1. KIPRIS, a Korean IP information net, expands providing a machine translation service for free
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced that the IP information free search service net, the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS), freely provides the Korean to English machine translation service from January 2014.
The Korean to English machine translation service is to automatically translate Korean IP publications written in Korean to English. This service had been a fee provided service since it started in January 2007. However, as this service is changed to a free service, it makes it possible for more people who live abroad to more easily understand Korean patent technologies.
As the domestic and global interest in IP information has increased, the number of searches through KIPRIS which is a Korean representative IP supply service has been recorded as an average of about 3,300,000 a month in 2013, of which the number of searches by foreign users is 11%, an average of about 400,000 a month.
Furthermore, since KIPRIS has been used in 148 countries of the world, including Singapore, South Africa, etc. as well as the USA, Europe, Japan and China, the free Korean to English machine translation service of Korean patent publications and PCT international applications in Korean is evaluated as being able to do a significant role to extend the foreign use of Korean patent technologies and to strengthen the protection thereof.
2. KIPO plans trademark examinations using an image search system from this year
KIPO will build an image search system to realize an image search function in a trademark search system being used by trademark examiners, to be open at the beginning of this year.
The image search system solves problems, such as the omission of search results or the excessive search results of a search object which would occur upon using the existing search function focused on keywords. Therefore, the image search system is expected to contribute to enhanced accuracy in a figure trademark examination and to shorten an examination process time.
An image search is the latest IT technology to overcome the limit of the keyword search by detecting similar images when only an image is input in a search condition.
The image search technology is a project that TM5 (South Korea, USA, Europe, Japan and China having about 70% of the whole world’s trademark and design applications) has been reviewing and developing with interest. In Korea, there are a number of cases of commercializing it.
3. The Chairman of the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) strengthens the surveillance of an action of abusing a patent right
The Chairman of KFTC announced to thoroughly keep a watch on the action of abusing a patent right, to support the technology development in the software field.
In a press conference, regarding the policy direction of 2014, the Chairman said that KFTC would thoroughly keep watch the unfair actions including the abuse of a patent right by a patentee to obstruct the expansion of technology in the software field and it would review a plan to improve the relevant system.
According to the Chairman’s explanation, while the software technology, such as the operating system (OS), app, etc., has risen as a new source of competitiveness, the actions of abusing the patent and new technology of Korean companies in the information and communications technology field has frequently occurred.
The Chairman’s comment is considered as that being conscious of the huge software companies of the advanced countries (Google, Apple, etc.) securing the OS and app markets. Apple and Samsung have already begun patent lawsuits regarding patent disputes around the world.
The Chairman said that he would review a plan to control the action of restriction on competition by NPE, a company specialized in managing intellectual property and called a ‘patent troll’. The patent troll is a company creating profits by purchasing only patent rights without any technology developing or manufacturing activities. In the future, the number of patent lawsuits aiming Korean companies is expected to increase.
4. KIPO will open the information of material patents to be expired in 2014
KIPO announced to provide people with patent information of materials of patents which will expire in 2014.
The patent information to be published includes patent information related matters, such as a representative claim of a material (medicine, bio, chemical material) for which a patent is to expire, an expiration date of the patent term and a patent dispute matter, and product information matters, such as effective ingredient structural formula, usage, goods, the name of the goods, etc.
The number of material patents to expire in 2014 is a total of 285. The most material patents are in the medicine field with 47.3%, followed by bio material patents with 26.0%, chemical material patents with 17.4% and agricultural pesticides material patents with 7.0%.
The representative materials of the patents to expire this year include rosuvastatin calcium which is a hyperlipemia medicine element, human papilloma virus type L1 protein which is a vaccine for cervical cancer, omeprazole salt which is an esophagitis medicine, etc. The scale of the Korean pharmaceutical market using these material patents which are to expire is estimated as about 400 billion Korea Won.