1. According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO, Commissioner: Soo-won LEE), the number of both applications and registrations of intellectual property rights in the second quarter increased
The number of both patent applications and registrations in the second quarter of this year increased in comparison with the number of the applications and registrations during the same period last year.
According to the ‘intellectual property trend the second quarter of 2010’, published by KIPO, the number of the applications for intellectual property rights in the second quarter was 92,413, showing an increase of 3.3% compared with the number of the applications during the same period last year.
By rights, the number of patent applications was 41,078, an increase of 6.2%, and the number of trademark applications was 33,008, an increase of 7.6%. However, the number of utility model applications was 3,627, a decrease of 23.4%, and the number of design applications was 14,700, a decrease of 4.2%. By nationalities, the number of applications filed by Korean applicants was 77,501, an increase of 3.3%, compared with that during the same period last year and the number of the applications filed by foreign applicants was 14,912, an increase of 3.5%.
By research entities, the number of the applications filed by universities increased by 15,4%, the number of the applications filed by public research institutes increased 14.5%, and the number of the applications filed by big companies increased by 7.8%; whereas, the number of the applications filed by small and medium companies decreased by 17.8% and the number of the application filed by foreign companies decreased by 22.7%.
The number of registration cases increased by 3.8% compared with the number of the registration cases during the same period last year. By rights, the number of patents was 16,262, an increase of 15.1%, and the number of designs was 8,318, an increase of 5.8%. However, the number of utility models was 976, a decrease of 10.5%, and the number of trademarks was 13,228, a decrease of 7.4%. By nationalities, the number of the cases registered by the Koreans was 31,383, an increase of 8.7%, but the number of the cases registered by foreigners was 7,401, a decrease of 12.7%.
By research entities, the number of public research institutes increased by 19.3% and the number of big companies increased by 0.8% but the number of small and medium companies was 9,242, a decrease of 3.5%.
The number of requests for examination was 39,203, an increase of 5.8%. However, the number of trials was 3,559, a decrease of 14.4%.
2. KIPO has simplified the procedure to renew a trademark right
KIPO announced that since July 28, 2010, the system had been improved to lessen the burden of a trademark right owner by making it possible to renew a trademark right without additionally filing an application for renewal.
Above all, the Trademark Law has been amended. When a trademark right owner renews the trademark term of ten (10) years at present, it is possible to renew the trademark right only by the payment of the registration fees, without filing any application for trademark registration. Prior to this amendment to the Trademark Law, it was necessary for a trademark right owner to file an application to renew a registered trademark in addition to the payment of registration fees, in order to renew the trademark term which is ten (10) years at present.
Further, prior to this amendment to the Law, the trademark registration fees for ten (10) years should be paid in one payment within two (2) months from the date when a decision to grant a trademark for registration is made. However, the amended Law has been changed so that the trademark registration fees are payable in two installments.
In addition, when an applicant withdraws or abandons a trademark application after filing the application with KIPO, the fees to be refunded from KIPO have increased. At present, when an applicant withdraws or abandons a trademark application within one (1) month from filing the trademark application, only the fees for filing the application are refunded. However, in the future, the fees for claiming a priority of a trademark application will be refunded.
3. Korean pharmaceutical companies are enthused by a series of patent term expirations
Korean pharmaceutical companies lacking any new medicine releases have been finding a way out by releasing generic medicines, starting with the expiration of the patent term of “Hepsera”.
Additionally, in the second half of this year, the patent term of “Allelock Tablet” by Sam-Oh Pharm. Co., Ltd. and the patent term of “Yuhan Meropen Injection” by Yuhan Corporation will expire.
Furthermore, next year, the patents on medicines, such as “Valtrex” of GSK, “Zyprexa” of Lilly Korea, “Gasmotin Tablet” of Daewoong Pharmacutical Co., Ltd., “Aprovel” and “CoAprovel” of Handok Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., “Clexane” of Sanofi-Aventis, and “Singulair” of Korea MSD, will expire.
During the period from 2009 to the first half of 2010, only two patents, “Actonel” and “Ganaton (itopride)”, expired. Considering this point, the patent expiration of a number of medical products seems to be an opportunity for Korean pharmaceutical companies.
This is for a considerable number of the products, the patent terms of which will expire next year are blockbuster medicines, each being more than 10 billion Korea Won.
In the case of Hepsera, the generic products of which are continuously released, the amount of prescriptions last year was recorded as 55 billion Korea Won. In addition, 48 billion Korea Won was recorded in the case of Gasmotin, 27 billion Korea Won was recorded in the case of Yuhan Metropen Injection, and 8.5 billion Korea Won was recorded in the case of Allelock Tablet.
Furthermore, the total prescription amount of the medical items for which the patent term will expire from this year to the next year is about 200 billion Korea Won, including11 billion Korea Won for Valtrex Tablet, 25 billion Korea Won for Zyprexa, 38 billion Korea Won for CoAprovel, 40 billion Korea Won for Singulair.
Accordingly, Korean pharmaceutical companies having permission and are waiting to release their products is from a few companies to more than 20 companies.
In the generic market, since a pharmaceutical company earlier releasing a product can hold a dominant position in the market in spite of the risk of patent litigation, many companies are preparing for earlier release of the product.
In the patent litigation area which has been for some years, since no patent of a multinational pharmaceutical company has been extended, the recent mood is that Korean pharmaceutical companies are willing to deal with a lawsuit.
4. The number of the patent applications relating to online education is increasing
The number of the patent applications relating to the online education is steadily increasing, based on the high zeal for education and the vitalization of the internet courses.
According to KIPO, the number of the patent applications relating to the online education has been steadily increasing from 93 in 2005, 113 in 2006, 165 in 2007 to 190 in 2008. The number of those applications fell back a little to 166 in 2009 due to the aftereffects of financial crisis at the end of 2008. However, KIPO expects the number of the applications to recover from 2010.
KIPO also announced that the inventions relating to online education mainly include the matters which break away from the traditional simple cramming manners. There are many patent applications providing a service to grow an avatar or character replacing a user in the online space, based on an academic achievement, to continuously stimulate learning motivation. The number of patent applications with technology to arouse a learner’s interest by providing