1. The Korea and Europe Patent Office Commissioners agreed to strengthen patent information cooperation
The 10th meeting of the Korea-Europe Patent Office Commissioners was held at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul, Korea. In the meeting, Mr. Jung-sik KOH, Commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and Ms. Alison Brimelow, President of the European Patent Office (EPO) agreed to mutually cooperate in addressing the major pending problems, such as the patent information cooperation and the expansion of examiner exchange program, among others, between the two Offices.
In this meeting, the two Commissioners agreed that:
- KIPO uses, for a predetermined period, a trial program of the “EPOQUE-NET” which is the patent search system of EPO,
- the two Patent Offices construct, as soon as possible, the system to exchange the examination information of either Patent Office, through the internet,
- Korean patent examiner(s) participate in the four (4) courses for the EPO examiner education program, and
- the two Patent Offices newly develop and promote the patent examiner exchange program.
In addition, the two Commissioners sympathized with the necessity for introducing the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) between KIPO and EPO and agreed to immediately promote a feasibility study thereof.
2. The number of patent applications related to hand sanitizers and sanitizing machines due to the new flu
As the new flu has spread, the number of patent and utility model applications related to sanitizers and sanitizing machines for disinfecting hands has rapidly increased.
According to KIPO, the number of Korean patent and utility model applications for hand sanitizers and sanitizing machines was only 102 for nine (9) years from 2000 to 2008 but it reached 32 as of the end of October from January, 2009.
Most hand sanitizers are prepared by adding ingredients such as a skin moisturizer, an herb or fruit extract, an enzyme, coloring matter and an aromatic essence, among others, to a basic antibacterial agent, generally alcohol or the like. As an antibacterial agent, silver (Ag) ions are also used.
Sanitizing machines may be of the following types: those spraying a sanitizer by sensing hands approaching a sanitizing machine, those supplying a sanitizer to a ultrasonic cleaner like a cleaner for glasses, and those operating an air shower while providing ultraviolet rays after spraying a sanitizer, among other types.
Furthermore, an advertise board or a monitor may be connected to a sanitizing machine. In this case, during the sanitizing of the hands, people may watch an advertisement. Or, a sanitizing device may be connected to a circuit of a door switch device so that the door is open only when hands are sanitized.
“As the new flu has spread, people’s concern about personal sanitation has remarkably increased. Therefore, the number of patent applications for the hand sanitizers and sanitizing machines improving antibacterial performance and convenience is expected to further increase,” said a spokesperson of KIPO.
3. Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm co-owned the patent cross license
On November 5, 2009, Samsung Electronics announced that they concluded the mobile communication-related patent cross license agreement with Qualcomm Incorporated, a company of manufacturing Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) semiconductor chips. The subjects of the license are the mobile communication-related technologies, such as CDMA, Wideband-CDMA (WCDMA) and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), among others, which are owned by the two companies. According to this agreement, Samsung Electronics decided to separately pay the prepayment of US$1.3 billion and the ordinary royalty to Qualcomm. The term for the agreement is fifteen (15) years.
Further, Samsung Electronics is to transfer their fifty-seven (57) patents to Qualcomm.
This agreement which amended the existing royalty agreement between the two companies is known as providing more favorable conditions to Samsung Electronics.
4. KIPO strengthens the support to the intellectual property of a company advancing into China.
The number of Korean companies advancing into China is again increasing. In this situation, the government will positively support the companies to obtain patents in the fields of the high-tech technologies, such as semiconductors, LCDs and automobiles, among others.
KIPO announced that, KIPO and KOTRA (the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency) would support the intellectual property strategies concerning the Korean companies’ intellectual property damages and technology leak in the fields of the high-tech businesses advanced in China, through the ‘IP-Desk’ (which is the window in charge of protecting the intellectual property rights in foreign countries) in China.
For this purpose, KIPO will hold a new technology presentation to the examiners of the State Intellectual Property Office which is the Chinese patent examination agency, thereby increasing the understanding of new technologies so that the Korean companies advancing into China can obtain patents faster and that are more accurate. KIPO and the Chinese Patent Attorney Association will operate the translation education to Chinese patent attorneys and translators, to prevent the Chinese patents/patent applications filed by the Korean companies (such as LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics, among others) from being wrongly translated by the Chinese natives and thus being invalid.
Korean companies related to the businesses of LCD and automobiles, among others, as well as semiconductors have actively advanced into China. In fact, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are reviewing extensions of installation of LCD factories in China, and Hyundai and Kia are reviewing extensions of automobile factories therein. According to analysis, this is because, as Chinese domestic markets have been developed, the Chinese government uses differentiated policies, depending on whether a company establishes a local subsidiary and a R&D center within China or it merely exports.