1. South Korea is 1st (5th in 2016) in world ranking in the number of standard patents declared to the 3 international standardization agencies and 3rd (4th in 2016) to the world 5 standardization agencies
According to KIPO, the number of the declared standard patents reported to the 3 international standardization agencies (ISO: International Organization for Standardization, IEC: International Electrotechnical Commission, and ITU: International Telecommunication Union) by 2020 was 3,344 (23.5%), increasing by about 6.4 times compared to 519 in 2016 (5th in ranking in 2016) and rising to the world top, followed by US with 2,793 (19.6%) in 2nd, Finland with 2,579 (18.1%) in 3rd, Japan with 1,939 (13.6%) in 5th and France with 1,283 (9.0%) in 5th.
By the companies owning the declared standard patents reported to the 3 international standardization agencies, Samsung Electronics (South Korea) took the 1st ranking with 2,799 cases, followed by Nokia (Finland) 2nd with 2,559, Thomson Licensing (France) 3rd with 907, Apple (US) 4th with 350 and Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (South Korea) 5th with 251.
The reason that the number of the declared standard patents reported to the 3 international standardization agencies in 2020 was that Samsung Electronics intensively declared to ISO/IEC JTC1 about 2,500 patents related to video codec (VVC: Versatile Video Coding, EVC: Essential Video Coding).
Upon reviewing the declared standard patents which were reported to the world 5 standardization agencies including the 3 international standardization agencies (ISO, IEC, ITU) and the major de facto standardization agencies (IEEE and ETSI) by 2020, US took the 1st ranking with 24,661, followed by China 2nd with 21,805, and South Korea 3rd with 17,492 (which had been 4th with 3,735 in 2016).
By the companies owning the declared standard patents reported to the world 5 international standardization agencies, Qualcomm (US) took the 1st with 10,252, followed by Nokia (Finland) 2nd with 10,215, Huawei (China) 3rd with 9,037, Samsung Electronics (South Korea) 4th with 8,719, and LG Electronics (South Korea) 5th with 6,648.
2. An international IP trend discussion was held for export companies
- The latest trends and implications were shared in the IP area of each country according to the changing international circumstances.
KIPO and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Corporation held a ‘global IP hot issue seminar’ by video from May 25 through 28, 2021.
This event was prepared to share the trends in each country’s IP area and the implications for Korean export companies according to the changing international circumstances including Britain’s exit (Brexit) from EU, the trade dispute between the US and China, and the regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP), etc.
Local IP experts including lawyers and patent attorneys in each country attended as speakers in the 4-day event.
The issues discussed included: the plans to secure and manage the EU and GB IP rights, the policy directions of the China National Intellectual Property Administration after the trade dispute between the US and China, and the changes in IP legislation of Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia as the RCEP was concluded.
On May 28, 2021, the US IP Act and the latest policy trends were discussed in depth for 2 hours.
The first part of the discussion was formed of major patent, trade secret and trademark judicial precedents which were published since 2020, and the second part thereof was formed of a panel discussion regarding the US IP policy stance. The second part of the discussion was attended by the US IP field authorities who are difficult to meet in Korea, including Mr. Andrei lancu, former director of USPTO, and Mr. Vincent E. Garlock, executive director of American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA).
3. An opening ceremony of an IP digital innovation center was held to realize high added values of patent data
- KIPO finds the hidden patent D (data).N (network).A (artificial intelligence).
KIPO had an opening ceremony of the IP digital innovation center in the Korea Institute of Patent Information on May 20, 2021 and announced building a digital base to strategically use patent data.
About 490,000,000 worldwide patent data, which are the fruit of advanced technology information created by the efforts and budgets of companies and institutes, etc. of each country, play a role as a leading indicator in global innovation and growth.
Under the current situations that competition for technology supremacy has been accelerated and accordingly a value chain has been reorganized, if patent data were analyzed from multiple perspectives, it could be possible to promptly and accurately understand the flow of technology change and to establish data-based objective technical and industrial strategies.
