired right, a product rejected for registration, and a product wrongly indicated as to a type of intellectual property.

The products as caught were ▲121 collagen ramens, ▲86 stewed braised silver cutlassfish meal kits, ▲83 large bowls of shellfish soup, ▲49 Jeju-bean raw natto, and ▲87 others. A number of intellectual property false indications was found in convenience food for a meal rather than a snack.

KIPO noted the correct intellectual property indication method as to 9 products and 426 false indication cases which were caught in this intensive crackdown and then guided to take a corrective action to correct or delete the false indication in the relevant products.

As a part of positive administration, KIPO will also provide an integrated system of IP false indication report center (www.ip-navi.or.kr) with the products correctly indicating intellectual property rights by the types of intellectual properties and will support to improve consumer’s understanding on intellectual properties, such as patents, designs, etc.

3. Danuri, the Korea pathfinder which is the 7th lunar orbiter, was launched and the Republic of Korea is 7th in ranking the number of patent applications for space technology.

- In the era of space economy, it is urgent to strengthen a private-led patent competitiveness.

Taking an opportunity of launching “Danuri” which is the first Korean lunar orbiter, KIPO did an in-depth analysis of major countries’ patent competitiveness in the space industry.

As the number of the relevant patent applications has rapidly increased worldwide, a struggle for patents in the space technology area has intensified, unlike in the past.

The number of previously filed worldwide applications (1990~2010) in this area increased by an annual average of 2%, however, the number of the relevant applications filed over the last 10 years (2011~2020) rapidly increased by an annual average of 13%.

1) The number of patent applications for space technology filed by the Republic of Korea ranked 7th in the world.

The powerful countries in the space technology (US, China, France among the others) are positive in securing patents and they actually ranked 1st to 3rd in the number of the relevant patent applications.

The Republic of Korea filed a total of 840 patent applications for space technology, occupying 4% to rank 4th (1990~2020). US ranked 1st, followed by China 2nd, France 3rd, Japan 4th, Russia 5th, Germany 6th and the Republic of Korea 7th.

Thereby, the Republic of Korea ranked 7th in the number of the space technology-related patent applications and became the 7th country to launch a lunar orbiter.

2) Although the number of patent applications filed by the Republic of Korea increased taking an opportunity of launching orbiter satellite, it was far less compared to the major countries and private company participation is also very low.

As the relevant technology has been accumulated through the continuous satellite launch including Naro (2009, 2013) and Nuri (2021, 2022), the number of the patent applications for the space technology has increased, however, since it is still under 70 cases per year, it is still insufficient compared to the major countries.

Most of these patent applications were filed by Korea Aerospace Research Institute and a very few were filed by private companies. In the leading countries, such as US, France, etc., private companies including Boeing, Airbus, etc. have led the technology development and the patent applications. From this point, it is urgent for a Korean private company to positively make an effort to secure a patent in the future.

Meanwhile, the number of the relevant patent applications filed by China which has been promoting space excavation rapidly increased by an annual average of 34 for the last 10 years, and China has intensively worked hard to secure the achievements of the technology development as a core patent. Therefore, the competition for technological supremacy in the future space industry is expected to become fiercer.

3) The Korean patent(s) relating to a satellite is relatively favorable but the patent(s) relating to a projectile is insufficient.

The space technology is classified as satellite technology and projectile technology. Since the Korea satellite technology occupied 5% of the relevant patent applications (1990~2020) to rank 5th in the world, it was relatively good. In the number of the satellite technology-related patent application, US ranked 1st (31%), followed by China 2nd (21%), France 3rd (19%), Japan 4th (15%), the Republic of Korea 5th (5%), Russia 6th (4%) and Germany 7th (4%).

However, since the Korea projectile technology occupied only 2% of the relevant patent applications and had a big gap with US, China, France, etc., it needs to prepare for an increase in the number of the relevant applications filed by the major countries. In the number of the projectile technology-related patent application, US ranked 1st (35%), followed by China 2nd (17%), France 3rd (17%), Russia 4th (13%), Japan 5th (9%), Germany 6th (5%), and the Republic of Korea 7th (2%).

The commissioner of KIPO said that in the era of space economy, not only technology development but also an effort to secure a core patent need to be a powerful country in space technology and especially, it is desperate for a private company to participate.

The commissioner also added that KIPO would provide a private sector with patent bigdata by core technology to enhance a private competitiveness in the space technology area and to discover a promising technology and KIPO would generously support being a leading country having an original technology from a space technology chasing country.


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