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



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1. The Patent Offices of the five advanced countries (IP5 countries) took a first step toward the unification of examination standards

- Discussion was started in the 4th examiners’ workshop of IP5 countries

The examiners of the five (5) powerful countries in patents, the Republic of Korea, US, Japan, Europe and China, strengthened the substantial cooperation in the examination field for the mutual assistance of patent examination work.

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), examiners in the machinery, chemistry, electric and electronic, and information and communications fields attended a workshop of IP examiners, held in Beijing, China from October 22-26.

Regarding the examination cooperation, the Patent Offices of IP5 countries agreed to carry forward ten (10) base tasks in the meeting of IP5 countries held in Jeju, the Republic of Korea, in October 2008. The tasks for cooperation were discussed in the four (4) working groups: patent classification (WG1), patent administrative information (WG2), patent examination policy (WG3) and patent statistics (WGstat).

Since the number of the patent applications filed by IP5 countries accounted for 75% or more of the number of the patent applications filed over the world with patent applications overlapping in the IP5 countries, the examination processing period was delayed in these countries. The mutual assistance for examination among the IP5 countries is required to solve the problem.

In the 4th examiners’ workshop held in Beijing, details and comparisons of the examination standards for patentability (including handling of information opened by internet) in each country were discussed. Thus, this workshop had a very great significance in officially starting a harmonious discussion of patent examination standards and examination work.

2. Use of national patents has greatly increased

- Sales of 50 billion Korea Won or more were made by technology transfers of 477 patent cases in 2011

The number of national patents being used has greatly increased. Where a nation succeeds to an invention which a government employee has developed while performing his/her duty and the nation registers the invention in its name, the industrial property right (patent, utility model, design) of the invention is a national patent. KIPO takes charge of the work regarding a technical transfer, compensation, etc. of a national patent.

According to KIPO’s statistical data, the technologies of 543 national patents, among the 2,939 national patents registered by September this year, were transferred to private companies. This number exceeded the total number of 477 technology transfer cases made during the last year. Thus, at least 600 cases are expected to be transferred by the end of this year.

The number of national patents being used increased every year, showing an annual average increase of 17% for the last five (5) years. The sales scale of the relevant products was considered as being over 50 billion Korea Won for one year in 2011.

In spite of the recent continuing economic downturn, the number of cases of companies increasing sales by using national patents has increased.

3. A design is competitiveness in a digital TV

- The number of design applications has greatly increased, replying to a full-scale switchover to digital TV broadcasting

Before terrestrial analogue TV broadcasting will be fully switched to digital TV broadcasting on December 31, 2012, the number of the relevant digital TV design applications has greatly increased.

According to KIPO, the status of the total design applications related to a digital TV, by year, is as follows: the total number of the digital TV related design applications which was only 11 in 2000 increased to 27 in 2002 and 61 in 2005. A total of 272 applications were filed during 2000~2005 (for six years), averaging 45 applications a year. However, 73 applications were filed in 2010, 104 applications were filed in 2011 and 94 applications were filed in as of the end of September, 2012, totaling 271 applications and averaging 90 applications a year. Thus, the number of these design applications has greatly increased for these three years.

A total of 859 applications filed from 2000 to the end of September, 2012 is classified by Korean and foreign (corporation) applicants as follows: 693 applications (81.7%) were filed by Korean (corporation) applicants and 166 applications (18.3%) were filed by foreign (corporation) applicants, showing that the Korean (corporation) applicants were more active in filing the applications than the foreign (corporation) applicants.

After the ‘digital switchover special law of terrestrial television broadcasting’ was established to regulate the switchover from analogue TV broadcasting to digital TV broadcasting on March, 2008, the full-scale switchover from terrestrial analogue TV broadcasting to digital TV broadcasting is scheduled at the end of this year. KIPO believes the reason why the number of the digital TV-related design applications filed by the Korean (corporation) applicants since 2009 increased as a part of design management strategies of the relevant domestic companies is to preoccupy digital TV replacement demands before this full-scale switchover.

4. The number of trademark applications for “album and show businesses” by a K-Pop craze

- an increase of 48% compared to 2010 and an increase of 45% compared to 2011

With a global popularity of the Korean dramas and K-Pops, the number of trademark applications related to album and musical performance business, film production business, television program making business, and show business, etc. is steadily increasing.

According to KIPO, the number of the trademark applications related to the album and show businesses, which were filed by Korean applicants from 2005 to 2009, was about 2,400 on average per year, having no big increase or decrease. However, 3328 applications were filed in 2010 and 4825 applications were filed in 2011, showing a sharp increase. As of the end of October, this year, 4185 applications were filed, showing an increase of 358 applications in comparison with the same month, last year. If this trend continues, about 5,300 applications are expected to be filed by the end of this December.

In addition, Korean entertainment production companies have filed applications in various fields, not only album and show businesses but also cosmetics, clothes, accessories, stationery goods, foods, etc. It is believed by some that this is related to the reality where the Korean wave starting from dramas, movies, K-pops has been connected to a purchase-craze for Korean goods.  


The support for Korean medium/small companies and middle-grade companies advancing abroad will be fully operated with promising patent technologies of Korean universities and public institutes(News Letter No. 254)


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