1.The number of patent and trademark applications filed in this year has maintained the highest record
-The number of the applications filed by small and medium companies to respond to the post-corona period has drastically increased.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of the patent and trademark applications filed by the third quarter of this year is 342,697, which increased by 9.4% compared to the same period of the last year and is the highest record based on the same period. It is also observed that the number of the applications filed by small and medium companies has driven the increase in the total of the applications.
By the types of rights, the number of patent applications is 155,164 with an increase of 3.6% compared to the same period of the last year. This number includes 38,406 applications filed by small and medium companies with an increase of 10.7%, greatly exceeding the rate of increase, 4.2%, in the number of the applications filed by big companies and 4.2% by universities and public research institutes.
The number of trademark application is 187,533 (with an increase of 14.7%), including 62,247 filed by small and medium companies with a rapid increase rate of 24.0%, maintaining the highest increase.
The trends of patent and trademark applications filed by small and medium companies can be summarized as ‘a quick response to COVID-19 and a conversion into a untact (meaning “non-contact”)-based economic’.
As to the patent applications, the bio technology (721 applications) showed the highest increase at 33.5%, the polymer chemistry technology (214, 26.6%) and the medical technology (2,216, 23.5%) also showed a high increase, reflecting a high interest in the medical and hygiene areas.
In the electronic commerce area which is deeply relating to ‘untact’, the most applications, 3,391, were filed by small and medium companies, with an increase of 22.7%.
As to the trademark applications, 2,761 trademark applications filed in the classification including medical devices (Class 10) showed a big increase at 66.2%, and 4,498 applications filed in the classification including medicines (Class 5) also increased sharply by 45.0%.
Further, As the number of private broadcasts has increased according to ‘untact’, 7,651 trademark applications were filed in the classification including sound images and electronic image devices (Class 9), recording a high increase of 36.3%.
2. Anyone that files a patent application after a joint research with a small/medium company gets a 50% fee reduction
KIPO pre-announced legislation relating to an amendment on ‘collection regulations of patent fees, etc.’ with a support for small and medium companies in creating patents as major contents.
According to the amendment, when a big company, a midsize company or a public research institute files an application for R&D results that it jointly researches with a small/medium company, it can get a 50% reduction as to the fees of filing an application and filing a request for examination and the registration fees. This is a part of support to activate research activities of small and medium companies which lack research manpower.
In addition, the fees for filing an application to be paid when electronically filing the research results, (such as a thesis which is prepared in commercial software such as PDF, HWP, etc.) as a temporary application to be easier and faster filed, are reduced at the same level as the fees when electronically filing a regular application using KIPO’s software.
However, if a supplement to correct/change the temporary application into a regulated patent application form within one year and two months is submitted in an electronic file, an applicant may pay the fees for filing the supplement, 4,000 Korea Won. However, if such a supplement is submitted in writing, the fees for filing the supplement, which correspond to the actual expense required for document digitization, are revised upwards.
In the amendment, the flaws in the fees applied to international search and international preliminary examination under PCT have been taken care of. As there have occurred a case abusing the point that when a foreign company files an international application including a plurality of inventions, additional fees are inexpensive, the additional fees to be charged when an application violates the requirement of the unity of invention will be as the same level of an overseas Patent Office.
3. The patent examination practical guide in the bio area has been prepared so that Korean bio lead is expected
KIPO held an on and off line presentation regarding a legislative proposal on ‘patent examination practical guide in the bio area’, where about 100 people relating to the industry-university-institute collaboration took part.
In the bio area, the number of patent applications relating to the convergence technology in a new form connected to other area technologies has continued to increase, such as not only the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) which has been widely known as winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year but also the COVID-19 diagnosis kit which is the major technology of K-quarantine of South Korea.
Since a patent application in the bio area targets a living object, unlike the other technology targeting an inanimate object, it needs to go through the particular procedures such as the patent microbial deposit system and the sequence listing filing system when the application is filed and there is a difficulty of considering ethical aspects together.
Therefore, the Korean bio industry has requested to establish new patent examination standards reflecting a technical environmental change and distinctiveness in the bio area.
Reflecting the request from the relevant industry, this ‘patent examination practical guide in bio area’ presents examination standards by life information flow stages, such as nucleic acid, protein, cell, etc. which are major basic constitution of a life, such that an applicant can easily use.
Specifically, this guide contains various examination cases relating to the drug repurposing technology using AI which is a rapidly developing technology area.
In addition, keeping up with the trend that the bio industry converged with other area technologies has applied and developed, clear examination standards on the major examination issues are prepared by presenting various examination issues and reflecting recent trial decisions and judgements.
A bio area-related person who attended the presentation said that since this enacted guide, which is very informative and includes specific cases, renders it very practical and easy to use is practically easily used.
4. Your own name is put on a product
-The number of trademark applications for a Korean ‘name trademark’ has increased and a possibility of registration thereof is high.
The number of applications for a trademark including a name (hereinafter, referred to as ‘name trademark’) has increased.
According to KIPO, the number of the name trademark applications was 1,438 in 2017 but increased to 1,648 (by 14.6%). The number of the name trademark applications over the last three years was 1,438 in 2017, 1583 in 2018 (10.0%), 1,648 in 2019 (4.1%) and 1,188 as of the end of September 2020.
By the types of products applying the name trademarks over the last three years, 1,109 applications (19.0%) are for restaurant business, 633 (11.3%) for business management service, 424 (7.23%) for education service and entertainment business, 330 (5.63%) for coffee and tea, 315 (5.38%) for meat and fish, 306 (5.22%) for cosmetics and 233 (4.00%) for scientific equipment.
The number of the name trademark-related applications is considered as having increased by reflecting that an applicant can give the consumer confidence as well as a warrant by using his/her real name as a trademark and it is easy to obtain a trademark registration since his/her own name has a clear distinctiveness as a trademark.