1. An examination quality management system around a group leader has been fully operated for the innovation of examination quality
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) established a plan for the innovation of examination quality around an examination group to enhance the quality level of examination in July 2018 and held a presentation ceremony of an appointment certificate for 130 leaders of groups to lead the plan on July 3, 2018.
For the innovation of examination quality management, an examiner who is the subject of examination work communicates with an authorization person (a leader of a group) or a colleague examiner (through a discussion, consultation, etc.), to enhance the quality level of examination (the improvement of accuracy and consistency, and the creation of strong intellectual property right, etc.).
This plan for innovation of examination quality generated by the participation of all members of KIPO through the ‘first street of patent portal’ (특허로 1번가 in Korean) which is a platform of patent administration innovation, has the feature of changing the quality management system from the previous valuation-based system of emphasizing the individual responsibility of an examiner to the system of strengthening communications and improving autonomy within an examination group.
An examination group is a minimum unit of examination management, consisting of 5~6 examiners on in charge of similar technology or trademark and service areas. As the examination management system around an examination group has been introduced, discussions and consultations on examination issues and substantive matters to be judged are activated and therefore the accuracy and consistency on whether to grant an intellectual property right, such as a patent, trademark, etc., are expected to improve.
2. The biotechnology (BT) fever is in cosmetics
- The number of trademark applications related to cell, bio, derma, etc. has rapidly increased.
Moving with the desire of consumers for a ‘baby face’ and ‘anti-aging’, the cosmetics industries have actively filed applications for cosmetics-related trademarks to emphasize products including functional ingredients by grafting the biotechnology.
According to KIPO, 6,407 ‘bio’-related trademark applications were filed in the cosmetics areas over the last five years (2013~2017), showing an increase of about 2.57 times compared to 2,484 applications filed during the same period (2008~2012). The bio-related trademarks are the trademarks which include characters representing the biotechnology, such as bio, cell, derma, medi, dr., etc., in the products.
The percentage of the bio-related trademark application to the total of cosmetics-related trademark applications continuously increased over the last five years, from 5.7% in 2013, 6.6% in 2014, 6.6% in 2015, 7.8% in 2016 and 8.3% in 2017.
3. The number of patent applications for the DNA editing technology and its use has increased
According to KIPO, the number of DNA edit-related patent applications has greatly increased. DNA editing enables the DNA edit of animals and plants based on the DNA editing and using technology.
Like this trend is reflected, the number of the relevant applications greatly increased since 2008, showing an increase of 15 times over the last ten years. The number of the relevant applications filed during the last three years increased by 78% compared to the number of the applications filed during the earlier three years. Since the DNA editing technology has been grafted with the ‘synthetic biology’ which is the technology to newly design an organism, the number of the DNA edit-related applications is expected to increase faster.
Based on the trends of applicants over the last ten years, Korean applicants filed 138 applications (41%) and foreign applicants filed 159 applications (59%) so that the percentage of the relevant applications filed by foreign applicants was greater.
It is noticeable that, among the Korean applicants, universities and institutes filed 68% of the relevant applications, which was higher by more than 2 times compared to 32% applications filed by companies. Among the foreign applicants, companies filed 57% of the relevant applications, showing the opposite results to the percentage of the applications filed by Korean applicants. This is considered from the results that most of foreign researchers have established companies and performed research and development with financial support of multinational pharmaceutical companies.
Based on the trends of technical fields, the number of applications related to the platform (based) technology of DNA editing rapidly increased since 2012 when the third generation DNA crisper was first developed, reached a height in 2014 and gradually decreased, whereas, the number of applications related to the DNA edit applying technology has continued to increased since 2012.
4. The number of patent applications related to transparent displays has increased
KIPO published that the number of patent applications related to transparent displays which show information on a transparent glass has greatly increased among patent applications related to display devices.
A transparent display retains a transparent state, like glass, when it is not used but operates as a display screen if needed and shows information on a functional smart window, which has limitless market potentials as the next generation display.
According to KIPO, the number of Korean patent applications related to transparent displays among display devises totaled 280 (based on the filing dates) over the last ten years (2008~2017), showing an increase of annual average 43.4%.
The number of these applications filed during the last three years (2015~2017) increased by about 2.3 times (from 72 to 162), compared to the number of the applications filed during the earlier three years (2012~2014).
Such an increase is considered as the results of the points that the development of transparent displays was selected as the development research task for five years, from 2012 to 2017, to get great attention nationally and companies also steadily researched and developed to prepare an opportunity to expand a new market using transparent displays.
By applicants, Korean applicants filed most of the relevant applications with 263 (93.8%) and foreign applicants filed 17 (6.2%).
As the major companies to file the relevant applications, LG filed 147 applications (52.5%), Samsung Display 48 (17.1%), Samsung Electronics 21 (7.5%) and Universal Display 8 (2.9%).