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KIPO supports the ‘IP-based research and development (IP-R&D) project for subsequent diagnosis’, to secure material, part and equipment technologies, such as semiconductors.(News Letter No. 494)



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1. KIPO supports the ‘IP-based research and development (IP-R&D) project for subsequent diagnosis’, to secure material, part and equipment technologies, such as semiconductors.

- KIPO, 22 small and medium companies and 8 universities and public institutions support the IP-R&D project.

KIPO announced to support the ‘IP-R&D project’ to strengthen competitiveness and to secure excellent patents in materials, parts and equipment, such as semiconductors.

For the IP-R&D support project, the worldwide IP information is analyzed at the beginning stage of R&D, ① to set the optimal R&D directions to solve a company’s current issue, ② to overcome an overseas barrier patent, and ③ to support an IP strategy, such as preoccupying a promising patent in a blank area of patent technology.

Since 2019, KIPO has fully applied the IP-R&D to the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Energy’s task of materials, parts and equipment, thereby having supported IP strategies at the beginning of R&D. Accordingly, a need has arisen to check and supplement the strategy implementation status and to obtain the achievements as IP rights.

By considering the opinion of the relevant industry, KIPO prepared the ‘IP-R&D’ support project as a part of the positive administration. After operating for over one year, KIPO will support additional R&D direction and strategies to reinforce IP rights, by the end of this year.

Evaluating the necessity of subsequent diagnosis and the benefits, KIPO selected 22 small and medium companies including PowerCubeSemi, Inc. (power semiconductor), Yunsung F&C (battery equipment), etc. and 8 universities and public institutions including Industry-University Cooperation Foundation of Yonsei University (electrical multi-layer ceramic capacitor: MLCC), Korea Institute of Energy Research (hydrogen rechargeable battery).

A total of 30 support tasks (agencies) were selected including 8 for semiconductors, 5 for electricity and electronics, 5 for mechanical metal and 3 for display, among others.

As the result of KIPO supporting the materials, parts and equipment R&D tasks (764) for the last 3 years (2019~2021), 1,175 patent performance was derived and the economic effect of about 850 billion Korea Won, which is 14.4 times the government support, is expected due to the import substitution, dispute prevention and R&D cost reduction.

2. KIPO operates an accelerated examination designation on a patent application for semiconductor technology.

- For one year from November 1, 2022, KIPO supports a Korean company relating to a semiconductor technology in rapidly making a right.

- Patent applications for the blockchain technology and the Public Procurement Service’s innovative prototype are to be designated to be subject to an accelerated examination.

KIPO will designate a patent application in the field of the semiconductor technology, which is research and developed or produced in the Republic of Korea, to be subject to an accelerated examination for one year from November 1, 2022.

Through this action, in the case where a Korean semiconductor-related company, R&D agency or university, etc. uses an accelerated examination, a patent application is able to be examined within an average of 2.5 months and therefore, it is expected to obtain a patent by about 10 months faster than a general examination. An average time of starting an examination is 2.5 months for an accelerated examination and 12.7 months for a general examination of a semiconductor-related application (as of 2021).

Designating a semiconductor-related application as being subject to an accelerated examination is to strengthen Korean semiconductor-related companies’ global competitiveness under the situation that the worldwide competition for technological hegemony has been intensified.

The specific subject of an accelerated examination must be an application directly related to the semiconductor technology and meet all of the following requirements:

1)The cooperative patent classification (CPC) relating to a semiconductor shall be given as a main classification. It is possible to confirm a specific CPC relating to semiconductor materials and fabrication, etc. through a designation notice.

2)An application shall be filed by ▲ a company which produces a semiconductor-related product or device, etc. in the Republic of Korea or which is preparing such a production, ▲ an R&D agency supported by the national R&D project, or ▲ a university or graduate school specialized in semiconductor according to the ‘act on special measures for national advanced strategic industry competitiveness strengthening and protection.

This action was taken by amending the Enforcement Decreees of the Korean Patent and Utility Model Acts so as to support an accelerated examination for the important advanced technology, such as semiconductors, in strengthening the national economy and national competitiveness.

The amended Enforcement Decrees introduced the way that the Commissioner of KIPO determined and announced the subject of an accelerated examination and the period of requesting the examination, so as to rapidly expand to the other advanced technologies in addition to the semiconductor technology in the future.

The notice of a request for an accelerated examination of a patent or utility model application was revised, such that in addition to the accelerated examination of the advanced technology, such as semiconductors, an application relating to blockchain technology and an application filed by a company, which is verified as to a request for designation on an innovative prototype by the Public Procurement Service’s innovative prototype, have been designated as being subject to an accelerated examination.

The commissioner of KIPO said that KIPO would proceed with examination, without any troubles, by employing a retired workforce in the semiconductor field as a professional examiner as soon as possible, to rapidly and accurately examine patent applications in the semiconductor field, despite the limited manpower.

3. KIPO held a meeting of the Commissioner of KIPO and 8 ASEAN countries.

- KIPO agreed to conclude an MOU to deepen comprehensive cooperation with the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia.

On November 15, 2022, KIPO held a meeting of the Commissioner of KIPO and 8 ASEAN major countries including Brunei, the Philippines, etc., taking an opportunity of a 5th meeting of Korea-ASEAN. The 8 ASEAN countries were Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Through this meeting with 8 ASEAN countries, KIPO checked the cooperation status by field, the examination cooperation (such as the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), etc.), the manpower training in the IP field, and the consulting in the IP systems and information field, and specifically discussed a future cooperation plan according to the situation and circumstances by country.

