1. KIPO starts supporting promising patent technology commercialization
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced that it would operate a program for supporting ‘2011 promising patent technology commercialization strategies’, where the promising patent technologies owned by universities and public research institutes are thought to be industrially useful.
KIPO plans to primarily input experts in every field to find those technologies which are believed to have great market power and economical effects among the patent technologies owned by universities and public research institutions. As a follow-up, KIPO will support special consulting regarding the finally selected technologies so that the patent technologies may be better used through patent analysis and reinforcement, foreign right security support, technology demand market analysis, technical transfer and commercialization strategy establishment, etc.
“KIPO will strategically support the promising patent technologies owned by universities and public research institutions so as to be transferred at proper prices by connecting patent right and commercialization”, said Mr. Ki-beom KIM, a head of the industrial property improvement department of KIPO.
2. A patent troll swallows RFID
The Korean RFID (radio frequency identification) industry is getting a fatal blow by a sudden attack of a foreign patent management company.
According to the relevant industry, it is confirmed that Sisvel, a global patent management company, sent patent warning notices to most Korean RFID companies. The relevant Korean industry is in a near state of panic due to the sudden patent offensive from Sisvel.
Some big companies and leading companies have started analyzing the patents through patent teams. However, small and middle companies cannot even conceive the idea of countermeasures. Some raise a concern that the Korean RFID industry may collapse before it springs up.
Last month, Sisvel, an Italian patent management company, was entrusted with forty-five (45) core patents from the ‘UHF (ultra high frequency) FRID Consortium’ and has sent the warning notices to the Korean companies.
The UHF RFID Consortium is an organization established in 2007 by seven (7) companies and agencies including 3M, HP, LG Electronic and ETRI among the others, to manage core patents. In 2009, for the patent license management, this organization entrusted Sisvel with the major power regarding litigation and royalty contracts. The number of the patents secured from the Consortium is a total of 45. Among these, 30 patents except for duplicate patents are estimated as having substantial effects.
Through the warning notices, Sisvel requested that the relevant Korean companies should make royalty contracts by March 30, 2011. If the royalty contracts were made within that period, one hundred million Korea Won may be paid per one hundred million tags and 5~8 US dollars may be paid per reader. However, a company making a contract after that period shall pay 3.5 times the proposed conditions.
The relevant Korean companies have been embarrassed. First of all, they argued that the royalties were too highly priced. For the RFID activation, the government and industry have lowered the price every year and promoted its wide use by applying a reader to a mobile phone.
3. Obtaining rights for ‘fashion-conscious designs for bags or wares’
- Operation of Enforcement Decrees and Enforcement Rules of the Design Protection Law reflecting the expansion of items subjected to non-examination and the expansion of 3D drawing filing formats
KIPO announced that the sub-legislation under the Design Protection Law would be put into force from April 1, 2011, reflecting the contents that the items for a design subjected to non-examination would be greatly expanded to make it possible to early obtain rights for those articles which are fashion-conscious, easily imitated and have a short lifecycle.
The number of the items for a design subjected to non-examination is expanded from ten (10) classes (relevant articles: 2,460; filing rate for the last five (5) years: 22.6%) to eighteen (18) (relevant articles: 3,742; filing rate for recent five (5) years: 32.4%). The operation of this expansion of the items for a design subjected to non-examination is related to the trend of expanding non-examination of a design, the fast securing of a right of an applicant and the intension of shortening an examination process period in KIPO. For this end, KIPO has already modified the relevant internal regulations including the shortening of the period of processing a design application subjected to non-examination within 30 days.
In addition, for the expansion of a design application with a 3D drawing(s) which was introduced for the first time in the world, KIPO added the Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES) file format being most used in the design industry field. In the case of a moving image icon design, a video file can be filed as a referential drawing to make it possible to easily understand a moving image/figure. This change is expected to make it very convenient for the applicant to take advantage of.
4. KIPO enacted patent examination bases in the field of ‘water treatment and functional drinking water’
KIPO announced that it enacted the patent examination bases in the field of ‘water treatment and function drinking water’ in January this year and put them in force from February, to maintain the consistency of examination and to improve the quality of examination.
The water treatment field is a higher value-added technology field where the whole world market scale is expected to grow by an annual average of 6.5% and thus to be developed to a scale of 865,000,000,000 US dollars in 2025. At present, the innovative water treatment technologies, such as an advanced water treatment using membrane filtration and an intelligent water production/supply system have been actively developed. The government has also announced the ‘water industry promoting strategies’ including the main contents, such as water industry core technology development, the promotion of expert water companies, environmentally-friendly alternative water industry among others.
For the enactment of these examination bases, KIPO conducted an in-depth research project regarding the examination issues in the water treatment field, searched the major precedent cases at home and abroad and sought legal and technical advice from the relevant experts. The major contents as enacted are as follows:
① establishment of requirements for description of the detailed explanation of an invention for the principles of generating functional drinking water, the confirmation of the generation thereof, or the confirmation of the maintenance of specific state thereof, etc.
② preparation of examination bases of an invention related to function drinking water which is obviously harmful
③ presentation of determination bases as to whether an invention in the water treatment field is subjected to preferential examination and specific processing procedures thereof
④ presentation of major precedent cases regarding determination of patentability and presentation of organized cases
A spokesperson of KIPO said that since the major precedents and specific cases are included in the examination bases, the consistency in an examiner’s patent examination is expected to be maintained and an applicant’s predictability of examination results is expected to