In this regard, KIPO decided to start the IP digital innovation center to lead the strategic utilization of IP data by combining the artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the entire period from getting data to building, suppling and using the data.
Through the IP digital innovation center, KIPO has a plan to ❶ newly discover useful data in patent documents and ❷ redesign and build database in the structure making it easy to use data. Further, KIPO will ❸ maintain a close cooperation system with a domestic AI profession company and build a platform to share a self-developed AI technology and learning data, etc., thereby supporting a company, a research institute, etc. to perform a digital transformation.
❶ Value enhancement: for new value creation, to build, merge and connect context information and to build AI learning data.
❷ Administrative innovation: to transform database in a structure focused on data utilization, and to intelligentize a patent administration service.
❸ Utilization promotion: to build an intelligence information infrastructure, and to support domestic and overseas intelligent IP service consulting and technology.
The IP digital innovation center’s major functions are as follows:
Value Creation: to newly discover and build useful data, to discover an IP data value, and to merge and connect IP data.
Service innovation: to transform a patent administration and a patent net into digital and to intelligentize a patent administration service.
Utilization support: to open the digital technology such as AI, data, etc. and to build a platform to share and utilize information.
Empowerment: to secure technology and manpower as digital core elements and to strengthen a cooperation system for IP-ecosystem digital innovation.
4. The safety of an electric car is increased by a K-battery technology
- Filing patent applications to strengthen the safety of a battery structure has been active.
According to KIPO, filing patent applications relating to the safety in a battery structure (cell-module-pack) for electric car battery manufacture has been active. The number of patent applications relating to the safety in the battery structure increased from 21 in 2010 to 166 in 2019, showing an increase of 26% as an annual average.
The percentage of the safety-related applications among the total applications related to a battery structure has been 60%~70% which is more than half of the total relevant applications.
This increase is indicated as a result of prioritizing securing the safety in a battery structure to improving the performance as the safety of an electric car has been considered to be important.
Upon reviewing the application trends by the technical field of battery structure (safety field), 38% of the applications relate to a battery cell, 30.4% to a module and 31.6% to a pack. The safety of all of a cell, a module and a pack which are the constituent elements of a battery is important, and specifically, since the safety of the whole battery including a module and a pack is guaranteed when the structure of a battery cell is safe, the cell-related applications are considered as being actively filed.
Upon reviewing the application trends by the detailed technical field of battery structure (safety field), 48% of the applications relate to connecting and blocking an electrode, 21.2% to enclosing and sealing an electrode assembly, 16.2% to cooling and gas discharging, and 14.4% to preventing a protection circuit and a cell from expanding. 55.6% are the applications relating to electricity and protection to smoothly connect an electrode and to block an overcharge/overcurrent.
Applicants of the applications in the battery safety field include, the 3 Korean battery manufacturers, LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation, which have filed about 86.9% of the total relevant Korean applications. Regarding the top 10 applicants, Korean companies and Japanese companies are divided as 5:5. The percentage of the applications filed by Korean companies including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor in addition to the 3 battery companies is higher by more than 6 times than Japanese companies. The number of the applications filed by a Chinese company, BYD, is 11, which is out of the ranking range.
By nationality, considering that China has the world’s largest electric car market, 49.9% of the applications are filed by Chinese nationality, 17.7% by Japanese and 13.6% by Korean, so the applications filed by Chinese prevail.
However, in the top 10 applicants, the percentage of the applications filed by Korean companies is 39.3%, which is ahead of Chinese companies (36.8%) and Japanese companies (18.2%). This is regarded as a result that major Korean battery companies have intensively filed applications to enter the Chinese electric car market.
5. The number of trademark applications for multifunctional products catching COVID-19
- The number of trademark applications having goods such as an unmanned guide for temperature measurement (kiosk), a mask, a portable sterilizer, etc. has increased.
- Upon filing a trademark application, complex functional goods should be described in consideration of major use and function.
