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The 4th industrial revolution is a speed battle, supported by a provisional specification!(News Letter No. 457)



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1. The 4th industrial revolution is a speed battle, supported by a provisional specification!

-Filing a patent application is sped up by submitting a thesis or a standard document, etc.
-Most users are LG Electronics ranking first and Samsung Electronics ranking second.

According to KIPO, as a result of implementing the provisional specification system from last year, the number of monthly cases using provisional specifications has increased by more than 3 times, from 227 in April 2020 to 730 in April 2021, and this system has been of a great help for an invention in the 4th industrial revolution area to be rapidly filed as a patent application.

The provisional specification system (in effect on March 30, 2020) was introduced at the level of active administration so that the previously standardized format of a specification is not required when filing a patent application and a provisional specification in various formats, such as pdf, etc., and it is possible to submit a formal specification by 1 year 2 months from the filing date (priority date).

Before the provisional specification system was in operation, a specification had to be originally prepared according to the prescribed format. Therefore, it was difficult to rapidly and accurately prepare and file an application because of the time required to prepare such a complete specification.

Especially, for those companies to which it was important to preemptively secure a standard patent, such as communication technology (5G), strategies were needed for filing a patent application in real time during a international standardization conference. However, previously since it was required to prepare a formal specification, the problem was that filing a patent application was delayed.

Accordingly, some companies would use the strategy of rapidly filing a patent application with USPTO by using the US provisional application system and then filing a Korean application based on the US application.

Provisional specifications were intensively used in the digital new technology area meeting the 4th indusial revolution in line with the purpose of introducing the provisional specification system.

Among the total of the applications filed with provisional specifications, 26.3% related to communication where technological change is rapid, 13.6% to computer technology, 10.0% to electronic commerce, showing that the digital new technology area held half (49.9%).

The major users of the provisional specification system were LG Electronics ranking first and Samsung Electronics ranking second, both being the companies in the digital new technology area. After the provisional specification system was established, LG Electronics filed 1,191 applications with provisional specifications and Samsung Electronics filed 637 applications with provisional specifications.

LG Electronics filed 984 applications (82.6%) with provisional specifications in the communication technology area only. Samsung Electronics mainly utilized the provisional specification system for 171 applications (26.8%) in the communication area and 240 applications (37.7%) in the computer technology area.

2. Patent registration becomes faster by three (3) examiners’ consultation examination system

The patent applications for a COVID-19 diagnostic kit and a K-walkthrough were filed early in the COVID-19 outbreak. Each of these two inventions was a converged technology of two or more technologies. For efficient examination, KIPO assigned a microbiologist and a medical diagnosis expert in the examination process, thereby shortening the examination period and supporting a company’s export to contribute to the propagation of K-quarantine.

It is indicated that the three (3) examiner’s consensus consultation examination system implemented by KIPO operated smoothly.

This consultation examination system was introduced in November 2019, to examine the patent applications relating to the convergence technology combining two or more technologies, which has rapidly increased in the 4th industrial revolution era. This system complemented the previous single (1) examiner examination type.

Under this consultation examination system, three (3) examiners are input for one invention (application). A professional review is performed compared to the previous single examiner’s examination, and the procedures efficiently proceed to shorten an examination period.

KIPO conducted this consultation examination as for a total of 6,261 patent applications from November 2019 when the Convergence Technology Examination Bureau was established to the end of April 2021. This number corresponds to 16.8% of the total cases processed in the Convergence Technology Examination Bureau.

This consultation examination rapidly and accurately makes a patent right, to support in creating a strong patent to positively influence the Korean industry.

3. Korean Patent Bigdata Center leads an industrial innovation through a patent bigdata analysis in the areas including semiconductor, etc.

KIPO announced the establishment of an industrial innovation strategy based on patent bigdata analysis through the Korean Patent Bigdata Center this year, regarding the following areas: the 2 key industries including semiconductor and 5G communication, bioenergy‧petrochemistry, steel‧cement industrial process advancement, and carbon neutrality such as electric cars, etc.

In June 2020, KIPO and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy opened the Korean Patent Bigdata Center to improve a national industrial competitiveness by setting a R&D investment direction from the view of a patent by objectively and scientifically analyzing patent bigdata of the key industries.

At present, the industrial innovation strategies have been established as to 10 industries including display, artificial intelligence, etc.. The promising technology and R&D investment strategies derived through the industrial innovation strategies have been provided to the related ministries, R&D professional institutions and companies and these have been used in discovering a new R&D task.

Importantly, a result of bigdata analysis has been open and provided to people at the online portal (https://pbcenter.re.kr). Diverse patent analysis results scattered in many Korean and foreign institutes will be steadily collected and mounted so that a user can easily view the patent-related information.

