1. Patent search with a smartphone
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO, Commissioner: Soo-won LEE), they have developed “Patent Search” which is an application for a smartphone and “Mobile KIPO (m.kipo.go.kr)” which is a mobile homepage and started full service on October 22, 2010.
The number of Korean smartphone subscribers has rapidly increased, numbering 4,400,000. The number of the subscribers is expected to reach 6,000,000 by the end of this year. KIPO selected a killer service called “Patent Search” for the patent information with the number of annual search times exceeding 23,000,000 and released the application for smartphones.
A user of this service can know an applicant, whether a patent is registered, or the patent contents, by using a patent application number or registration number described on a product in daily use. Therefore, this service is expected to be useful in determining whether a patent number is true or not.
According to a spokesperson of KIPO, the “Patent Search” has been developed by thorough preparation and verification, based on the work with high level of difficulty to search massive data of about 37,000,000 cases (as of the end of August 2010, based on the Korean patent information) within a short time of 1~2 seconds, to provide a searched content to a smartphone.
The “Mobile KIPO” service has been developed, focused on web-accessibility, so as to be available to various smartphones. Thus, if phones (such as Android, iPhone windows phone, etc.) have a mobile web-browser, any users of the phones are able to access the homepage for the service, regardless of the operating systems of the phones.
2. The Republic of Korea is taking the lead in the patents relating to the next generation DMB (AT-DMB)
Korean companies and institutions are taking the lead in the patents relating to the next generation terrestrial digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) enabling to view a TV service of high-definition on a wide screen of about 14 inches and to search information on a scene being on air.
According to KIPO, as a result of analyzing 492 patents filed with the world’s major 4 Patent Offices (including KIPO, USPTO, EPO) during the period from January 1993 to October 2009, the next generation DMB technology-related patents filed with KIPO are 44.5% (with 219 cases) of the total of the patents, ranking first. The patents filed with JPO are 35.7% (with 176 cases), the patents filed with USPTO are 12.6% (with 62 cases), and the patents filed with EPO are 7.1% (with 36 cases).
By nationality of the applicants of the patents filed with each Patent Office, Korean applicants of the patents filed with KIPO are 93.2%, which is really overwhelming. Among the patents filed with EPO and USPTO, the patents filed by Korean companies and institutions are respectively 51.4% and 33.9%, showing that Korean companies are set to secure a number of foreign patents.
The reason why Korean companies have a lot of the DMB patents is considered as the groundwork for securing the initiative in the mobile TV market in the era of smartphones.
3. Focusing on securing the next generation core original technology
To grow the sunlight as a second semiconductor industry, the Korean government has started concentrating all its efforts in developing the next generation original technology, such as thin film, dye-sensitization, and nano organic method, among others, by digging deeper from the current crystalline silicon solar cell.
In the silicon-based solar cell field, in fact the Republic of Korea is behind the advanced countries, US, Germany and Japan. However, in the next generation cell, the Republic of Korea is almost on even ground. If the Republic of Korea secures, one step ahead, the next generation technology of high-efficiency and low-price, it will go ahead in patent competition and be able to take the lead in the market in the future when the world’s demand for solar cells expands.
The Korean government also focuses on the promotion of the solar cell-related material and equipment industries which have been indicated as a weak point in the solar cell field.
The government has spported small but strong companies which are competent in the field of materials (such as paste) and steadily developed projects to connect these companies to big Korean user companies. In addition, the government has a plan to more develop externally and internally Korean companies (such as Joosung Engineering Inc. and Shinsung FA, among others) which are making a good fight in the field of equipment, to raise these companies as the next generation runners leading the world equipment market.
At present, in the world solar cell equipment market, Germany has 40% market share, US has 30% market share and Japan has 20% market share. The market share of the Republic of Korea is less than 1%, which is very slight.
The government has a plan to expand a R&D support percentage of solar cell components, materials and equipment of middle and small companies by 50% or more until 2012.
Not limiting to the R&D, the government has decided to promote the win-win R&D between large user companies and middle and small supplier companies/major companies and to manage a policy of preferentially treating the purchase-conditional R&D.
4. KIPO will raise 400 patent star companies
KIPO will raise 400 ‘patent star companies’ by 2012.
KIPO published a ‘plan to strengthen the support of intellectual property (IP) management of middle and small companies’. A patent star company is referred to as a middle, small or venture company which guides and leads a local economy through the core patent technology-based commercialization and patent management.
To this end, KIPO has a plan to strengthen the support for IP creation, protection, utilization and infra field in about 4600 middle and small companies, by a total of 120 billion Korea Won by 2012. Among these companies, 400 excellent companies will be selected as the patent star companies to be supported.
For three years, KIPO will intensively support these patent start companies with the tailored program, such as (1) prior art searches by general patent information consulting, (2) support for application filing fees, and (3) prototype manufacturing.
As a specific support plan, the support project for connecting high-tech component and material IP-R&D (intellectual property-research & development) and the project for sending a private IP strategy expert, which have been implemented without distinguishing a major company and a middle and small company, are promoted as the support projects for a middle and small company only. As another specific support plan, the support project for brand and design creation, which has been jointly promoted with some metropolitan councils, will be expanded to 16 metropolitan councils from the next year.