1. KIPO carried out the largest-scale reorganization in since it opened
- The patent examination organization based on traditional industries has been reorganized as an convergence organization
On September 9, 2013, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) carried out the largest-scale reorganization with the reorganization of the patent examination organization and the strengthening of the IP protection/use-related organization, etc. as the main agenda.
Specifically, the patent examination organization which is a major function of KIPO has been reorganized as the convergence organization to cope with the convergence technology environment.
The current patent examination organization has been reorganized as the Patent Examination and Planning Bureau, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Patent Examination Bureaus. The Patent Examination Planning Bureau is charge in diverse examination systems and policies and convergence technologies by reorganizing machinery, metals and construction examination bureau, the chemistry and biotechnology examination bureau, electric and electronic examination bureau, and information and communications examination bureau which had been organized based on the traditional industries. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Patent Examination Bureaus have been formed by grouping the technologies related to base industries, major industries and growth industries of the Republic of Korea by technological fields, respectively. Specialized examiners are rearranged to enhance the professionalism of examination and the classified technical departments are operatively connected to the relevant industries.
2. The world IP G5 will open a patent prosecution highway (PPH)
- IP5 agreed to operate the PPH
A meeting of the Patent Office Commissioners of the five advanced countries in the IP (IP5) was held in Geneva, Switzerland. The Commissioners of KIPO, US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO), Japanese Patent Office (JPO) and European Patent Office (EPO) attended the meeting and agreed with the operation of ‘IP5-PPH’ to shorten a patent examination period.
Under the current ‘bilateral PPH’ which is a one-to-one way between individual countries, since the requirements or documents to be submitted to request PPH are different by countries, an applicant who want to file an application in many countries experiences inconvenience. However, through this agreement, simplified and standardized requirements will be applied among the IP5 countries from January, next year. Accordingly, a Korean applicant (individual or company) who files an application in the USA, China, Japan and European areas is able to obtain a patent right in the relevant countries more conveniently and fast, using the IP5-PPH system.
IP5 holds about 90% of the number of the patent applications filed in the world. Further, about 26% thereof is estimated as the overlapping applications filed in two or more countries. Therefore, when the IP5-PPH is fully operated, it is expected to have the effects of solving the backlog of patent examinations in the IP5 Patent Offices and shortening the examination process periods.
3. Patents in the USA and trademarks in China
Korean people are considered as filing the most patent applications in the USA and the most trademark applications in China.
According to KIPO, more than half (27,289) the total number (49,617) of patent applications filed in foreign countries by Korean applicants were filed in the USA. Specially, IP5 member countries were 1st to 4th in ranking the foreign countries where Korean applicants filed the most patent applications. The IP5’s share was 91.4% and it is considered as the statistics showing the importance of the IP5’s patent cooperation.
Korean applicants filed the most trademark applications in China. The number of the trademark applications which Korean applicants filed in China in 2011 was 6,598, 36.1% of the total (18,279) of the trademark applications filed in foreign countries in the same year. China was followed by the ASEAN countries in the number of the foreign trademark applications filed by Korean applicants. This is the most distinguished feature from the trend of the foreign patent applications. The most trademark applications were filed in China (36.1%), followed by ASEAN (11.6%), the USA (8.0%) and Japan (7.6%).
4. It becomes easy to search the information of European trademarks
From October, 2013, the most recent information of European trademarks has been provided free by the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS) which is a Korean IP information search site.
KIPO and the Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the European Trademark Office, concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Geneva, Switzerland. According to KIPO, the two Offices exchange their latest trademark information DB, etc. and the information is available free to people.
Through the MOU as concluded, companies, etc. are able to search in real time the latest information as well as the past trademark information in KIPRIS since October.
Further, the Korean language service will be provided in TMview, a trademark information search site, following TMclass, OHIM’s trademark classification information search site, where the Korean language service has started since May this year. Through a Korean website of TMview which will be open at the end of the year, companies, etc. are expected to more conveniently search the information of European trademarks reaching about 12,000,000.
For reference, TMclass is the site developed by OHIM, making possible to search trademark names and classes throughout the world in different languages of many countries. In TMview, you can search huge information of trademarks more than 12,000,000 held in 30 Trademark Offices.