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A group of the world’s top five trademark offices (hereinafter, referred to as “TM5”) opens its web site where worldwide trademark information is available at a glance (News latter No. 289)



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1. A group of the world’s top five trademark offices (hereinafter, referred to as “TM5”) opens its web site where worldwide trademark information is available at a glance

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the official website (http://tmfive.org) of TM5 has been open since May 1, 2014.

TM5 means the group of the top five countries in the trademark/design fields, that is, the Republic of Korea, USA, Europe, Japan and China which hold about 70% of the whole world’s trademark and design applications.

The TM5 website was proceeded by ten joint-cooperative projects including the building of a list to acknowledge common goods, the building of a system to search common trademarks and goods, the development of a system to search images, the comparison and analysis of examination results, the prevention of bad-faith imitative trademark filing, the comparison of drawing requirements for design applications, etc.

As a part of the common cooperative projects, building the TM5 website was a project led by KIPO, together with the project of comparing and analyzing examination results.

The TM5 website was built by KIPO through discussions with the intellectual property offices of the five countries after 2013. The TM5 website introduces the history and objects of TM5 to the whole world and widely informs one of the progress and outcome of the ten joint-cooperative projects. The website is configured to show all information of trademarks, such as the trademark-related laws, examination standards, lists of goods, statistics of examinations of applications, etc.

2. A conference to prevent the distribution of counterfeit products is launched

About one hundred people including the executives and hands-on workers of companies owning domestic and foreign trademarks including on-line operated companies and persons of domestic agencies controlling counterfeit products launched the conference to prevent the distribution of counterfeit products and to work together to root out the distribution of counterfeit products.

The conference to prevent the distribution of counterfeit products consists of a total of forty-four companies and the agencies. These include the companies owning domestic and foreign famous trademarks, such as Black Yak, Kolon, Chanel, Nike, etc., the major on-line business operators, such as Auction, G market, Coupang, etc., and KIPO, the National Police Agency and the Korea Customs Service as the domestic agencies to control counterfeit products. This conference will start activities to root out the distribution of counterfeit products through the private and public cooperative system.

KIPO has performed the service as the special police squad of trademarks since September, 2010. Meantime, the control of counterfeit products has been strengthened by the criminal penalties to the offenders manufacturing, distributing and/or selling counterfeit products through on-line and off-line. However, the cooperation from the trademark owners and on-line operators has been considered to be necessary for more effective control of counterfeit products. Therefore, KIPO has decided to support the launch and activities of the conference, to positively carry forward the private and public cooperation.

3. The number of patent applications in the field of a flexible printed circuit board using an ink pattern (hereinafter, referred to as “FPCB”) tends to increase

While wearable smart phones or tablet PCs have been developing, FPCB is attracted as an electronic component to support those.

Unlike the existing printed circuit board (PCB), FPCB is capable of making a three-dimensional wire structure. FPCB is a necessary component for the next generation of smart device(s) combining both the wearable and flexible technology so that it durably works even if it is folded and unfolded many times.

According to KIPO, the number of the FPCB-related patent applications during 2009~2013 was about 330.

Among the FPCB-related patent applications, the number of the patent applications for the FPCB by which a circuit pattern is formed like being printed by propelling electrified ink totaled only 26 for 5 years by 2012. However, it increased such that 20 applications were filed for only 1 year, 2013.

Since this FPCB using the ink pattern is applicable in the wearable or flexible electronic device field by realizing diverse shapes and functions according to the kinds of a board and ink and the printing technology, it is expected to create huge added value.

4. Examination standards for a computer-related invention will be revised

Viewpoints of the technical novelty and inventive step(s) and philosophical issues underlie software (SW) patents. SW patents have a background that not only the SW-related industries but also the management and supervision agencies, such as the administration and the judiciary, have the different methods of approach. Since the stance from every field around SW patents is different, the SW patent-related controversy is not expected to be easily solved.

In the SW patent-related controversy, the following areas are seen: KIPO to examine a SW-related patent application, Korean Intellectual Property Tribunal to determined the effectiveness, Court to make a decision on whether an infringement of a right is constituted, the government and judiciary, such as the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Copyright Commission to manage the copyrights of SW source codes.

KIPO has started a revision of the examination standards of computer-related inventions, to clarify the SW patent scope. As the IT converging technology has been developed, SW has become the indispensable element of the industries. Accordingly, the scope of the patent right is unclear and a patentee is likely to be damaged. If the examination standards are changed, KIPO may include computer program types, such as an application, middle ware, operating system (OS), platform, etc., in the objects to be protected as an invention. That is, the SW-related patent scope is broadened and therefore the protection of the patent right will be strengthened.


KIPO held the 8th IP information working group meeting (News latter No. 290)


Korean Intellectual Property Tribunal (KIPT) opens for the first time an oral trial video (News latter No. 288)