1. Application trend for intellectual property (IP) rights during the first quarter of 2013
□ Application trend:
◀ The number of filed applications for IP rights during the first quarter of 2013 was 96,232, showing a 1.4% increase in comparison with the same period of 2012.
- By IP rights, the number of the patent applications increased by 3.6% and the number of the design applications increased by 7.0% but the number of the trademark applications decreased by 2.8%.
- Between Korean and foreign applicants, the number of the applications filed by Korean applicants increased by 2.0% but the number of the applications filed by foreign applicants decreased by 1.8%.
- In patent applications, the number of the patent applications filed by Korean applicants increased by 5.3% but the number of the patent applications filed by foreign applicants decreased by 1.3%.
□ Registration trend:
◀ The number of registered IP rights during the first quarter of 2013 was 67,743, showing a 7.1% increase in comparison with the same period of 2012.
- By IP rights, the number of registered patents increased by 7.6%, the number of registered trademarks increased by 3.9% and the number of registered designs increased by 14.1% but the number of registered utility models decreased by 2.7%.
- Between Korean and foreign applicants, the number of IP rights registered by Korean applicants increased by 9.3% but the number of the IP rights registered by foreign applicants decreased by 0.7%.
□ Examination/trial trend:
◀ The number of the requests for examination being filed was 37,073, showing a 1.7% decrease in comparison with the same period of 2012.
- The number requesting the examination of patent applications was 34,955, showing a 0.9% decrease in comparison with the same period of 2012, and the number requesting the examination of utility model applications was 2,118, showing a 12.8% decrease.
- The number requesting the PCT international searches was 6,900, showing a 3.8% increase in comparison with the same period of 2012, and the number of PCT international searches was 12,794, showing a 62.8% increase.
◀ The number of trials being filed was 3,282, showing a 20.5% decrease in comparison with the same period of 2012, and the number of trials was 3,742, showing a 12.1% decrease.
- The number filing trials in patents and utility models was 2,241, showing a 21.0% decrease, the number filing trials in trademarks was 939, showing a 15.6% decrease, and the number filing trials in designs was 102, showing a big decrease of 42.4%.
2. The IP e-learning contents made by the Republic of Korea for Russia
- The event launching a Russian version IP Panorama was held
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property (ROSPATENT) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) jointly held the event to launch the ‘Russian version IP Panorama’ in Moscow.
The IP Panorama is the IP e-learning contents jointly developed by KIPO, WIPO and the Korea invention Promotion Association.
Since the IP Panorama is made in the storytelling form with various animation characters, it is possible to actually easily and enjoyably learn the IP using strategies in the business spots.
The IP Panorama consists of a total of 13 subjects handling familiar subjects, such as ▲ the importance of IP in medium/small companies ▲ trademarks and designs ▲ inventions and patents, and more special and in-depth subjects, such as ▲ business secrets ▲ technological licensing ▲ IP value evaluation and ▲ IP franchising.
KIPO developed the IP Panorama in an English version in 2007 and received a good response from the whole world. Then, KIPO launched its Arab version in 2009, its French version and Spanish version in 2011 and its Chinese version 2012, followed by its Russian version at this time.
3. A reserve fund upon installing an app may be now a patent infringement
For the first time, a Korean company obtained a technology patent for cost per install (CPI) which is used in reward app marketing.
On April 8, Now Marketing announced that they obtained an official patent registration of an ‘advertisement system by installing an application for a wireless terminal’. The relevant industry asserted that they acquired the patent right in all forms of paying a reward (cash, item, cyber money, etc.) by inducing the installation of the application in market.
A reward means an app marketing type to pay game money, game item, cash, etc. in return for installing the app in a smart phone. It is called CPI. The app using it is known as a reward app.
Therefore, the existing reward app developing companies and the marketing companies using it may be swept away into patent litigation according to Now Marketing’s handling. They may have to pay loyalties or, at the worst, they may have to pay a part of profits for the use of the CPI during the previous time.
This patent of Now Marketing includes △ technology of confirming whether a user has installed the particular rewarding app according to the app’s request and △ an act of paying a reserve fund or reward such as item accordingly. Most reward app is a technology used commonly. Considering that a patent application was filed in May, 2011, many of the Korean reward app marketing companies fall under patent infringements.
Whether the CPI patent of Now Marketing has direct influences on other companies’ businesses is yet to be known. A spokesperson of the relevant industry said, “[S]ince the CPI patent is broad, it will be known whether or not infringement exists through a substantial examination process.”.
4. An intense patent dispute relating to coin cell
A Korean venture company seized the chance for victory in a patent dispute relating to a lithium ion battery, which it had fought with Hitachi Maxell. This is expected to be an opportunity for this Korean company to dominate the market of supplying batteries, such as smart watch, etc., by keeping the microminiaturized lithium ion battery (coin cell) technology increasing the energy integration degree.
On April 7, 2013, Route JD announced that they had drawn a verdict that the patent of the lithium ion battery owned by Hitachi Maxell should be invalid from an Expert Committee under the Japanese Customs Service (JCS). An action of a Japanese import prohibition of Route JD’s lithium ion battery, which was requested by Hitachi Maxell, has been put on hold. According to the relevant experts’ opinions, there is a good chance that the patent of Hitachi Maxell will be invalidated in the Intellectual Property Tribunal, based on the opinion from JCS.
The patent battle between Route JD and Hitachi Maxell goes way back to 2007. At that time, Hitachi Maxell concluded a technical license agreement with Route JD. These two companies promoted the co-production of products based on the technical cooperation related to the microminiaturized lithium ion battery. A representative of Route JD said that Hitachi Maxell went back to square one after one year and it dropped out after finishing the technical analysis related to the ‘pocketing’ technology owned by Route JD.
Then, on March 2013, Hitachi Maxell requested JCS to prohibit the importation of Route JD products since Route JD infringed their patent. The three (3) expert committee members formed by JCS made their respective opinion that the patent of Hitachi Maxell should be invalidated.
If Route JD prevails over the patent of Hitachi Maxell, it is considered that Route JD will dominate the battery market of small smart devic