1. A foreign IP center (IP-DESK) is now available for filing an overseas application.
- KIPO operates an ‘overseas patent application supporting program’ through the IP-DESK.
KIPO and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) announced to recruit applicant businesses for the overseas patent application supporting program, through the IP-DESK, from October 26, 2021, to strengthen the IP protection of Korean companies.
The overseas application support has decided to be expanded from trademark and design applications to patent applications, as a part of a positive administration to respond proactively to the recent global environmental changes, such as the deepening of a patent attack of a foreign company.
Small/medium companies or mid-sized companies which are registered in South Korea and have entered overseas markets or plan to go abroad can apply for the IP-DESK’s overseas patent application supporting program.
When companies which want the overseas patent application support complete a request for support through the KOTRA homepage, the companies will be selected in the order of applying for the request, through document screening such as a business registration and a certificate of a small/medium company or a mid-sized company. The applications close when the budget runs out.
A selected company is supported with up to 50% of the cost of filing an overseas patent application. A support limit is differently applied from USD500 to USD2,500, considering the cost required for filing a patent application per country. Up to 3 cases per year by a company are supported.
Meantime, KIPO has operated 17 IP-DESKs in 11 countries, in cooperation with KOTRA and it has carried forward various support to rapidly solve a problem of a small/medium or mid-sized export company locally.
The IP-DESK supported 1,329 trademark and design applications in 2019 and 1,564 in 2020 for the successful settlement in overseas markets by securing the IPs of the Korean companies. It has also worked hard for the IP protection of Korean overseas expansion companies by providing free legal advice related to IP, supporting costs for investigating damages and infringements and making a legal argument, and responding to a local IP infringement of a Korean wave product.
2. The Korean Design Protection Act, it is now digital.
-A metaverse commemorative event was held for the 60th anniversary of the enactment of the Korean Design Protection Act.
On October 21, 2021, KIPO held the commemorative event of the 60th anniversary of the enactment of the Act in the metaverse environments, such as ifland, Zepeto, etc.
This year, it is the 60th anniversary year since the Act was enacted as Law No. 951 (formerly, the ‘design law’, December 31, 1961). The Act has come in line with the protection of a design owner and the global flow through a total of 45 big or small amendments, thereby having contributed to the industrial development.
This event was prepared to look back on its operation performance and to seek a future of the design system and proceeded on the effective date (October 21, 2021) of the amended Korean Design Protection Act for the protection of a computer-generated graphic designs, icon and etc. which has been carried forward in preparation of the digital 4th industrial era.
This event on the subject ‘Korean Design Protection Act, it is now digital’, was held in the metaverse environment. It was formed of an online academic seminar and a metaverse lecture that design law and system experts and field designers participated, a design right-related exhibition booth and a consulting booth thereof, etc.
In the online academic seminar, the presentation and discussion panels were formed of the design law and system and working experts. Through a video conference platform (webex), an in-depth discussion proceeded regarding the operational performance of the design system for the last 60 years and the future development plans to protect an AI-created design, interior and a convergence design and to strengthen the regulations of an indirect infringement.
In the metaverse lectures, ‘super helpful tips on design protection for designers’ and ‘super helpful tips on contract practice for designers’, a legal expert who was formerly a designer provided a lecture regarding the strategical protection tips for a design and the legal matters for a startup designer to know in the process of promoting business.
Finally, in the KIPO’s trademark and design world built in metaverse, the ‘history of 60 years of the Design Protection Law in view of numbers’ and the ‘top 10 registered designs in Korea’ were shown, the IP consulting booth for designers was operated, etc., and an event for a visitation proof shot using avatar was provided.
3. Korea-Europe IP cooperation was strengthened in the trademark and design fields.
-YongRae KIM, Commissioner of KIPO held a video conference with Christian Archambeau, Executive Director of European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
On October 14, 2021, KIPO held a video conference of the KIPO commissioner and EUIPO executive director in KIPO Seoul office.
In this conference, the two concluded a comprehensive memorandum of understanding (MOU) including the two offices’ general cooperation in the trademark and design fields and discussed a detailed working plan to perform work cooperation.
The comprehensive business agreement included the following:
-cooperation for efficiency in examination administration by using advanced technology, such as metaverse, artificial intelligence, blockchain, etc., in the trademark and design fields;
-exchange of trademark and design database and information; and
-personal exchange, and progress of examiner education, etc.
As interest in a virtual world has increased, the two agreed to strengthen the discussion and cooperation therebetween to effectively protect IP rights including a trademark and a computer-generated graphic design, icon and etc. within metaverse.
Also, the two offices, which have introduced and operated the automatic trademark image search system using artificial intelligence, agreed to cooperate to improve the performance of the search system by exchanging a method of building learning data, etc.
In the case of using a blockchain, since it enables a real-time exchange of the information of a change of a right holder in addition to the registration information of a trademark or a design, the user’s convenience is expected to be improved. In this regard, the two agreed to discuss the providing of a service to exchange the registered information by using a blockchain.
The detailed working plan to be decided in the end of this year, to specifically implement the comprehensive business agreement will include a meeting of information experts to discuss the efficiency of examination administration using the advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, etc., and a meeting of trademark or design experts to share a trademark or design protection plan in metaverse.
In addition, the working plan will include the education for a trademark or design examiner, the exchange of trademark or design registered information, the examination standards and examination systems in the trademark or design field.
4. The advent of the era of display, hologram, which breaks the boundary between real and virtual.
-The number of patent applications related to the hologram image realization technology has increased.
According to KIPO, the number of the Korean patent applications related to the digital hologram technology, filed from 2000 to 2020, increased by 7% per year, over the last 20 years,
As a result of a survey by each of the IP5 including South Korea, US, Japan, Europe and China, the most patent applications were filed in US with 513, followed by South Korea with 328, China with 296, Japan with 212 and Europe with 186. The number of these applications showed an increase trend in most countries, except in Japan.
The state of the relevant Korean patent applications in view of the applicants is that: the most applications were filed by companies, followed by institutes, universities and individuals. Companies filed 71% of the total of these applications, showing a very high rate.
Upon reviewing the relevant Korean patent applications filed over the last 10 years (2010~2020) by major applicants, Samsung filed the most applications with 64, followed by the Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, LG, Kwangwoon University, and the Korea Electronics Technology Institute. It is known that the number of the relevant patent applications filed by Korean small and medium companies, except for Korean big companies, is not enough.