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A meeting of the commissioners of KIPO, CNIPA and JPO was held in Wuhan, China(News Letter No. 400)



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1. A meeting of the commissioners of KIPO, CNIPA and JPO was held in Wuhan, China

The cooperation in the area of trademarks starts in the level of the three (3) countries, the Republic of Korea, China and Japan.

Mr. Won-Joo PARK, Commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), attended in the meeting of the commissioners of KIPO, CNIPA and JPO held on December 13, 2018 in Wuhan, China, agreed to continuously strengthen the cooperation among the three (3) countries in the patent trial, design and education areas, which has progressed up to now, and to newly start cooperation in the trademark area.

The foregoing agreement resulted from positive discussions by taking the opportunity that trademark work service is combined and transferred to the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) which is in charge of patents and designs according to the Chinese government’s organization change as the importance of trademark protection further increases due to the trade increase in the region. This is interpreted as an expansion and reinforcement of the cooperative channel in the trademark area where Korean companies’ demands for cooperation with China are high.

The commissioners of KIPO, CNIPA and JPO shared recognition that the necessity of cooperation increases in the IP dispute area, such as trials for invalidation, etc., since the number of global IP disputes has increased, and agreed to continue cooperation in this area. Further, they also agreed to continuously strengthen cooperation in design protection and IP education areas.

2. The National Assembly passes some amendments to the Unfair Competition Prevention Act and the Patent Act

- A system to strengthen the IP protection is modified by introducing a punitive damage system, etc.

Where any one intentionally infringes another’s patent right or trade secret, the punitive damage system that will hold the infringer liable for damages up to a maximum of three (3) times of a damage amount comes into effect in June 2019. According to KIPO, the Assembly plenary session passed some amendments to the Patent Act and the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act, with the major matters to strengthen the IP protection, including the punitive damage system to patent and trade secret infringement and to increase punishment levels.

Based on the data analyzed by KIPO, a median value of the amount of compensation for damage in a trial for patent infringement in the Republic of Korea is 60,000,000 Korea Won (1997~2017), which is much smaller compared to the medial value thereof, 6,570,000,000 (1997~2016) in the USA. Since the Korean numerical number is just nothing but a level of 1/9 of the US one even considering the economy of two countries, it is shown that no sufficient compensation has been made to a company damaged by patent infringement.

In the IP markets, there has been the recognition that profits can be obtained by infringement rather than fair payment of a patent’s value, and paying the amount of compensation for damage makes more profit if an infringement is exposed. Even though a damaged company wins a suit, in many cases, it gives up the suit since the amount of compensation for damage will not be enough. Therefore, the situation is that a vicious circle of IP infringement has continued.

At this time, the National Assembly introduced the punitive damage system to allow that, where an action of infringement to a patent, exclusive license or trade secret is made on purpose, the amount of compensation for damage is defined within three (3) times the amount approved as damage, to straighten the distorted recovery and to tighten the basis for IP protection.

3. KIPO held an ‘IP protection conference 2018’

- Counterstrategy is discussed on a foreign company riding in the Korean wave

KIPO and Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) held an ‘IP protection conference 2018’ to inform the importance of IP protection upon overseas expansion.

This conference with the subject about ‘appearance of a foreign company riding in the Korean wave and our handling’ was attended by about 400 people including Korean and foreign company-related persons, IP experts, etc., to discuss about an IP protection plan of Korean products populated in foreign countries.

The conference has four (4) sessions:

In the first session, a panel discussion was performed to seek ▲whether a trade action of a Korean company or a foreign company riding in the Korean wave, which makes overseas consumers misunderstanding that the company sells Korean products, is illegal and ▲the countermeasures thereto.

In the second session, lectures on confrontational policies and actual crackdown cases by countries were performed by the Vietnam and Thailand officials which conducted a major crackdown to the foreign companies riding in the Korean wave.

In the third session, the Korea Tobacco and Ginseng Corporation, which exports ginsengs that could be called the original of the Korean wave, and Have&Be (Dr. Jart), which is a leader recently leading the K-beauty, shared the efforts and outcomes to protect the IP rights of their own products in foreign countries.

In the last session, an expert’s presentation is performed regarding a plan to strategically use an IP right during the processes of commercializing Korean content and bring it in an online shopping mall.

4. The number of patent applications related to a medical technique using AR/VR

The number of the patent applications related to the medical technology combined with augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) has increased.

According to KIPO, the number of the aforementioned patent applications filed for twenty (20) years (1998~2017) totaled 277.

The rate of increase in these applications filed for the last six (6) years (2012~2017) rapidly increased to 49.4% (11 applications in 2012→20 in 2013→13 in 2014→29 in 2015→58 in 2016→82 in 2017). This increase is considered as the result of engaging the AR/VR technical development and the expansion of research and development aid according to the ‘2016 governmental nine (9) national strategic projects’.

Of the AR/VR-related applications, the most applications, 81, are related to the rehabilitation of a patient, followed by 45 to the training of a health care provider, 38 to surgery, 36 to health care and 32 to diagnosis, showing that the area of utilizing AR/VR has been diversified.

The relevant applications filed by Korean applicants is 89.9% (native: 249, foreigner: 28).



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