1. G5-advanced country Patent Offices promotes the patent examination cooperation system
The cooperation among the five (5) advanced countries in the intellectual property (IP) fields has been accelerated in order for patent applications filed in foreign countries to be prosecuted at a faster pace. The meeting of the officials of the Patent Offices from the G5-advanced countries in the IP fields was held in Beijing, China on January 28 and 29, 2010. The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO, Commissioner: Jung-sik KOH) announced that, in this meeting, the Patent Offices of the Republic of Korea, US, Japan, Europe and China would agree to start ten (10) common projects for the mutual cooperation.
The Patent Offices of the five (5) countries will shorten the patent examination period of a patent application to the maximum, by using the materials of any Patent Office that first conducts the examination of the patent application filed in a plurality of countries.
The five (5) countries, including the Republic of Korea, are great IP countries holding 77% of all of the world patent applications.
Based on an agreement in the meeting, the Patent Offices of the five (5) countries are to construct the common patent search database for harmonization in the different patent examination environments according to the countries and they will promote diverse projects such as patent classification and examination result sharing systems.
KIPO will lead the cooperation of these five (5) countries in the fields of patent examiner education and training and foreign language automatic translation programs, among others.
Results of the meeting of the officials from the G5 Patent Offices will be finally decided in the meeting of the commissioners from the Patent Offices, which will be held in China in April this year.
2. New fields of a patent information search has been open
The use of the Korean Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS) has shown a high increase of 28%, at an annual average, for the last five (5) years. KIPO announced that, from January 4, 2010, KIPRIS started new services by increasing the degree of convenience in using the Korean Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS) and the scope of patent information provided by the KIPRIS.
Through KIPRIS, people can read or conduct a free-search of the Korean and foreign patent information via the internet. KIPRIS is generally used for a prior art search or to gain an understanding of the technological trend.
The major contents of the new services are the search service of foreign trademarks in the US, Japan, Australia and other countries, and the status service of foreign patent administrative progress information in the US, Japan, Europe and other countries.
Further, new functions are added to offer greater search convenience. The examples of the newly added functions include: the function of automatically completing a key word when inputting the key word, the function of automatically expanding a similar word and a loanword (a word taken from another language and adopted/used in the Korean language) of the input key word, and the function of re-classifying the searched results, among others.
In addition, the number of the international application publications of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) increased by about 330,000, by jointly using the search database for KIPO examiners.
3. The Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) brought the biggest patent trial against twenty-two (22) companies including Nokia, among others… “infringement of the international standards of the third-generation communication technology… royalties of one trillion Korea Won are expected”
Two of the foreign mobile phone companies already agreed to pay ‘twenty billion Korea Won’
It is confirmed that ETRI, a governmental research institute, brought a patent infringement trial against twenty-two (22) worldwide mobile phone companies including Nokia and Motorola.
ETRI possesses the patent(s) for international standards related to the third-generation mobile communication. ETRI already reached an agreement about the royalties of about 20 billion Korea Won with two companies. Through this trial, ETRI is expected to secure the biggest royalties of 1 trillion Korea Won.
In view of the scale of the trial related to a technology patent which a Korean company or agency has been brought against a foreign company, this is the biggest.
Through SPH America, a trial agency, on August 2009 ETRI brought the patent infringement trial before the California Court in the US against the worldwide nineteen (19) mobile companies including Nokia and Motorola, among the others. ETRI has been proceeding with the legal procedures for the trial.
In 2008, ETRI also brought the patent infringement trial against Sony Ericsson, Kyocera of Japan and HTC of Taiwan. Including these companies, a total of twenty-two (22) mobile phone companies have been involved with the patent infringement trials filed by ETRI.
ETRI’s technologies were selected as the international standards in 2000. All of the companies manufacturing the third-generation mobile communication phones have been using the ETRI’s technologies which are the international standards.
4. The website for confirming criteria for patent examination is open
A person who files a patent application for an invention can find, online, which examination criteria the invention is registered/patented on and the person may be able to submit his/her opinion of the improvement.
On January 17, 2009, KIPO announced that the website for ‘patent examination criteria’ (www.kipo.go.kr/patguideline) would be built to be operated, to increase the clarity of patent examination administration and to expand the participation of customers/people.
This website provides not only the Korean materials (such as examples to which each of itemized examination criteria is applied, precedents of the Supreme Court and Patent Court, and so on) but also the examination criteria and representative precedents of the advanced countries, such as the US and Japan, among others.
KIPO has a plan to gradually increase the number of examination referential materials, from about 300 at present to about 1,000 until the end of this year.
Further, the examination criteria of the requirements for patentability of an invention filed in a Korean patent application will be provided in English, to be used by foreign applicants. Anyone can visit boards prepared by items in the website, to freely submit his/her opinion to improve the patent criteria.