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KIPO and USPTO jointly held a road show (presentation) of the US patent system (News Letter No. 252)



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1. KIPO and USPTO jointly held a road show (presentation) of the US patent system

- Korean companies’ patent strategies against US were presented

A road show (presentation) of the US patent system hosted by both the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) and run by the Korea Invention Promotion Association (KIPA) was held in Seoul, Busan and Daejeon, successively.

This presentation was in accordance with the agreement of the two countries, Korean and US, in the Commissioners’ meeting of KIPO and USPTO held at the beginning of August this year. The agreement was to hold a presentation publicizing the patent system of one country in the other country. In September, last year, USPTO extensively revised the US patent law by the effectuation of the America Invents Act after 60 years. This is a first time to hold a road show to promote the revised matters of the patent law in a foreign country rather than its own country.

Cross-holding of the presentation is one of the cooperation plans of the two countries which the two government authorities intend to alleviate patent disputes caused by a lack of understanding in the differences between the patent systems of the two countries. Through this opportunity, a Korean company hoping to do work in US is expected to be more familiar with the US patent system.

There were domestic lectures regarding the revised US patent law. However, this presentation was distinguished from other previous presentations in the point that Mr. Mark Powell, Lead of International Patent Technical Cooperation of USPTO as the government authorities handling every US IP policies, gave a direct lecture. This presentation not only introduced the revised matters of the US patent law but also introduced the prediction of future regarding how the revolution of the US patent system would change the paradigms of the world patent systems.

2. One of the effects of smart phones, an increase in the number of game trademark applications

- An 58.0% increase in comparison with the same period of last year

As mobile games have entered the era of limitless competition by the popularization of smart phones, the number of trademark applications related to games has been rapidly increasing.

According to KIPO, the number of the game-related applications, which had been 183 in 2008, 213 in 2009, 246 in 2010 and 276 in 2011 showing small increases, was 305 as of the end of September this year, with a sharp increase of 58.0% compared with the same period, last year.

Such an increase in the number of game-related trademark applications is considered as having a major factor, namely, changes in environments that: 1) as the number of smart phone users has reached 30,000,000, smart phones have become daily necessaries; and 2) as the LTE smart phones have been available, it is possible to easily access to multi-network games, which could be enjoyable as PC games, at fast data transmission speed, by the smartphones at any time and anywhere.

An increase in the demand of these games is considered as having resulted in the expansion of a new mobile game development by game companies and accordingly the rapid increase in the number of the game-related applications.

3. The number of PCT Korean cases by Intel rapidly increased, with a background of the semiconductor patent competition

The number of Korean services for the Patent Cooperation Treat (PCT) used by Intel greatly increased. This is regarded as the reliability of evaluation capability of the Korean government but it is interpreted as the patent competition with Korean companies in the semiconductor sector has ntensified.

According to KIPO, in view of the top ten (10) foreign companies using the Korean PCT service cases until August this year, Intel had the overwhelming number, 1,284 cases, about three times more than 473 of HP and 384 of Microsoft which were 2nd and 3rd. The number of the service cases used by Intel increased from 157 in 2009 to 269 in 2010 and drastically increased to 806 in 2011. If this trend continues, it is expected to approach to 2,000 this year. HP in 2nd place requested about 500~600 cases in 2009~2011 and it is expected to reach a similar level this year.

Some say the increase in the number of the cases by Intel was aftereffects of the competition for the preoccupancy of a patent(s) with the Republic of Korea in the semiconductor sector. Korean fees for PCT international searches are US$1,101, considerably lower than US fees, US$2,080, and EU fees, US$2,426. Chinese fees, US$329, are much lower than the Korean fees. However, the Chinese services are used by Chinese companies only because China did not conclude the treaty with major countries.

4. KIPO has built a first patent biological/genetic resource database in the world

KIPO has built the first patent biological resource database in the world, in preparation for the effectuation of the Nagoya Protocol.

The Nagoya Protocol, which is an international treaty requiring economic compensation upon using biological resources of other countries, was concluded in Nagoya, Japan, in October, 2010 and will take effect in the future. When the Protocol comes into effect, it will be required to receive a prior approval for acquiring and using biological resources from the countries having them and to distribute/share benefits arising from the utilization of the biological resources, based on the terms/conditions of a mutual agreement.

To efficiently cope with the Nagoya Protocol, it is prioritized to understand the current situation of the patent biological resources which are closest to commercialization. The current situation includes the patent information or the like on the foreign biological resources used by Korean companies and the Korean biological resources used by foreigners.

KIPO started ‘an analysis of patent information of biological resources and study of utilization plan thereof’ in March this year and finished building the patent biologic resource database in October. The database built by KIPO sorted out 7,973 patents related to the biological resources, such as plants, microorganisms, animals, viruses, insects, etc., from the patents published for the last two and half years. The database also analyzed and processed the contents.

The database include specific kinds of biological resources, use thereof, means of acquisition thereof, the relevant patent contents, etc. The countries of origins of biological resources are recorded in preparation for the Nagoya Protocol.


The Patent Offices of the five advanced countries (IP5 countries) took a first step toward the unification of examination standards (News Letter No. 253)


The Republic of Korea proposed the top world IP countries discuss a general solution of a patent dispute (News Letter No. 251)