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Korean precedent patent trial cases are available (News Letter No.192)



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1. Korean precedent patent trial cases are available

Our firm’s website provides a collection of Korean precedent patent trial cases in English. Please visit our website (www.pkkim.com) if you wish to access this Korean IP information.

For your reference, please be informed that since the Korean Patent Court was established in March of 1998, the Patent Court has taken great strides to maintain the consistency in the requirements for registering a patent, utility model, design and trademark and in the interpretation of a registered right. As the result, the rate which a decision made by the Patent Court is annulled by the Supreme Court has been significantly decreasing. In this view, it is advisable to clearly understand the holdings of the precedent cases regarding each issue made by the Court and to effectively apply the relevance of the case.

In Korea, 25% of patent applications and 36% of patent trials (based on the years of 2006 and 2007) were filed by foreigners. Accordingly, foreign applicants/patentees have been interested in the holdings of patent-related precedent cases handed down by the Korean Patent Court and Supreme Court, and it is important for them to do so.

Taking the aforementioned matters into account, our firm’s senior partner patent attorneys, who served as examiners and judges in KIPO and technical examination officials in the Patent Court, have collected those precedent cases regarding the issues considered as being the most urgent/necessary, which were finally confirmed by the Supreme Court after the establishment of the Patent Court.

The collection still needs to be supplemented because it covers only selected issues. We promise to continue improving and adding more precedent cases regarding more issues, to clarify the holdings of the precedent cases. We hope that the precedent cases provided by our firm will be a base for your firm to effectively deal with patent applications and disputes in Korea.

2. The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO, Commissioner: Soo-won LEE) will export a patent classification service of $750,000 to the US

- Following the last year, it is the second year that KIPO is established as an real exporter of intelligent property services

It is announced that KIPO agreed to export the 750,000 dollar patent classification service to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and concluded the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with USPTO in Kelim, China on April 16, 2010 (Friday).

Jung-sik KOH, the former Commissioner of KIPO, attended the meeting of the commissioners from the 5 advanced countries (“IP5”) in the intellectual property fields, which was held in Kelim, China during April 15 (Thursday) and 16 (Friday), 2010. Mr. KOH and David KAPPOS, the Director of USPTO signed the MOU to provide the patent classification service.

The patent classification service is to assign the internationally unified codes according to the technical contents, so that the technical documents published by the Patent Office of each country during the patent application filing and registering processes can be efficiently managed and used. Thus, this patent classification service is a high-level intelligence service requiring specialized knowledge and patent examination capacity of each technology.

Last year, USPTO requested KIPO for the 250,000 dollar patent classification service. This second request of USPTO is considered as showing that KIPO’s patent examination and patent classification capacity are highly evaluated internationally.

USPTO’s additional requests for KIPO’s patent classification service are expected to be continued in the future. Moreover, countries other than the US are showing interest in the KIPO’s patent classification service. Therefore, the patent classification service is expected to be a new intelligence export service.

3. A majority of Japanese companies have experienced “the infringement of their intellectual property rights in China”

More than a majority of companies questioned answered that they “were damaged regarding intellectual property rights in China”. They indicated that the methods of partially changing a company name or the methods of imitating a label and product have been gradually skillfully developed. That is, the label and product to be imitated are manufactured and assembled in different factories.

This survey has been conducted with respect to 262 Japanese companies with the economic industry focused on a manufacturing business from December 2009 to February 2010. The 138 companies, more than a half of the companies answering the survey, stated that their intellectual property rights were infringed in China. (71 companies in 2007 and 73 companies in 2008 answered that their intellectual property rights were infringed in China.) Classified by the contents of infringements, the most infringements (80%) were made on trademark rights.

A Chinese company has infringed the sports shoes and labels of ‘Asics’. The intellectual property team of ‘Asics’ voiced the complaint that “the damage of its copyright is increasing every year. We have requested the Chinese government to prepare a countermeasure. However, they do not take any positive actions. Thus, the damages are continuously increasing.” Against the Chinese authorities’ attitude showing that imitation is not wrong, a spokesperson of ‘Mizuno’, a maker of sports goods, strongly criticized that “even though the economy is developed, [China] cannot be a leading country in such a situation.”

According to the survey, the number of the infringement cases caught in China increased from 2868 in 2007 to 3153 in 2008. However, 30~40% of the companies answered that they were not sure that the infringers were punished. Thus, after an infringement action is exposed, it is unknown whether any measures to prevent the reoccurrence of the infringement action are properly taken.

4. LG Group will earn money by intellectual property

LG group overall will change the intellectual property (IP) strategies, from a defensive manner to an offensive manner. LG group established the patent special organization. LG group will greatly increase the patent specialist manpower and extensively organize the patent manpower. “The patent strategies will change to be focused on offence from defense… Specifically, a patent council to handle and take full charge of all patent work has been established in the LG group,” said Jung-hwan LEE, a vice president of the patent center of LG Electronics.

LG Electronics plans to increase the number of the patent center staff from about 200 now to 230 within this year and to make an ‘offensive patent’ roadmap. Specifically, LG Electronics warns people of an extensive home-appliance patent offense, by presenting that they have the patent priority in the white home-appliance field, such as refrigerators, washers and air-conditioners, among others.

Mr. LEE said, “The importance of a preemptive offense becomes greater in the patent market. As a patent troll which abnormally uses a patent appears, there is a limit in defense. LG rises from a weak patent holder to a strong patent holder by the accumulated technical performance. Specially, LG core technology in home-appliances is abundant and thus has the basis to produce results by patents.”

He also emphasized, “[By] changing IP strategies to the offensive manner, LG will make tremendous profits through patent enforcement over the years.”



The number of patent applications filed during the first quarter of this year increased by 5.9%...due to business recovery (News Letter No.193)


The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO, Commissioner: Soo-won LEE) tentatively introduces an ‘Community Patent Review’ (News Letter No.191)