1. KIPO performs a consensus consultation examination in convergence technology
-The conversion from the one-examiner examination system to the three-examiner examination system draws the creation of strong patents.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the convergence technology examination bureau, which was newly established by the reorganization carried out on November 11, 2019, performs the consensus consultation examination.
The previous patent examination, one examiner progressed an examination of an invention of a filed patent application by himself/herself, or one examiner progressed the examination by another examiner’s opinion or advice at some examination stages.
However, under the consensus consultation examination conducted in the convergence technology examination bureau, three examiners make a decision in the names of the three examiners by collecting their opinions from the beginning, like the collegiate division of the Korea Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board or a court. This type of the examination system is carried out only in the European Patent Office but it is not utilized in the major patent offices including the US Patent & Trademark Office, the Japanese Patent Office, etc.
Since the 4th industrial revolution-related technologies include many inventions combining two or more relevant technologies (heterogeneous technology), there have been difficulties to understand the technologies and to apply the patent requirements. However, the introduction of the consultation examination system is expected to solve the aforementioned problems.
Further, even if the technological fields are the same, the results of examination might be different due to the viewpoints of each examiner. However, the consensus consultation examination is expected to be greatly helpful in increasing the consistency of examination.
2. KIPO and WIPO jointly held a conference for international trademark applications.
KIPO and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) jointly held the ‘international conference for Madrid international trademark applications’, to support individuals and small and medium companies that want to easily and conveniently obtain trademark rights in other foreign countries.
Upon reviewing the current state of Madrid international trademark applications filed in 2018 by countries, the US is in 1st place with 8,825 applications, the Germany in 2nd place with 7,495 and China in 3rd place with 6,900; whereas the Republic of Korea is in 14th place with 1,305. Therefore, KIPO and WIPO jointly held the international conference, to raise the awareness and strengthen the promotion regarding the Madrid international trademark application system in the Republic of Korea.
In this conference, lectures and question & answer time were arranged on the following subjects: ‘direction for developing the Madrid system’, ‘strategical use of the Madrid system through company cases’ and ‘matters to be attended when filing an international trademark application’. Specifically, as the trademark experts from the countries, including WIPO Madrid examination bureau director, Chinese and Japanese Madrid examiners, and a Korean company, NongSim, etc., attended as not only the lectures on different subjects but also panelists, the participants of the conference had a good opportunity of getting informative information.
3. A meeting between KIPO-ASEAN Intellectual Property Portal was held
KIPO held a meeting of the commissioners of KIPO and ASEAN Intellectual Property Portal where the commissioners from ten (10) ASEAN countries attended.
This meeting was the result of KIPO’s continuously exchanging with the ASEAN bureau and member countries since 2013. Mr. Won-joo PARK, the commissioner of KIPO, who served as the chairman of the meeting, emphasized that the intellectual property (IP) cooperation with ASEAN is essential to bring the common prosperity of Korea and ASEAN and presented the cooperative directions for the IP future of the two.
The greatest output of this meeting held as an additional event of the special submit meeting of Korea and ASEAN is to adopt the ‘IP Joint Declaration of Korea-ASEAN’ containing the will of win-win prosperity through the intellectual property of Korea-ASEAN.
Through the joint declaration, both agreed to cooperate together in ▲the creation of excellent patents for a healthy IP ecosystem, ▲the protection for respecting IP values and ▲the use for promoting IP commercialization, etc.
In the meeting, a patent examination cooperation program (patent prosecution highway) was discussed, whereby, when a patent is registered in the Republic of Korea, the relevant application can be rapidly examined in the ASEAN member countries or it can be recognized as a patent, without any special examination procedures. Through this program, a Korean company can more easily and rapidly obtain a patent right in the ASEAN member countries and therefore, the protection of an IP right of a Korean company that will advance to the ASEAN regions is expected to be further strengthened.
4. Analysis on the trend of PCT international patent applications in the chemical and medical fields, which were received in KIPO for the last five years (2014~2018)
According to KIPO, the number of the PCT international patent applications in the chemical and medical fields, which were received in KIPO for the last five years, increased from 3,126 in 2014 to 4,772 in 2018, showing a high growth of 11.2%. Compared with an annual average of 6.6% by which the total of the PCT international applications was increased, the increase of the PCT international applications in these fields was nearly twice as high, showing that the filing of patent applications is active to advance to the overseas market in these fields.
The annual average increase rates by specific technologies in the chemical and medical fields are: 19.7% for organic fine chemistry, 17.6% for food chemistry, 17.3% for materials/metallurgy, 13.9% for medical technology, 11.7% for medicines, 11.2% for surface technology/coating, and 10.6% for bio technology.
Due to the aforementioned growth, the share of the chemical and medical fields among the total technical fields increased from 25.1% in 2014 to 29.3% in 2018. The share by technologies are: 21.1% (4,176 cases) for medical technology, 11.5% (2,278 cases) for organic fine chemistry, 11.1% (2,197 cases) for medicines and 11.0% (2,178 cases) for bio technology. As shown, the medical technology has the greatest share in the chemical and medical fields.
The increase in the number of the PCT international applications in the chemical and medical fields is considered as resulting from the expansion of advancing to the overseas market related to the convergence new materials and future health care based on the fine chemistry.