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A ‘Patent Pool’ having a symbiotic relation in the IT competition field (News Letter No. 226)



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1. A ‘Patent Pool’ having a symbiotic relation in the IT competition field

The long term evolution (LTE) industry which will open the 4th generation mobile communications is actively proceeding with discussions among companies, to form a patent pool in order to avoid excessive patent costs and wasteful technical competition.

In the Republic of Korea, the LTE communication mode service has been under a full commercialization service since July 1, 2011.

Directly speaking the features of the LTE communication mode make it possible to carry a live personal broadcasting of HD level quality by using one smart phone. It is a high speed communication environment where a movie can be downloaded within several tens of seconds.

To form the high speed communication conditions based on the 4th generation, Korean communication companies anticipate an investment of several trillion Korea Won to expand LTE to the entire national network by 2012. The USA plans an investment of about 53 billion dollars to build a 4th generation wireless network by 2016.

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of patent candidates for the LTE technical standards, which were submitted to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), was just 67 in 2007 and 301 in 2008. However, it was 1,488 in 2009 and 3,374 in 2010, continuously showing a steep rise during the two (2) years, and was a total of 3,655 as of the end of July, 2011.

The reason why the number of the patent candidates for the LTE technical standards submitted in 2009 and 2010 rapidly increased is because all competitors except for Qualcomm submitted their own patents in large numbers as candidates. As a result, the percentage that Qualcomm held in the total greatly decreased from 57% (in 2008) to 21% (in 2011) and the gap among the related companies has narrowed.

2. European countries are a main force in the number of Madrid international trademark applications

- European pharmaceutical industries and cosmetic companies are remarkable

The number of international trademark applications filed by foreign applicants through the Madrid international trademark system during the first half of this year greatly increased in comparison with that during the same period of last year.

According to KIPO, the number of the Madrid international trademark applications steadily increased after 2005 by 2008. However, it decreased due to the aftereffect of the international financial crisis caused by the sub-prime mortgage of the USA in 2009 by 19.7%, compared with 2008, and it increased in the first half (as of the end of June) of this year by 20.8%, compared with 2010.

The total of the international trademark applications filed with KIPO through the Madrid international trademark system between 2005 and June of 2011 was 54,538. The countries with high ranking of filing the applications are Germany (9,186 applications, 16.8%), the USA (8,362 applications, 15.4%), France (5,043 applications, 9.2%) and Switzerland (4,532 applications, 8.3%).

Upon classifying the top 20 companies filing many applications by the types of businesses, the number of the pharmaceutical industries, such as Novartis, etc., is 6 (30%), which is highest, followed by 3 cosmetic companies (15%), such as Beiersdorf, etc., 2 automobile companies (10%), 2 electronic product companies (10%) and 2 chemical product companies (10%). Except for 2 US companies among these companies, all are famous European companies.

3. The number of visitors to a ‘Design Map’, a design intellectual property portal, greatly increased

- Due to the opening of a mobile site, etc., the number of the visitors greatly increased by 200%, compared with that during the same period of the previous year

KIPO announced that the number of visitors to the Design Map (www.designmap.or.kr) which is a service to understand the major design rights of the whole world showed an 202% increase, to 112,355 from 37,176 in the same period of last year (January 1-June 30, 2010).

This increase is because the design rights and the main issues of the intellectual properties were provided in real time through the mobile site (m.designmap.or.kr) and an social network service (SNS).

- facebook: www.facebook.com/kipoDesignmap
- twitter: mobile.twitter.com/kipoDesignmap

The ‘search of design rights’ (where it is possible to understand, at a glance, the design rights in the Republic of Korea, US, Japan and EU) is indicated as popular content.

‘Design Compass’ which is a webzine was focused because it provided the main issues of the intellectual properties related to designs (such as an analysis article of a design dispute between Samsung and Apple), together with interviews.

4. The number of applications related to terahertz (THz) waves, a technique of finding out a dangerous object

KIPO announced that the number of the patent applications related to terahertz waves tends to steadily increase.

Terahertz waves are electromagnetic waves belonging to the middle region between light and radio wave. Terahertz waves have the characteristics of penetrating non-ionic materials, such as plastic, wood, paper, cloth and the like and of reflecting metal. Specifically, active is the development of a technique to use terahertz waves in the fields of security search and living body medical treatment using their characteristics of being very safe to body cells.

The number of the Korean patent applications of terahertz waves was only 3 by 2000. However, the number of the applications continued increasing to 7 in 2004, 15 in 2008 and 36 in 2010, reaching a total of 140 applications.

By technical fields, 32% applications are related to a light source technique of generating terahertz waves, 26% applications are related to a device technique including a terahertz wave amplifier and waveguide, 19% applications are related to an imaging technique including a medical image, and 11% applications are related to a technique of analyzing elements of a substance.

A spokesperson of KIPO explained, ‘since the fields of applying terahertz waves are various and the ripple effects are great, the competition to file the relevant applications to preoccupy the relevant techniques will be gradually heated’. The spokesperson also said, ‘an investment focused on securing the original core techniques related to terahertz waves will be continuously performed in the future.’  


Foreign service companies’ purchases of Korean patent information database (DB) are increasing (News Letter No. 227)


The results and tasks of the Special Police Squad for Trademarks (SPST) after its one-year launch (News Letter No. 225)