1.KIPO held a presentation of trademark and design system trends in 2020
-The presentation introduced the ‘standards of judgement on acquisition of discrimination by use’ and the ‘system of electronically filing a trademark application by a mobile device’, etc. which have been placed in operation this year.
On January 14, 2020, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) held a general presentation to introduce the trademark and design systems as newly changed in 2020.
This presentation introduced the revised matters on trademark examination standards and design examination standards which have been placed in operation this year, the changes in goods classification notification and design articles list notification, and the trademark and design support system. This presentation also introduced the system of electronically filing a trademark application by a mobile device to be in operation in 2020.
In the trademark field, there were presented the standards of reliability judgement in the survey results of consumer awareness for the ‘acquisition of discrimination by use’, which grants a general right with respect to a mark which cannot be originally monopolized to a specific person, and the standards of examination of an application for collective marks with geographical indication with respect to processed foods.
In the design field, the presentation introduced the relaxing of the examination standards regarding the names of articles to be described in English as new articles appear, and the specific examination standards in the case of causing confusion with articles related to another’s work (which are scheduled to be enforced in March 2020).
In the goods classification field, the presentation promoted the convenience of an applicant of a trademark application through an examination of goods to meet with the international standards of goods classification and the trading situation, by adding the names of new goods, such as medical nano robots, identity cards for biometric authentication, etc., and accepting smartwatches which were previously not accepted.
In the design articles classification field, the presentation gave an explanation of the major issues including the addition of the names of articles discussed in the experts meeting of Locarno International Classification and the presentation introduced a schedule of notifying a domestic revision in accordance with the revised matters of Locarno International Classification, 13th Edition.
2.KIPTAB opened a new trial court for trademark and design trial bureaus
As the new trial court of trademark and design trial bureaus (Trial Bureaus 1, 2, 3 and 11) has been completed, the Korea Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board (KIPTAB) announced that from this year an oral hearing of trademark and design trials would be held in an annexed building of KIPTAB.
The trial court consists of a large trial court which is available for a collegial body of appeal examination with 5 trial examiners and the parties directly involved, and a small trial court which is available for a video oral hearing between KIPO’s Seoul office and Daejeon where KIPO is located.
The video oral hearing system, which was opened in 2014 to create a customized service by reducing travel time and expenses of the parties directly involved in a trial, enables an oral hearing in a trial case between one party directly involved being present in KIPO’s Seoul office and the other party being present in Daejeon as well as a trial case where both parties are located in KIPO’s Seoul office.
A public defense of an oral hearing will be published through Internet.
3. KIPO has high effects of a ‘program to support a joint response to a dispute regarding intellectual property (IP)
-53 trademarks of K-brand preoccupied by a trademark broker were invalidated in China.
Food franchise business company “A”, which was scheduled to advance in China, learned that a local trademark broker registered its trademark. However, “A” thought that it would be difficult to win the case if individually taking an action since there were no data/materials to prove the awareness of its own trademark in China and the use thereof and the Chinese characters describing the trademark preoccupied by the trademark broker were different from the Korean characters. However, by the joint response of KIPO and the damaged company, the intention was clearly proven through the fact that the trademark broker copied and plagiarized another’s trademark in bulk and therefore the company “A” won.
On January 29, 2020 KIPO published that, as a result of the ‘program to support a joint response to an IP-related dispute’ which was carried forward in 2018 to support a company damaged by a trademark broker in other countries, 53 companies formed for the joint response won in trials for invalidation, etc.
These 53 companies are Korean small and medium companies in a total of 4 businesses including franchises, dolls, clothing and cosmetics which suffered damages by major trademark brokers (5 people) in China. These companies focused on proving the malignancy of those brokers by submitting a joint petition after conducting an in-depth investigation and analysis of the trademarks preoccupied in bulk by the Chinese trademark brokers and performing a combined hearing/examination.
As a result, the companies started winning from September 2019 and have gotten all winning results in a total of 53 trademark disputes.
Previously, since the awareness of Korean companies was relatively low in China, it was difficult to invalidate the trademarks preoccupied by the trademark brokers. However, as the Chinese trademark authority utilizes the policies to eradicate trademark brokers, winning the cases is considered as the result.
Specifically, the way of jointly responding to a trademark dispute by the consultative group formed of the companies that suffered damages by the same brokers makes it possible to more easily prove the malicious intention of the trademark brokers and to use common materials to reduce costs, and to share know-how among the companies to increase the capacity to respond to an IP-related dispute.
4.The current status of patent applications related to LIDAR, an eye of autonomous driving
-The number of patent applications filed by startups and small and medium companies has increased.
According to KIPO, the number of patent applications related to light detection and ranging (LIDAR) which is a core technology of an autonomous driving car, which were filed for the last 10 years (2009~2018) sharply increased. The number of the LIDAR-related patent applications filed from 2009 to 2011 was about 20 per year but increased to 42 in 2012 and increased to 121 in 2017, showing a rapid increase.
By the sizes of companies, the number of the patent applications filed by big companies, startups, small and medium companies and foreign companies all increased and the startups and small and medium companies especially led the rapid increase in the number of those applications. The startups and small and medium companies filed 10 applications or less by 2014 but 20 or more in 2015 and recently have filed 30 or more. This tendency is considered as being due to startups and small and medium companies having creative ideas which are appropriate for new shape design and cost reduction technology development accordingly.
By application fields, the applications in the autonomous driving car field are 65% and the applications in the other field than the autonomous driving cars are 35%.
In the autonomous driving car field, the number of the applications has increased like an autonomous driving signal process (28%), LIDAR structure and control (26%) and LIDAR built-in element (10%). In detail, in the autonomous driving signal process field, the major applications related to a signal process technology to recognize driving environments were filed. In the LIDAR structure and control field, most applications related to a rotary-typed LIDAR technology were filed. In the LIDAR built-in element field, applications were filed mainly related to a light receiving element but recently applications have been filed related to an angle control element technology of irradiating a fixed LIDAR beam.
In a field other than an autonomous driving car, LIDAR technology has been utilized in various areas, such as traffic safety, unmanned drone, unmanned mobility, hand phone, security monitoring, headset, leisure, etc.
LIDAR technology has been most used in the traffic safety area and the unmanned drone area, such that the technology is applied to a safety device of a pedestrian to inform a traffic condition around or it is applied to a system to support the information of arrival and departure of a ship by using an unmanned drone.