1. The total number of applications for intellectual property rights passed 7,000,000
- The Republic of Korea achieved this number as the eighth in the world, following the US, England, Japan among others.
On December 26, 2011, the Republic of Korea passed the total number of 7,000,000 applications for intellectual property rights including patents, utility models, designs and trademarks. This happened 65 years after the first application for an intellectual property right was filed in 1946. The Republic of Korea achieved this number as the eighth in the world, following the US, England, Japan, Germany, France, Switzerland and China.
Classified by intellectual property rights, the total of 7,000,000 applications include 2,480,000 patent applications, 1,000,000 utility model applications, 1,060,000 design applications and 2,460,000 trademark applications. Based on the number of accumulated applications classified by rights, the number of trademark applications was greater than the number of patent applications until the 1990s. However, as the number of the patent applications in the IT areas increased in accordance with the popularization of mobile phones and the growth of the semiconductor industry from the later 1990s, the number of patent applications passed the number of trademark applications in the 2000s.
Upon examining the application filing trends during the last ten (10) years, the number of the applications continuously increased by 2007. However, it decreased in 2008, 2009 and 2010 due to the economic depression by the US financial crisis and it turned into an increase (expected 366,100 applications) in 2011. The number of the applications for intellectual property rights as filed during the last ten (10) years among the total period was 3,770,000, 54% of the total number of the applications, (including 1,630,000 patent applications, 310,000 utility model applications, 530,000 design applications and 1,300,000 trademark applications).
81% of the total number of the applications was filed by Korean applicants and 19% was filed by foreign applicants. Classified by intellectual property rights, Korean applicants filed 70% of the patent applications, 98% of the utility model applications, 94% of the design applications and 80% of the trademark applications.
2. The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has opened the portal site of intellectual property information
- It is possible to search all intellectual property information in one place
Now it is possible to easily search, in one place, intellectual property related information, such as patent trends, patent publications, research reports, precedents of intellectual property rights, etc.
KIPO announced that the ‘IP information portal site (www.ipportal.or.kr)’ making it possible to search the intellectual property related information in one place opened to provide the demonstration service from December 2011.
Before this portal site was opened, since users needed to access each of about twenty (20) individual service systems to search intellectual property related information, the necessity for a unified search of intellectual property related information became apparent.
Accordingly, KIPO built the ‘IP information portal site’ and opened it to contribute to user convenience for intellectual property information.
This year, KIPO provides the unified search service in line with the seven (7) IP information systems related to patent analysis reports, intellectual property policy information, conventional intellectual information, precedents for intellectual property rights, etc.
During the next year, KIPO plans to expand the unified search service, by connecting and integrating the eight (8) IP information systems related to design maps, patent technology markets, IP human networks, etc.
3. The number of applications related to the security of personal mobile terminals increased
According to KIPO, the number of patent applications related to the security of personal mobile terminals (smart phones, tablet PC, etc.) increased every year, from 95 in 2007 to 117 in 2009 and 145 in 2011 (as of the end of October), showing an increase of more than 53% for the last four (4) years.
Classified by applicants, large companies filed 199 cases (32.8%) of these applications, medium and small companies filed 167 cases (27.5%), individuals filed 89 cases (14.7%), universities and research institutes filed 87 cases (14.3%) and foreign companies filed 65 cases (10.7%).
Classified by the domestic applicants, Samsung Electronics filed 62 cases, Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute filed 34 cases, LG Electronics filed 33 cases, Samsung SDS filed 17 cases and KT filed 14 cases.
It is noted that the number of these security-related applications filed by Korean medium and small companies which was only 20 (21%) in 2007 greatly increased to 55 (38%) in 2011. This is considered as having resulted from the fact that Korean medium and small companies swiftly filed these applications for diverse security solutions due to the recent craze for smart phones.
Classified by technologies related to the security for personal mobile terminals, 180 cases (29.7%) were for security technology using a wireless communication network, 112 cases (18.5%) for security technology using a data process, 112 cases (18.5%) for data-related technology specialized in business transaction, management, supervision, etc., and 97 cases (16.0%) for technology using digital data encryption, encoding and decryption.
4. The system to control on-line counterfeit products is fully operated
- The special police squad for trademarks (SPST) has established an on-line investigation team and digital forensics equipment
At 15:00 on December 14, 2011, the SPST under KIPO held an ‘inauguration ceremony and signboard hanging ceremony of the on-line investigation team’ in the SPST Seoul office, where about twenty people including the Commissioner of KIPO and the relevant officials attended.
The on-line investigation team has investigation equipment, i.e., “digital forensics” equipment, which is needed for the IP pursuit and electronic evidence analysis and it also has four (4) cyber-specialized investigators, to strongly and systematically control the distribution of the on-line counterfeit products which has rapidly increased these days.
The “digital forensics” is an investigation technology which collects, restores and analyzes data in order to submit electronic evidence saved in a computer hard disk, memory, etc. to the machinery of law. KIPO had carried forward the introduction of the equipment required for the digital forensics, to clearly establish the substance of the crime of distributing the on-line counterfeit products through the digital evidence analysis and to reduce the manpower and time used for the investigation work.