PPH is the system where, when an applicant files a patent application for an invention in two countries receives, from one of the countries, the result of examination that the invention is patentable, the application is able to be rapidly examined in the other country based on the result of the examination.

The major matters discussed are as follows:

Brunei signed the MOU of comprehensive cooperation with the content of establishing national IP strategies and protecting and using IP, etc. and discussed a cooperation plan to strengthen the capacity of the inner staff including examiners of the Brunei Intellectual Property Office.

The Philippines signed the MOU for deepening cooperation with the content of IP manpower training and IP commercialization, etc. and discussed a cooperation plan to build an education system to systematically grow the IP manpower.

Malaysia agreed to conclude, as soon as possible, a MOU of comprehensive cooperation with the content of strengthening the capacity in the IP field and protecting and utilizing IP, etc. and shared the information related to a support policy for a small/medium company.

Thailand agreed to establish, within the year, an action plan to expand and specify the range of IP cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Thailand and discussed the action plan to include: △ promoting examination cooperation, such as PPH, etc., △ IP commercialization and valuation, △ exchange of information related to the AI-based patent and image search system, etc.

Cambodia shared the information of national IP strategies between the Republic of Korea and Cambodia and discussed the KOICA global training project to be operated for the public officials in charge of Cambodian IP from 203 to 2025.

4. An eco-friendly hydrogen ship determines the competitiveness of shipbuilding!

- A ‘hydrogen ship’ is published to be helpful in developing the technology and establishing the IP strategies in the shipbuilding industry.

According to KIPO, the number of hydrogen ship-related patent applications by IP5 was steady at an annual average of about 100 for the last 10 years (2010~2019). IP5 (Intellectual Property 5) means 5 advanced countries occupying 85% of the total worldwide patent applications (China, USA, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and EU).

By applicant’s nationality, the Republic of Korea had the most hydrogen ship-related applications with 560, China 124, USA 123, Japan 102, and Europe 92.

The top 10 applicants in the number of the relevant applications were ① Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering with 182, ② Samsung Heavy Industries with 125, ③ Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering with 113, showing the three Korean large shipbuilding companies filed the most applications, ④ Siemens (Germany) with 76, and ⑤ HDW (Germany) with 35.

The percentages by category of the applications, which were filed by the top 10 applicants of IP5, were 48.8% for ship or offshore structure, 27.3% for fuel cell and battery, 4.5% for fuel such as industrial gas, and 19.4% for others.

The number of Korean patent applications related to a hydrogen ship has gradually increased since 2010, and the 3 Korean big shipbuilding companies filed the most of the relevant applications.

As the hydrogen market and the demand for hydrogen ships are expected to increase in the future, the number of the relevant patent applications is expected to increase and Korean equipment companies are expected to participate in filing applications to compete with foreign companies to preoccupy the hydrogen market.

Hydrogen energy for ships is classified into ▲hydrogen production, ▲hydrogen transportation, ▲hydrogen engine, and ▲fuel cell, etc. Most patent applications are limited to fuel cells (336 applications, 54.5%), then, hydrogen production (187, 30.3%), hydrogen transportation (73, 11.8%) and hydrogen engine (21, 3.4%).

The top 5 applicants of the applications relating to the hydrogen energy technology for ships are ① Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering with 166, ② Samsung Heavy Industries with 104, ③ Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering with 93, ④ Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Japan) with 22, and ⑤Siemens (Germany) with 18, showing the three Korean large shipbuilding companies also led in the number of patent applications in the hydrogen energy technology.

KIPO published a ‘hydrogen ship’ to be helpful for the technology development and patent strategy establishment of the shipbuilding industry in preparation for transition to hydrogen utilization.

The ‘hydrogen ship’ will be distributed as a book to Korean shipbuilding companies, the shipbuilding-related association, academies and institutes, and the shipbuilding-related departments of a university, and it will be available at the publication notice board of the website (www.kipo.go.kr) for downloading.

5. A joint declaration was adopted to celebrate the 10th anniversary of establishment of TM5/ID5, a cooperation forum of 5 advanced patent offices in trademark and design area.

- KIPO selected as a next chair country will hold a meeting next year in the Republic of Korea.

KIPO announced that the 5 offices agreed to adopt a joint declaration in the trademark and design area in the annual meeting of TM5/ID5, which was held from October 24 to 29, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.

The trademark and design cooperation forum of the advanced 5 offices (the Republic of Korea, USA, Europe, Japan and China) was established in 2012 and it was separated into the trademark area (trademark 5: TM5) and the design area (industrial design 5: ID5) in 2015.

The content of the joint declaration adopted at this time is as follows:

In the trademark area, the joint declaration revealed that the 5 offices contributed to the growth of small and medium companies and the economic development through diverse research solutions for the last 10 years and it decided to ① build a trademark system which is transparent and easily accessible responding to the changing environment, ② harmonize the systems among the 5 offices to improve the user’s convenience, and ③ continue to cooperate with the users.

In the design area, focusing that the demand of the design system users has changed due to the recent new technology development and the digital transformation, the joint declaration decided to ① strengthen responsiveness of the design protection system to the rapidly changing environments, ② provide quality services for the users, and ③ improve the cooperation and utilization of ID5 through an interaction with the users.

Further, as China acceded to the Hague Agreement in last May, under WIPO’s observation, the 5 offices promised to try to smooth out the interoperability between the 5 offices’ systems and the Hague international design application system.

KIPO was selected as the next chair country in this annual meeting and it will hold a working meeting, a midterm meeting and an annual meeting of TM5/ID5 in 2023 which will be third time after the 2013 and 2018 meetings.


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