1. The number of international trademark applications filed with Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO, Commissioner: Soo-won LEE) increased… due to business recovery
This year, the number of international trademark applications received in KIPO increased in comparison with the number of the applications received during the same period last year. It has been reported that global business has been improving. According to KIPO, the number of the international trademark applications under the Madrid System received in KIPO from foreign countries during the period from January to the end of May this year is 3,416, an 11.3% increase compared with 3,067 during the same period last year.
Since the Republic of Korea joined the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks in 2003, the number of the international trademark applications received in KIPO sharply increased from 4,958 in 2004, 6,699 in 2005, 9,072 in 2007 and 9,745 in 2008 every year. However, the number thereof greatly decreased to 7,824 in 2009 due to the worldwide economic recession.
Classified by companies, Novartis AG filed the most applications (with 257 during the period from 2003-May 31, 2010), Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. filed 189 applications, Sanofi-aventis filed 188 applications, and Philip Morris Products S.A. filed 171 applications.
A spokesperson of KIPO said, “the number of the international trademark applications under the Madrid System has been increasing according to recent trends in business recovery” and “but the number of the applications using this System filed by Korean companies is in 23rd place in world ranking. Thus, Korean companies need to increase their use of this System.”
2. Click >> KIPO opens a ‘site to prevent a dispute concerning a foreign intellectual property right’ << Click
KIPO announced that it has made available their ‘portal site of disputes concerning foreign intellectual property rights (www.ipfirst.or.kr)’, to prevent disputes concerning intellectual property rights of the companies which plan to extend their businesses abroad. This website is to reduce foreign disputes which the Korean companies may experience because they do not know the intellectual property systems of the foreign countries that they plan to advance into. To this end, this website provides specialized/customized information related to intellectual property rights by countries and subjects.
The main information provided includes information regarding the precedent cases of intellectual property rights in the major countries including the USA, Japan and Europe, among the others; the Korean companies’ dispute cases of foreign intellectual property rights; the trends in patent management by main exports; and matters which Korean companies need to be aware of when they plan to advance abroad.
In addition, this website operates a ‘consultation center of dispute’ through which exporting companies can directly consult about their difficulties and problems.
A spokesperson of KIPO said, “[This website] introduces a variety of the international patent information which Korean companies need to check up before they advance abroad” and “it will continuously provide the patent information in order to prevent the companies from suffering from disadvantages because of their unawareness of the foreign laws and systems.”
3. LG Electronics leads Qualcomm in the LTE international standard
LG Electronics recorded as being in 3rd place in world ranking regarding the patent registration in the field of the fourth-generation mobile communication technology, LTE (long term evolution), by the offensive patent management. Samsung Electronics is in 5th place. LTE is the mobile communication technology which makes it possible to download a movie of 700MB within only one minute, using a mobile phone. LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Qualcomm and Nokia are in competition for the technological standard.
Qualcomm owning the original technology in the LTE field filed the most patent applications (322 applications, 26%). Inter Digital with 198 applications (16%) is in 2nd place, LG Electronics with 125 applications (10%) in 3rd place, Nokia with 109 applications (9%) in 4th place, and Samsung Electronics with 80 applications (6%) in 5th place.
Among 1,238 patents/patent applications registered by these companies and research institutes, 134 are expected to be actually applicable to the digital devices such as mobile phones, notebook PCs and PDAs, among others, and thus to be selected as the candidates for the ‘Utility Patent International Standards’ in the Mobile Telecommunication Standards Institute (3GPP).
According to a survey, LG Electronics is reported to hold 1st ranking with 40 cases (30%), Qualcomm to hold 2nd ranking with 30 cases (22%), and Samsung Electronics to hold 5th ranking with 14 cases (10%), based on the expected candidates for the Utility Patent International Standards.
A portion of the LTE Utility Patent International Standards secured by LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics is over 40% of the total. Thus, Korean companies are expected to take a leading role in organizing a patent pool in the Mobile Telecommunication Standards Institute (3GPP).
4. D-RAM is down and Flash memory is up
- big change in the filing of patent applications related to memory semiconductors-
As portable electronic devices, such as mobile phones, smart phones, MP3, PMP and the like, are widely supplied, a big change is noticed in the ratio of patent applications filed in the memory semiconductor field.
According to KIPO, the ratio of patent applications for D-RAM (which is volatile memory) semiconductors decreased and the ratio of patent applications for flash memory (which is non-volatile memory) semiconductors increased.
In 1990s, which is the beginning of the memory semiconductor industry, the ratio of the D-RAM patent applications was 80% and the ratio of the flash memory patent applications was only about 20%. However, from the early stage of 2000 when the supply of mobile and telecommunication devices started spreading, the number of the flash memory patent applications rapidly increased and for the first time, the ratio thereof was reversed in 2003. Thereafter, the ratio of the flash memory patent applications continuously increased and has reached 74.6% but the ratio of the D-RAM patent applications reduced to 25.4%, showing a complete reversal from the ratio of the patent applications in the nineties.
Such an aspect is considered as having a close relationship to a change in the demand of the electronic devices according to the current trends. In the nineties, as the supply of person computers increased, the demand of D-RAM increased and the number of the relevant patent applications also increased. However, since 2000 when the supply of various portable electronic devices, such as mobile phones, MP3, PMP, USB and large-capacity memory, among others, spread, the demand of flash memory increased and the number of the relevant patent applications also increased.
Classified by applicants of the patent applications filed in this field in 2009, the ratio of the applications filed by Korean applicants (with 85.6%) was much higher than the ratio of the applications field by foreign applicants (with 14.4%). Among the Korean applicants, the major 3 semiconductor companies, Samsung Electronics, Dongbu Hitek and Hynix, held 85.9% of the total number of the applications in this field. Among the foreign applicants, the 3 companies, Toshiba, Fujitsu