1. Intellectual Property (IP) Right Trend during the first quarter of 2012
The number of the IP applications increased by 17.4% compared with that of the same period of the previous year. The number of the IP applications filed during the first quarter of 2012 was 94,939, showing a 17.4% increase in comparison with the same period of 2011.
By rights, the number of the patent applications increased by 11.1%, the number of the trademark applications increased by 28.3% and the number of the design applications increased by 16.9%.
By Korean and foreign applicants, the number of IP applications filed by Korean applicants increased by 19.2% and the number of applications filed by foreign applicants increased by 8.5%.
In patent applications, the number of the patent applications filed by Korean applicants increased by 11.6% and the number of the patent applications filed by foreign applicants increased by 9.5%.
By nations, the number of the applications filed by Chinese applicants increased by 29.2% and the number of the applications filed by Italian applicants increased by 24.8%.
By Korean applicants, the number of the applications filed by big companies increased by 16.4%, the number of the applications filed by small and medium companies increased by 19.0%, the number of the applications filed by research institutes increased by 32.2%, and the number of the applications filed by domestic individuals increased by 21.8%.
The applicants showing a remarkable increase in the number of the applications during the first quarter were Hyundai Heavy Industries in patent and utility model applications, Kyowon in trademark applications and Younglim Forestry in design applications.
2. The Republic of Korea is chasing the USA ranking of 1st in the number of patents for the wireless charge technology
While the commercialization of the wireless charge technology has continued, the US is reported to own the most patents, about 40% of the total of the relevant patents. The Republic of Korea with 29% follows the USA.
According to an analysis of the core patents for mobile wireless charge technology, published by Displaybank, the number of patent applications for mobile wireless charge technology greatly increased from 36 in 2005 to 206 in 2010.
As a result of analyzing the distribution of the patent applications for mobile wireless charge technology in the main four(4) countries, the USA, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Europe, Qualcomm of the USA has filed the most applications. Seiko Epson of Japan and Samsung Electronics and Hanrim Postech of the Republic of Korea have been active in filing the applications.
By wireless charge methods, the applications for an induction method by which a device is placed on a pad are 47%, which is more than those for a resonance method by which charge is possible at a several meter distance using resonant frequencies, 37%.
However, as Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm have conducted research and development of the wireless charge technology on the resonance method since 2008, the resonance method technology has been more frequently filed in the applications.
3. The way for overseas export for small and medium companies is wide open using the patent strategy support
- A program to support private IP-R&D strategies suggests a solution in a patent battle era
The program to support the private IP-R&D strategies is showing good results of increasing the efficiency of the R&D in Korean small and medium companies which are planning to advance into overseas markets.
In the past, Vina Tech, a Korean company manufacturing super-capacitors, could not help carrying forward a business around domestic and Chinese low-price markets because of a possibility of a patent dispute with a competitor. As a result, the sales in 2009 were only 3.2 billion Korea Won.
However, this company achieved the sales of 8.2 billion Korea Won in 2011 by the aggressive business focused on the American and European markets. Further, according to the rapid increase of the overseas sales, this company has newly established a plant with the production scale of 50 billion Korea Won per year, through the additional extension of installations.
“As we participated in the program to support the private IP-R&D strategies, we prepared the counterstrategies through the analysis of the main foreign competitors’ patents and we thoroughly prepared in advance for patent disputes by protecting our technology with a number of patents. This is the reason for enabling a large-scale investment,” the CEO of this company said.
4. Samsung first smiled in a light emitting diode (LED) patent dispute between Samsung and Osram
- The Korean Intellectual Property Tribunal (KIPT) decided that Osram’s two LED patents be invalid
In March 2011, Samsung filed the trial for invalidation of each of two (2) LED core patents owned by Osram, a German lighting manufacturer. Regarding these trials, KIPT finally decided that Osram’s patents be invalid, accepting Samsung’s argument for the invalidation of Osram’s patents.
The two (2) patents of Osram as issued are related to the ‘white conversion’ technology of converting a blue light produced by a blue LED into a white light. This white conversion technology is known as a core technology of the LED lighting. KIPT has decided that these patents be invalid because the descriptions of the corrected specifications of these patents do not comply with the standards prescribed by the Korean Patent Law and the relevant patent technology of both patents fail to comply with the requirements of inventive steps in comparison with the prior art materials.
This has significance since it was the KIPT’s first decision resulting from the process of unraveling a complicated problem of the patent dispute between Osram and Samsung/LG.
These companies have filed a total of 40 trial cases for invalidation (Samsung/LG filed 23 cases against Osram, and Osram filed 17 cases against Samsung/LG) regarding one another’s patents (Osram: 13 cases, Samsung: 7cases, and LG: 7 cases) with KIPT since March, 2011. These companies also filed the trials of infringement and the counteractions with the Seoul Central District Court. The disputes between these sides have become really tense.
According to KIPT, a pending case related to a trial of infringement at a court is preferentially examined rather than a general case. However, since these cases are have many related issues and the evidence as submitted is huge, it took more time to make the final decisions.
The KIPT’s chief judge (Joon-ho KOH) in charge of these cases said that the maximum opportunities of argument and proof would be given to the concerned parties in the rest cases, considering the importance and urgency of issues, but the examination would promptly proceed to make a conclusion.