1. Foreign patent publications are available in Korean.
- KIPO opened about 5,000,000 Korean translations of European patent publications.
- About 17,000,000 cases of Korean translation of US patent publications will be added in 2023.
KIPO announced the opening of Korean translation data of European patent publications to the public, without charge, through KIPRISPlus from December 22, 2022, Thursday.
The data to be opened corresponds to about 5,000,000 Korean translation cases of the published applications and registered publications issued in English by the European Patent Office from 2000 to April 2022.
The translation data is the result of the artificial neural network machine translation system (NMT) developed by KIPO. From 2018, KIPO received the transfer of the technology through the business agreements with WIPO and Korean IT specialized companies and carried forward the self-development of NMT.
To develop the optimized translation engine in the patent area, KIPO continued to improve the performance of machine translation by teaching about 10,330,000 learning data cases constructed in patent publications and patent examination and trial documents. KIPO is also advancing the quality by preparing a system to measure the translation service quality.
In 2022, Korean translations of European patent publications were first available using an artificial intelligence translation machine from English to Korean, which was developed by KIPO.
In 2023, KIPO plans to expand to the availability of Korean translations of US patent publications reaching about 17,000,000 cases.
In addition to Anglo-American languages, KIPO has a plan to open Korean translations of Chinese patent documents for the medium to longer term.
Since available data are used to enable Korean search and analysis, etc. of foreign patent documents, these are expected to be helpful for the relevant private companies in developing various IP service and activating the relevant market.
2. An overseas expansion starts with sharing the FTA latest trends in the IP area.
- KIPO held an explanation meeting of the free trade agreement (FTA) in the IP area.
KIPO held a ‘2022 explanation meeting of FTA in the IP area’ for the officials of Korean companies which have entered overseas markets or hope to enter overseas markets, IP experts and the general public.
This meeting consisted of topic presentation and discussion on: ▲ IP-area major contents of the Korea-Israel FTA effective from December 2022, ▲ IP impact of commercial environmental changes, ▲ amended matters in the Annex of the Korea-EU FTA, and ▲ trends of trade secret regulations in FTA.
The first presentation was hosted by Donghyuk Shin, secretary of KIPO’s Intellectual Property Trade and Cooperation Division, on the subject of ‘Korean progress trends of FTA and IP major contents of Korea-Israel FTA’.
The Korea-Israel FTA was a first FTA that Korea signed with a middle eastern country and the IP-related agreement documents reflected patent preferential examination, simplification of procedures to submit a certified copy of a priority document, regulations to protect a famous trademark, etc.
As the number of Korean companies to expand in Israel is expected to increase by taking an opportunity of the official enactment of the agreement in the beginning of December 2022, this presentation was prepared to share the major contents of the IP-related agreement with those Korean companies and to guide them for the positive utilization thereof.
The second presentation was made by Hyunsoo Kim, associate researcher of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, on the subject of the impact of the commercial environmental changes on the IP field in the future, such as digitalization accelerated by COVID-19, etc., the protective trade proliferated by the continuing conflict between the US and China, the supply chain reorganization due to the Russia-Ukraine war, etc.
In the third presentation, Heonhee Lee, professor at Gyeongsang National University, introduced the matters changed as the list of protected geographical indication has been put into practice due to the amendment to the annex of the Korea-EU FTA at the end of November, 2022. Lee also generally explained the system of Korean protected geographical indication to aid in its understanding.
In the final presentation, Jeonghwa JEON, assistant researcher of the Korea Institute of Intellectual Property, explained the trends of the trade secret systems of the major countries including the US, Japan, China among the others, by considering the tendency that the trade secret protection regulations have been strengthened in the major trade agreements.
3. The benefit of fee reduction for a patent application and a patent for a small/medium enterprise is clearly seen.
- A ‘guidebook for a small/medium enterprise certificate’ is distributed for reduction in patent application/patent-related fees.
On December 18, 2022, KIPO announced the distribution of a ‘guidebook for a small/medium enterprise certificate’, which was made by KIPO, at KIPO home page and through 25 national local IP centers, etc., so that a small/medium enterprise is able to more easily and widely use the fee reduction system.
KIPO has provided the benefits of reducing fees for filing a patent application, fees for requesting examination, etc. by 50~70% for a small/medium enterprise.
[Fee reduction system for a small/medium enterprise]
Fees for filing an application, fees for requesting examination, fees for registering a patent for the first three years, fees for requesting a positive confirmation trial for the scope of a right Reduction by 70%
Fees for filing an application for a result of a joint research of a small/medium enterprise and a non-small/medium enterprise, a small/medium enterprise’s patent (registration) fees starting the 4th year Reduction by 50%
However, under this system, a small/medium enterprise certificate must be submitted to get the fee reduction.
Through an agreement with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups to improve such an inconvenience of certificate submission, in 2019 KIPO improved the system to apply the fee reductions for an enterprise issued a small/medium enterprise certificate, by directly checking in the system whether the enterprise is a small/medium enterprise, without requesting the submission of the certificate document.
A small/medium enterprise having no certificate of a small/medium enterprise must submit other evidence documents (sales confirmation document, venture business certificate, social enterprise certificate, etc.), to get the fee reduction.
