1. The total number of the intellectual property (IP) applications filed during the first quarter of 2014 is 102,174
According to the IP right trend during the first quarter of 2014, the number of the applications totaled 102,174, showing an increase of 6.2% in comparison with the same period in 2013.
By rights, the number of the patent, utility model and trademark applications respectively increased by 8.5%, 10.8% and 6.6%. However, the number of design applications decreased by 1.4%. The number of the applications filed by Korean applicants increased by 7.2% and the number of the applications filed by foreign applicants increased by 0.6%.
The total number of the IP rights registered during the first quarter of 2014 was 71,273, increasing by 5.2% in comparison with the same period in 2013.
By rights, the number of the registered patents, trademarks and designs respectively increased by 5.3%, 4.9% and 8.9%. However, the number of the registered utility models decreased by 18.9%. The number of the rights registered by Korean applicants increased by 6.4% and the number of the rights registered by foreign applicants increased by 0.6%.
The number of the patent examination requests filed during the first quarter was 30,405, showing a decrease of 15% in comparison with the same period in 2013 and the number of the IP trial cases filed was 3,142, showing a decrease of 16.2%.
2. KIPO deposited an accession for a new Hague Agreement regarding an international design application filing system
- The international design application filing system will start from July 1, 2014
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and Mr. Francis Gurry, Secretary General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) had an accession ceremony of the Hague Agreement regarding the international registration of industrial designs (the revised Geneva Act in 1999) at the WIPO headquarter in Geneva on March 31, 2014 (local time). In the ceremony, they announced to enforce the international design application filing system from July 1, 2014.
The previous international design application filing system has been operated mainly in the European countries which have no pre-examination on the requirements for design registration, such as novelty in the Korean Design Law. However, according to this new Hague Agreement, those countries which have the pre-examination of the requirements for design registration can use the international design application filing system.
Specially, the US (about 30,000 cases) and Japan (about 30,000 cases) which are the countries filing multi design applications has not yet joined this Agreement since these countries have the pre-examination system. In this situation, as the Republic of Korea (about 60,000 cases) which is a country filing multi design applications and operates the examination system first joined the Agreement, the US and Japan are expected to accelerate to join it.
Since the US, Japan and China are actually preparing their domestic legislation to join the new Hague Agreement, it is expected that it is possible to file the international design applications to major countries filing multi design applications through this system.
3. KIPO has constructed a support system to protect IP rights in major countries concerning disputes
- From May, support for a first action is operated to the IP disputes in the seventeen (17) foreign countries
According to KIPO, the construction of the support system to protect the IP rights has been completed and this system fully operates from May. Concerning foreign IP disputes of small and medium companies which have advanced (or will advance) in foreign countries, the system is to support a fast first action in the major foreign countries where multiple IP-related disputes occur.
The countries where the support system has been constructed totals seventeen (17) countries: US, Germany, the Netherlands, UK, France, Italy, Denmark, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, UAE, South Africa and Brazil. The IP-DESK was installed in the four (4) countries (China, the US, Thailand and Vietnam). This system is constructed in at least one (1) or more countries per continent, focused on those countries where Korean companies’ IP suits have been frequently filed.
In addition, KIPO formed an expert pool by recruiting the forty-seven (47) law firms specializing in IP areas and providing legal consultation services through the domestic and abroad links, etc., locally in the seventeen (17) countries.
4. KIPO systematically trains private manpower for patent examination
- The systematic education has been carried forward to the staff of the specialized agencies in the prior art search
According to the International Intellectual Property Training Institute (IIPTI) of KIPO, the systematic education system has been built for the staff of specialized agencies in the prior art search and an ‘education course to acquire a qualification for a first prior art searcher’ has been operated from April 16 and will finish on May 30. The private specialized agencies in prior art searches include the Patent Information Promotion Center, WIPS, IP Solution and KTG.
Forty-seven (47) searchers (23 new searchers and 24 current searches with little experience) attended this education course, to share know-how and information needed for patent examination. In addition, an opportunity to construct a patent examination network is expected to be offered to the searchers performing the same work. The same education course will be operated twice per year, during the first half of the year and the second half of the year.
At present, the number of the examination cases processed per examiner for one (1) year is relatively more than that in other countries. (The number of the examination cases processed per examiner in 2012 was 254 in the Republic of Korea, 239 in Japan, 72 in the US and 54 in China.) Therefore, KIPO prepared the ‘plan to develop the recreation of the examination supporting program’ in March and has carried it forward to relieve the examination processing burden of an examiner and to improve the quality.