In addition, this year a patent bigdata analysis platform combining the lasts bigdata analysis technology and the artificial intelligence (AI) technology will be experimentally constructed to derive, at the right time, a promising technology by a rapid and accurate patent bigdata analysis.

Patent bigdata is high-valued information of about 480,000,000 consolidating R&D trends, industry and market trends, etc. of the worldwide companies and institutes. From the patent bigdata, it is possible to diagnose and estimate the competitiveness and investment direction of a nation or company and to derive a Korean R&D direction and market strategy.

In the future, the patent bigdata analysis on the new industry, such as AI, and the social issue closely related to the life of people will be expanded to 35 areas by 2024, to discover a promising technology and establish a R&D investment direction.

4. KIPO and the Korean Society of Design Science signed a business agreement for innovating a design system.

- Both will jointly try to create an ecosystem for design rights protection.

KIPO signed a business agreement with the Korean Society of Design Science (KSDS, President: Jinkyung Back), the Korean largest academic society in the design area, for the innovation and development of the design protection system.

This business agreement is carried forward to innovate the design system responding to the rapidly changing digital environments, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, etc., and to more positively collect the opinions from the design academic society when establishing design protection policy.

The both organizations promised to mutually cooperate in ▲positively reflecting the opinions from the design academic society when establishing the design policy, ▲operating a promotion and counseling booth to protect a design right, and ▲encouraging to file a design application and advertising and utilizing the design right protection system.

As part of the business agreement, a special session was open on the subject, ‘whose right a design right utilizing AI is?’, in a ‘2021 KSDS Spring International Conference’ which was opened simultaneously in Hongik University and online on May 29, 2021, to exchange opinions on the recent issues in the design IP area.

KIPO and the Korean Society of Design Science decided to form a working council for substantiality in promoting the business agreement and to regularly check on any matter to be promoted and to continue to discover any matter for additional cooperation.

5. Evolving COVID-19 diagnosis technology

- The number of patent applications relating to the COVID-19 diagnosis technology has steadily increased.

A Korean company “A”, a COVID-19 diagnosis kit manufacturer developed a diagnosis kit which is the first-class contribution of the K-quarantine from the early COVID-19, and has exported it all over the world.

According to KIPO, the patent applications for the COVID-19 diagnosis technology started being filed in February last year which was the beginning of COVID-19 outbreak, and the number of these applications steadily increased and reached 189 in 15 months.

The number of the applications relating to the COVID-19 diagnosis technology rapidly increased (by 9.5 times than that relating to SARS and 5.7 times than that relating to MERSE), compared to the respiratory disease outbreak such as SARS (occurred in 2002 and 20 applications were filed for 19 years) and MERSE (occurred in 2013 and 33 applications were filed for 8 years).

Upon reviewing patent application trends by period, since the number of these applications relatively increased in April, 2020, the first outbreak period of COVID-19, in July to August, the second outbreak period of COVID-19, and these days when the number of confirmed cases has increased, it is considered as increasing if the number of new confirmed cases increases.

The COVID-19 diagnosis technology is classified as a molecular diagnostic method to detect a virus gene (RNA) to touch trigger an epidemic, and an immunodiagnostic method to detect proteins (antigen, antibody) made from a virus. 91 applications relate to the molecular diagnostic method and 98 to the immunodiagnostic method, so the number of the patent applications is similar to each other in these two areas.

By application trend, the number of the patent applications relating to the molecular diagnostic technology was somewhat high in the beginning but recently the number of the applications relating to the immunodiagnostic technology has increased according to the demand of antibody and real-time diagnosis.

Upon reviewing the applications relating to the molecular diagnostic technology, 39 cases were for the real-time gene amplification technology (RT-PCR), 26 for the isothermal amplification technology, 8 for the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) technology, and 18 for the other technology such as biomarker, etc.

In the molecular diagnostic method, a number of applications were to specify a gene fragment to amplify an analysis target at the beginning of the onset. As a new variant strain has recently appeared, the number of the applications relating to a complex diagnostic technology to diagnose a new variant strain and other respiratory viruses at the same time has increased.

The immunodiagnostic method to detect an antigen and an antibody has a merit in that it is easy to use the method and it is possible to rapidly confirm a result of the test. 72 patent applications were for an antigen diagnosis and 12 for an antibody diagnosis.

In detail, so far, most applications were related to the antigen diagnosis because of the demand for a rapid and simple test of COVID-19 virus. However, as the vaccination has proceeded, the number of the applications related to the antibody diagnosis which detects a neutralizing antibody which is an immunoprotein produced in the body is expected to increase.


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