Since the standards of a small/medium enterprise as defined in the small and medium enterprise basic law and various evidence documents thereof are complicated and diverse and the relevant regulations have been frequently amended, a small/medium enterprise found it difficult to directly submit the certificate document(s).
As a part of the positive administration, KIPO produced and distributed a guidebook regarding the small/medium enterprise-related regulations and a place to issue the relevant evidence documents, so that a small/medium enterprise is able to easily and accurately submit the relevant evidence document.
The guidebook includes: ▲ criteria of a small/medium enterprise and the fee reduction rate by type, ▲ a business type confirmation document, a sales confirmation document, a standard of sales by business type, ▲ types of small/medium enterprise certificate documents except for sales, and ▲ frequent questions and answers (FAQ).
The above are available to view in the menu of books/statistics at the KIPO website (www.kipo.go.kr).
4. Technical police ramps up to be a professional agency for technical crime investigation.
- KIPO held a policy forum to prepare the technical police’s mid/long-term development plan.
To respond to technology leaks and infringement crimes, Korea’s top working-level experts gathered to discuss the roles and future development plan of the KIPO’s technical design special judicial police (hereinafter, referred to as the ‘technical police’).
As the competition to secure core technology between countries, such as the US-China technological supremacy war, has been keen and the research and development investment to preoccupy a cutting-edge technology has been active, the number of technology leaks and infringement crimes has continued to increase every year.
Among 112 cases of the outflow of industrial technology abroad over the 5 years, 36 cases relate to the national core technology, causing a situation concerning national and economic losses due to the frequent technology leaks to overseas in the high-tech industrial area.
Especially, since the criminal techniques of the technology leaks and infringement crimes have been also intelligent and advanced according to the cutting-edge technology development, human and physical investigation capabilities of the investigation agency of technology leaks and infringement crimes are inevitably required to secure major evidence.
In this regard, in March 2019, KIPO started the technical police’s investigation service, to prevent national core technology from leaking abroad and to solve a technological exploitation and infringement issue which are stumbling blocks to technological innovation of small and medium and venture companies. As a result, the professional investigation system of technology leaks and infringement was constructed by handling 12.9% of the total national technology leaks and infringement cases. Notably, in the technical crimes where it is difficult to prove the allegations, a high concordance rate of a sentimental opinion (prosecution or non-prosecution) has been shown to establish the expertise. However, the technical policy has still experienced difficulties due to a lack of investigation manpower and an incomplete system.
This forum was hosted by Myungsoo Gahng, professor at Pusan National University Law School, and it consists of a total of three parts as follows:
In the first part, a discussion on ‘empowerment of technical police investment capability and improvement of professionality’ was made by Yunhee Kim, lawyer of Kim & Jang (former head of the patent crime investigation department of Daejeon District Prosecutors’ Office), Jaehoon Lee, lawyer of Shin & Kim LLC, and Gumin Kahng, professor of the convergence security engineering department in Sungshin Women’s University.
In the second part, a discussion of a ‘plan to improve a system to secure the effectiveness of execution of technical protection’ was participated by Jieun Jung, head of the patent crime investigation department of Daejeon District Prosecutors’ Office, Hojin Choi, professor of Dankook University, and Dosun Lee, professor of the policy department in Hannam University.
In the third part, a discussion on ‘plan to efficiently operate an organization and manpower’ was made by Hunhee Lee, professor of the department of convergence of intellectual property in operation plan of Gyeongsang National University, Moonjun Gwak, chief superintendent of the investigation structure reform team in the National Police Agency, and Wonjae Lee, patent attorney of Yulchon LLC.
5. How to respond to overseas IP disputes and counterfeit damages
KIPO held a meeting to discuss response strategies to overseas IP disputes.
While Korean trade balance and actual exports have deteriorated, one of the important factors to expand Korean companies’ export is to respond and prevent an overseas IP dispute.
This meeting was arranged to share the dispute cases and response strategies of Korean companies which overcame the risk of an overseas IP dispute and succeed in exporting.
Small and medium companies having a lot of experience of overseas IP dispute discussed the skill to prevent and respond to the overseas IP disputes.
A semiconductor processing equipment company, T, emphasized the importance of collecting and analyzing in advance a competitor’s patent, to prevent a patent dispute.
A home appliance company, P, presented the effective trademark invalidation and recovery strategies, based on the experience of damages caused by an unauthorized preemption of a trademark in China.
The cases were introduced where Korean export companies successively overcame an overseas IP dispute crisis through KIPO’s support programs.
When a Korean company found an imitation product in a foreign country, it stops the selling of the imitation product through a warning letter, a trial of patent infringement, etc.
When a Korean company was involved in the patent dispute, such as a warning letter, a trial of patent infringement, etc., it advantageously solved the dispute by thoroughly searching the invalidation data.
When a Korean company’s trademark was preoccupied without permission, the company was able to invalidate the relevant trademark which was preoccupied, without permission, by a foreign company, by proving the foreign company’s malicious intent. The companies damaged by counterfeit products in foreign countries joint responded to the counterfeits, to block the distribution thereof.
In the meeting, a separate space was arranged in the event hall, to proceed with an on-site consultation and an support program guide regarding diverse IP disputes.