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Beginning this year, the Korean Intellectual Property Tribunal (KIPT) decided to permit an oral hearing and the reversal/remand of an original decision (News Letter No.185 )



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1. Beginning this year, the Korean Intellectual Property Tribunal (KIPT) decided to permit an oral hearing and the reversal/remand of an original decision

- KIPT’s major work direction in 2010

KIPT of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO, Commissioner: Jung-sik KOH) decided to reform the KIPT’s proceeding from a document proceeding to an oral hearing proceeding.

The oral hearing proceedings correspond to those in a court. Both concerned parties of patent trial are present in a court and have a legal dispute before the panel of three judges (Chief Judge, Judge and Assistant Judge), to clarify a point of the dispute and to increase the acceptability of the resulting judgment.

KIPT further decided to expand the subject of a prompt trial to promptly proceed with a trial process within four months, to meet with this request from demanders. The subject of the prompt trial will include a trial related to green technology, the patent examination of which is also conducted in a shortened period, a trial for scope confirmation of a right related to an infringement trial pending in a court, and a trial for correction filed during the process of a trial for invalidation of a patent, thereby making it possible for the concerned parties to possibly use the results of the trials in the court proceeding.

KIPT decided to support small and medium companies to effectively solve patent disputes at low costs, by maximally using the patent trial system in the era of the patent battles becoming keener day by day.

2. The number of patent and trademark international applications filed by Korean applicants is increasing, in spite of international economic downturn

- In 2009, the number of applications under PCT increased by 1.4% and the number of applications under Madrid increased by 30.6%

Last year, the number of Korean applications for intellectual property rights decreased in view of the worldwide economic downturn. However, the number of patent and trademark international applications increased in view of active overseas expansion of Korean companies and the expectation for business recovery.

According to KIPO’s data, the number of Korean patent applications was 156,885 in 2009, with a decrease of 8.1% compared to 170,632 in 2008. However, the number of the foreign patent applications through the PCT system was 8,026 in 2009, with an increase of 1.4% compared to 7,913 in 2008. These results were made under the prospect that the number of PCT international applications by the major advanced countries including the US, among others, decreased because of the economic downturn. Therefore, these results appear to show a good outlook for the Korean companies’ foreign technology competition.

Classified by applicants, the number of the international applications filed by companies or research institutes was 6,274 (with 78.2%), and the number of the international applications filed by individuals was 1,752 (21.8%). Among the companies or research institutes, LG Electronics filed the most applications (with 1,093), followed by Samsung Electronics (with 534) and the Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (with 184).

The number of the international applications under the Madrid Protocol (which is the trademark international application system) filed by Korean applicants sharply increased, compared with that in 2008.

The number of the trademark international applications was 216 in 2008 with a decrease of 23.7% compared with that in 2007. However, the number of the trademark international applications was 282 in 2009 with an increase of 30.6% compared with that in 2008.

3. The number of PCT international search cases conducted by KIPO at requests of foreign applicants continues to increase

The number of PCT international search cases which foreign applicants requested KIPO in 2009 was 13,978, with an increase of 20.0% compared with 11,653 in 2008. Among the PCT international search cases, 95.6% were requested by the US companies, such as Hewlett-Packard (HP), Microsoft (MS) and 3 M, among others. The income totaled over $10,000,000.

The number of PCT international search cases indicated an explosive growth, 735 in 2006, 2853 in 2007, 11,653 in 2008 and 13,978 in 2009.

The income according to the PCT international searches was only $200,000 in 2006 but it was recorded as $10,000,000 in 2009, with a rapid increase of about fifty times for four years. The income thereof in 2009 was more than three times, compared with $3,000,000 in 2008.

KIPO was flooded with the requests from the information technology (IT) companies, such as Microsoft (MS), 3M and HP, among the foreign companies filing a number of applications. MS requested a total of 2,233 PCT international search cases from 2006 to 2009. During the same period, 3M requested 1,424 cases, HP requested 1,245 cases, Intel requested 677 cases and Motorola requested 527 cases. The number of the search/examination cases requested by the US companies is increasing more and more. Recently, Yahoo, Google and GM have requested KIPO to conduct the international search.

The reasons why the requests for the PCT international search have been flocked in KIPO are that, first, the international search fees ($1,092 per case) is about a half of the fees ($2,080 per case) of the USPTO or the fees ($2,515 per case) of European Patent Office, and second, the high quality service of the international search is provided by excellent examination manpower. Further, the point that perfect prior art searches of not only English but also Korean and Japanese literatures are possible is one of the reasons for foreign companies to look for KIPO.

4. Samsung Electronics agreed to terminate a patent dispute with Rambus

Samsung Electronics and Rambus, a US semiconductor technology company, which had been involved with the patent dispute, have concluded a patent license contract and agreed to withdraw all of the relevant trials.

On the conditions that Samsung pay a total of $700,000,000 to Rambus for five years, Samsung concluded the license contract to use the patented technology related to all of the semiconductor products.

According to the contract, Samsung Electronics will pay $200,000,000 as a prepayment to Rambus and pay $25,000,000 every quarter for five years in the future. Samsung Electronics will take over new stocks issued by Rambus at a total of $200,000,000 and secure a share of 8%.

The amount paid to Rambus by Samsung Electronics is expected to be about a total of one trillion Korea Won including the investment for shares. The license contract will be again concluded in 2015.

By this agreement, the two companies agreed to withdraw the patent related trial(s).



G5-advanced country Patent Offices promotes the patent examination cooperation system (News Letter No.186)


The Commissioners of the Patent Offices of three countries, the Republic of Korea, China and Japan, agreed to promote the intellectual property cooperation (News Letter No. 184)