“A” wants to file a trademark application by developing an electronic mask having the function of blocking virus and airborne particles and the function of cleaning air. While preparing an application, “A” falls into trouble because he does not know how to describe a name of the goods which the trademark is used on.
Because an air cleaner falls under goods (class 11) belonging to a sterilizing/disinfect device, whereas a product to block fine dust and virus falls under goods (class 10) corresponding to a medical use, and an industrial dust mask falls under goods (class 9) for protection.
According to KIPO, as the contactless industry has developed due to the digital transformation and COVID-19, the number of trademark applications for the relevant goods has steadily increased. Notably, new goods having many functions to cope with COVID-19 or unique ideas have appeared one after another.
A trend of the trademark applications relating to electronic commerce and communication and broadcasting is an increase from 77,095 cases (10%) in 2019 to 91,848 cases (16.1%) in 2020.
Corona-related electronic products and devices include medical freezer containers and fridge containers to store medicines (vaccines, etc.), drug storage management devices, medical diagnosis devices, body temperature measuring kiosks, face fever detecting CCTV cameras, contactless fever detectors (for non-medical use), and non-contact thermometers in a sticker form. The number of trademark applications has also increased for the designated goods classified as heating and disinfecting products, such as portable sterilizers, personal portable tumbler ultraviolet sterilizers, hand sterilizers combined with human body heat detectors.
A trend of trademark applications as for medical devices and masks (class 10) is an increase from 5,859 in 2019 (16.9%) to 7,332 in 2020 (25.1%), and a trend of trademark applications as for heating and sanitary equipment (class 11) is an increase from 5,975 in 2019 (19.3%) to 6,416 in 2020 (6.9%).
Specifically, upon reviewing the class of masks which have become a necessity in the COVID-19 era, the trademark applications for the proposed goods having various shapes and functions are markedly noticeable.
Those proposed goods include an electronic mask adding a function or changing a shape in a virus and/or fine dust blocking mask at the user’s convenience, a transparent mask showing the lips, and a fashion mask enabling the insertion of a sanitary filter.
Notable are the trademark applications for the parts to solve the inconvenience of a mask, for example, a mask holder, a mask holder to prevent the pain of the ears, a scented mask for bad breath suppression, a mask case, etc.
In addition, the trademark applications have been also diverse as for the goods to minimize contact, like a contactless button pressing stick, a contactless wireless switch for an automatic door, etc.
Regarding the corona vaccines and virus remedies, the trademarks, “COVIWIN”, “COVIZERO”, “COVICUT”, have been registered for the first time (April 2, 2021) for the designated goods, such as the medicines and vaccines for treating corona virus and the medicines for diagnosis. The other applications for the trademarks, “SKYCOVID19”, “COVID19 IG”, “Civisma”, “COVI”, “STOP COVID”, have been in examination process.
A trend of trademark applications for medicines (class 5) is an increase from 11,025 in 2019 (13.4%) to 12,818 in 2020 (16.3%).
As the number of trademark applications relating to the goods having complex functions has increased, there has occurred a problem.
When filing a trademark application, an applicant should clearly describe the goods to which the trademark should be used but it is not easy to distinguish the relevant goods.
In the case that the name of goods is improperly selected, since the registration of a trademark may be delayed or rejected, the name of goods should be clearly described in consideration of the major function or use.
For example, an “air cleaning mask” should be classified as a “sanitary mask having an air cleaning function” or a “wearable air cleaner” based on the major function and properties thereof.
In addition, a “transparent mask” which is unclear in its use should not be filed as the name of new goods. This mask should be described by limiting its use to a “transparent mask for sanitation” or a “transparent mask for protection”.
KIPO guides the notified goods and the list for unclear names that it is easy to mistake in the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service: KIPRIS) website (www.kipris.or.kr) and KIPO website (www.kipo.go.kr), so that an applicant can refer to them when describing designated goods.
KIPO also plans to prepare in the KIPO website a corner for suggesting a name of new goods during the first half of this year, to carry forward an active administration.