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The number of applications for intellectual property (IP) filed in the first half of this year increased by 12.3% and is expected to cross 600,000 cases for the first time this year.(News Letter No. 461)

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KH

Post Date 

2021-08-02

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1. The number of applications for intellectual property (IP) filed in the first half of this year increased by 12.3% and is expected to cross 600,000 cases for the first time this year.

In spite of the hard conditions of COVID-19, the filing of Korean applications for IP (patent, utility model, design and trade) filed in 2021 has been strong for small and medium companies and venture companies.

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of the Korean applications of IP filed during the first half of this year totaled 284,135, increasing by 12.3% compared to the same period of last year.

This number is higher by 3.2%p than the increase rate (9.1%) in the total of the applications filed in 2020 and is higher by 7.8%p compared to the increase rate (4.5%) in the number of the applications filed in the first half of 2020. This is due to the fact that Korean companies’ interests and positive activities in IP have continued in this year despite the uneasy economic situations under COVID-19.

By IP rights, the most cases (143,652) were for trademark applications, showing a rapid rise of 18.9, and 106,657 were for patent applications, showing a high increase of 7.4%.

By the types of applicants, it was notable that small and medium companies and venture companies were the forerunners of innovation, leading the increase in the total number of IP applications.

The total number of IP applications filed by small and medium companies and venture companies during the first half of this year was 87,729, increased by 18.6% compared to the same period of the previous year. Upon looking at the rate of increase, it was the highest over the last 20 years (2001~2021).

The increase rate in the number of the applications filed by the small and medium companies and venture companies was relatively very higher, compared to that (0.3%) by big companies, (6.7%) by universities and public research institutes, and (13.7%) by individuals.

Venture companies filed a total of 30,493 applications, showing an increase of 31.0% close to 3 times compared to the overall average (12.3%) and thus the most remarkable results.

Behind the application filing boom demonstrating the innovative activities like this, the current government’s policy stance valuing IP and ventures was regarded as being greatly helpful.

The current government had promoted IP competitiveness (such as IP finance and a second venture wave realization, etc.) and diverse support policy to intensively foster the venture business. As a result, the number of the applications which previously decreased has increased from 2017 and the increase has been expanded every year, showing the aspect that IP activities have rallied sharply.




2. KIPO has fully launched a ‘technology policy’ to prevent technology leakage and infringement and expands and reorganizes as a technology police department, a trademark police department and an unfair competition investigation team.

According to KIPO, an organization in charge of technical investigation has been newly established and started serious work to prevent the leakage and infringement of a major technology which is a core of the national industrial competitiveness.

The gist of this reorganization is to expand the previous industrial property investigation department which was focused on the crackdown of fakes to the technology police department (technology investigation-dedicated organization), the trademark policy department (trademark investigation-dedicated organization) and the unfair competition investigation team (administration investigation) and to reinforce manpower for technology investigation.

The investigator and examiner manpower has increased from 47 staff members of the industrial property investigation department to 58 staff members (increase by 11) with the technology police department having 22 members, the trademark police department having 29 members and the unfair competition investigation team having 7 members.

The technology investigation-dedicated organization newly established at this time will strongly perform to protect the technology, thereby preventing the national major technology from leaking and being infringed at abroad in the technology competition between countries which intensifies day by day, as seen in the US-China trade war.

In addition, for the rapid and fair technology investigation, KIPO has formed the technology police department of experts specialized in all of technology and law through the examination and trial experience over many years.

KIPO makes use of examination and trial manpower reaching about 1,200, about 500 of which are the relevant field experts, such as lawyers, patent attorneys, etc.

The trademark police have processed about 53,000 reported cases since 2010 and criminally charged about 4,000 people and confiscated about 12,000,000 counterfeit items (corresponding to 520 billion Korea Won as the genuine value).

The trademark police also have fully responded to the large-scale counterfeit control, blocking the distribution of counterfeit health food (corresponding to 65.2 billion Korea Won as the genuine value, in 2015), counterfeit mask pack (corresponding to 20 billion Korea Won, in 2019) and counterfeit automobile wheels (corresponding to 22.5 billion Korea Won, in 2017) and therefore taking the lead in keeping health and safety of the people.

The technology police investigated about 415 complaints and charged criminally 759 people for a short time of 2 years, these numbers are about 17% of the total technology-related cases, based on the number of cases processed per year.




3. A patent trial is to be more rapidly and accurately solved.

-The Korean Patent Act, etc. is amended to introduce an adjustment system and a timely submission system and to prepare a basis for trial support manpower.

To more rapidly settle a dispute at a patent stage and to enhance the accuracy of a patent trial on cutting-edge technology, the amendments to Korean Patent Act, Trademark Act. Design Protection Act, Invention Promotion Act. passed the National Assembly on July 23, 2021.

By these amendments, the adjustment system is introduced making it possible to close a trial through the agreement between the parties even at a patent trial stage, and the timely submission system is introduced leading the parties to intensively submit an argument or evidence at the beginning of the trial.

Further, the basis for trial support manpower to professionally investigate and research a cutting-edge technology is prepared to strengthen the expertise in trial on the cutting-edge technology which has recently appeared.

In detail, first, by the introduction of the adjustment system at a patent trial stage, when in the process of trial, a trial judge considers an adjustment is needed, it is possible to refer the relevant trial case to Korean Intellectual Property Dispute Committee (KIPDC). The trial case referred to KIPDC can be rapidly closed by the agreement between the two parties within 3 months from the date when the case has been referred.

Second, by the introduction of the timely submission system, the parties of a patent trial are to submit an argument or evidence in due course. In the future, the argument or evidence which is submitted later than the time requested by a trial judge, on purpose or by gross negligence, will not be reflected in the examination, putting that party at a disadvantage.

Finally, as the cutting-edge technology has developed, the basis for arranging the relevant field expert as a support manpower is prepared to establish a foundation to strengthen the expertise according to a technological change.




4. A vehicle front window is developed as a display.

-The filing of patent applications relating to a head-up display is active.

The vehicle front window has been evolved. Since the head-up display function for a vehicle is expected to expand to the areas (movie, game, etc.) for improving the driver’s comfort from the simple route information provider, filing the related patent applications has been active.

According to KIPO, the number of the patent applications relating to the head-up display for a vehicle increased from 27 in 2011 to 102 in 2020, showing an annual average increase of 14%.

By applicants, big companies have led the filing of the applications, 434 (49%), followed by small and medium companies with 114 (13.5%) and universities and research institutes with 60 (6.7%).

Many technological developments have been performed by the Korean automobile manufacturers, Hyundai Mobis (93 applications), Hyundai Motor (80) and Hyundai Autron (71), among the others.

Recently, the filing of the patent applications has been actively continued by the electronic and telecommunications industries, LG Electronics (57), Samsung Electronics (36), LG Innotek (17) and SK Telecom (17), among the others.

By technologies, the technology to enhance the quality of an image occupies the largest share (412, 47%), followed by the technology to miniaturize a device or prevent a part performance degradation (155, 18%), the technology to detect the surrounding circumstance (127, 14%), and the technology to control an image by using a driver’s body motion and voice and the expression in the driver’s eyes (79, 9%).

Recently, a digital hologram method has been also developed to display a 3-dimentional image by using a hologram in addition to a two-dimensional image. Since this has merit in that realism is high and a much bigger image can be provided in a small space, the number of the relevant patent applications is expected to gradually increase.

 

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