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A patent processing period will be shortened from 16.8 months to 10 months (News Letter No. 248)



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1. A patent processing period will be shortened from 16.8 months to 10 months

- The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) will keep the shortest level in the world by 2015

The patent processing period taking about 16.8 months at this time will be shortened to 10 months by 2015. A search for patent technology trend which is a task for government research and development (R&D) will be expanded to the overall task.

The Commissioner of KIPO held a press conference in the Daejeon Government Complex and announced the ‘patent administration policy direction according to the establishment of the fourth responsible operation agency’, including the above-mentioned matters as the gist.

According to this policy direction, KIPO will sharply shorten the examination/trial processing periods to 10 months for a patent application, 5 months for a design application, 3 months for a trademark application, and about 7 months for a trial by 2015, in order to react to the US and Japanese efforts to shorten the examination processing periods and therefore to maintain the highest level in the world. To this end, KIPO selected an increase of examination manpower, manpower rearrangement, development of a unified search system of global examination information, etc. as the tasks to carry forward.

KIPO will strengthen the cooperation of “IP5” and “TM5” which are the cooperative channels in patent and trademark fields of the world intellectual property G5 (the Republic of Korea, USA, Japan, Europe and China) and export the examination service and patent information system to developing countries, thereby spreading the Korean wave in the intellectual property administration.

2. Free services of patents in the USA, Europe, China, etc., clinical and licensing situations and market information thereof will be started

Patents in the USA, Europe, China, etc and clinical and licensing situations and market information thereof will be freely available.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) and the Patent Information Promotion Center held a ceremony in the Renaissance Hotel, Seoul, the Republic of Korea, to establish the ‘Korea Biologics & Biohealth Information Assistance System (KOBICS)’ to provide the bio-health patent-related foreign information.

MKE plans to provide the core information regarding a total of eighty (80) items including bio medicine and medical supplies and medical devices for five (5) years for Korean bio-health companies’ advance into the world market.

Every year starting in 2012, a database (DB) of bio medicine and medical supplies is built in the order of bio-similar, antibody drugs, vaccine and parenteral injections, cell therapy products and gene therapy products. A database (DB) of the medical devices will be built by ten (10) items, every year starting 2014 and the items for the database will be selected, based on a study on demand in the relevant industry.

A number of blockbuster-leveled bio medicine and medical supply patents will expire before and after 2013. Therefore, a diversity of information (the expiration dates of the patents regarding those bio medicine and medical supplies, present clinical and licensing situations and market information) which are required for establishing the strategies of Korean small and medium venture companies will be provided.

3. The amount of outflow [including patent fees (royalties), etc.] to overseas approaches 5 trillion Korea Won and continues to be a net deficit for Korea

The license fees of patents that the Republic of Korea paid to foreign countries in the first half of this year exceeded 4.3 billion dollars. This is a new record scale on a half-yearly basis. The amount of intellectual property income earned by allowing foreign countries to use Korean patents is also a new record.

According to the statistics of the international balance which was totaled by the Bank of Korea and the securities business world, the amount of payments of the ‘license fees of intellectual property rights’ in the first half of this year was 4,308,000,000 dollars (4,889,600,000,000 Korea Won), showing a 14.1% increase in comparison with 3,777,000,000 dollars in the first half of 2011. The amount of payments in the first quarter was 2,421,000,000 dollars and the amount of payments in the second quarter was 1,887,000,000 dollars. The amount of payments for the one (1) year from the second half of 2011 to the first half of 2012 reached 7,832,000,000 dollars (8,889,300,000,000 Korea Won).

The amount of payments for three (3) years from the second half of 2009 to the first half of 2011 totaled 25,151,000,000 dollars (28,546,400,000,000 Korea Won).

The ‘licensing fees of intellectual property rights, etc.’ are the moneys paid by Korean companies for using the intellectual property rights, etc. such as trademarks and patent technologies.

4. The number of international patent disputes is rapidly increasing … showing an 80.5% increase over two (2) years

As the number of foreign companies trying to keep Korean companies in check has increased, the number of international patent disputes has rapidly increased.

According to KIPO and the Korea Intellectual Property Protection Association, the number of international patent trials between Korean companies and foreign companies rapidly increased from 154 in 2009 to 278 in 2011, by 80.5% for two (2) years.

In the patent disputes, Korean companies were much more likely to be sued.

Among a total of 1,070 dispute cases from 2007 to May in 2012, the number of accusations against Korean companies was 821, over three times of the number of filing suits.

The number of accusations against Korean companies was 112 in 2009, 165 in 2010 and 195 in 2011, showing a sharp increase over the last four (4) years. The number of suits filed by Korean companies was 42 in 2009, 21 in 2010 and 83 in 2011.

In the international patent trials, 70 cases were filed by the end of May this year.

A large Korean company filed only one (1) suit, whereas large Korean companies were accused in fifty-two (52) cases. small and medium companies Korean filed fifteen (15) suits, whereas they were accused in two (2) cases.

These numbers were based on only the international patent dispute cases which were handled in the home and foreign district courts, among the intellectual property dispute cases of Korean companies. Therefore, if the cases which were filed in the customs, etc. in each country were included, the actual number of suits is presumed to be much higher.


Samsung Electronics and Apple started what may be a long lawsuit battle in the Republic of Korea (News Letter No. 249)


1. The number of Korean patent applications through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is 5th in the world rankings, with a rate of 5.7% (News Letter No. 247)