1. Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) will shorten a patent examination processing period to 11.7 months
KIPO announced that the patent examination processing period would be shortened by 45 days, from 13.2 months in 2013 to 11.7 months this year.
Starting this month, a preliminary examination is introduced to interview an applicant prior to a patent examination.
Regarding an application filed without a patent attorney, a positive examination will be strengthened throughout the entire examination process, by guiding an amendment method in view of a reason(s) for rejection against such an application.
A package examination system is introduced to examine patent/utility model/trademark/design applications at the same time when an applicant wants to release a new product(s).
KIPO has decided to increase the countries of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) from 14 countries to 21 countries, to easily and fast obtain a foreign patent(s).
In addition, KIPO plans to carry forward a revision of the Patent Law during the first half of this year. Under the revised Patent Law, when an application is filed by making explanation of a creative idea or by making it in a foreign language, its filing date will be approved.
2. The number of patent applications regarding smart glasses has rapidly increased
Due to the popularity of smart phones and the focus of social interest in wearable devices, the number of the patent applications regarding smart glasses put on the head of a user has increased.
According to KIPO, the number of the patent applications for the smart glasses was 29 in 2009, 38 in 2010, 37 in 2011, 45 in 2012 and 73 in 2013. The relevant patent applications sharply increased in 2013.
Smart glasses are a kind of a head-mounted display (HMD). This display device is mounted on the head of a user, to present an image directly in front of the eyes of the user.
Based on the matters of these applications, 101 applications (29.7%) are related to the interface technology for a user’s convenience (UI technology), 90 (26.5%) to the control technology for cooperation with the other devices, such as smart phones, etc., 61 (17.9%) to the display control technology of image information, 48 (14.1%) to the optical technology, and 40 (11.8%) to the shape structure technology of the glasses.
Specially, the tendency is that technologies are steadily increasing to use the smart glasses like a smart phone, to enjoy a game operatively connected to the smart phone App or to perform a simulation.
3. Samsung Electronics-Google formed a patent alliance
Samsung Electronics and Google formed a global patent alliance without parallel in the world IT industry. The two companies concluded a broad patent cross license agreement including patents to be filed in the future as well as the patents already owned. Based on this cooperation, these two companies are evaluated as making up for their own weak points and preparing for global patent litigation risks which are expanding more and more. Samsung Electronics fully agreed to extend the patent license with Ericsson that it had been in patent disputes.
Samsung Electronics announced that it concluded the patent cross license agreement in the broad technology and business areas with Google, according to the principles of mutual benefits between the two companies.
With this agreement, the two companies decided to share not only the existing patents owned by them but also the patents to be filed for ten (10) years in the future. At present, Samsung Electronics has about 100,000 patents and Google has about 50,000 patents. Since it is safe to say that this is called a 2nd android alliance, the interest in and out of the relevant industry is focused on what effect it has on the patent battle between Samsung-Apple.
Samsung Electronics and Google are evaluated as preparing a foundation to strengthen the cooperation in the present and future product and technological development areas since they use their patent portfolio to lead the industry. Samsung Electronics has the advantage in the hardware-related patents and Google has the advantage in the software-related patents.
4. The number of patent applications for a flexible lithium secondary battery has rapidly increased
With the appearance of flexible IT devices being bendable or foldable, the number of the patent applications for the flexible lithium secondary battery has rapidly increased.
According to KIPO, the number of the patent applications related to the lithium secondary battery during the last ten (10) years was 7,181, showing a steady increase of 11.5% as an annual average. The number of the applications for a flexible battery was only 24 from 2001 to 2009 but it also rapidly increased to 107 from 2010 to 2013.
Classified by applicants of the relevant applications as filed from 2001 to 2013, LG Chem (58%) brought zeal to the relevant technical development, followed by Samsung SDI (9%).
The active filing of the applications by these companies is considered as being based on the strategies to secure the initiative in the flexible IT market in the future, together with the release of a smart phone having a curved surface which was first released in the world, last year.
As to the percent of the applications classified by detailed technological fields, a cable battery suitable for a wearable IT device has 50%, the highest, and a technique to process a shape having a curved surface on a square (pouch) battery has 22%, and a thin film battery having flexibility has 10%. In addition, a packaging technique and material technique, etc. have 18%.