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Patent examination processing period will be shortened to one year or less (News letter No, 293)



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1. Patent examination processing period will be shortened to one year or less

The patent examination processing period will be shortened to one year or less and an intellectual property (IP) agency will be formed to connect a company needing a proper patent technology and the proper technology.

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) decided to shorten the patent examination processing period to 1 year or less and the trademark and design examination processing period to 6.5 months.

To this end, KIPO will increase examination manpower to rationalize the number of cases to be substantially processed per examiner to the level of competing countries, Japan and US, and it will carry forward a budget increase to relieve a burden of an examiner to process an examination. The increase in budget (32.1 billion Korea Won) and the increase in the number of examiners (310 examiners) are requested to be fulfilled by 2017.

An interactive examination cooperation to improve the capability of prior art researchers to assist examiners, to improve search environments and to expand search ranges will be expanded by 30% within this year, to increase the patent examination quality.

IP finance will be expanded. KIPO has started the IP financial loan connected with the financial agencies, KDB industrial dank, IBK industrial bank since 2013 and it has decided to continuously expand it to commercial banks. As Woori Bank and Shinhan Bank have established a department for the IP secured loan in their internal organization and started developing the relevant goods, the IP financial loan through these commercial banks is expected to start within this year.

2. Current status of intellectual property (IP) rights during the second quarter of 2014

The total number of the IP applications filed during the second quarter of 2014 was 110,033, showing a 1.1% increase in comparison with the same period in 2013.

By rights, the number of patent applications increased by 5.2% and the number of trademark applications increased by 1.3%. However, the number of utility model applications decreased about 23.3% and the number of design applications decreased about 7.3%.

By Korean and foreign applicants, the number of IP applications filed by Korean applicants increased by 1.1% and the number of IP applications filed by foreign applicants increased by 0.8% in comparison with the same period in 2013.

The number of IP trial cases filed during the second quarter of this year was 2,959, decreasing by about 22.3% in comparison with the same period in 2013. The number of the processed trial cases was 6,089, decreasing by about 16.9% in comparison with the same period in 2013.

3. The Republic of Korea continuously maintains the top 3rd place in ‘PCT international searches’ for 5 years

The number of PCT international search reports issued by KIPO for the first time passed 30,000 in 2013, easily achieving the world top 3rd place in the number of international search reports which has been kept by KIPO since 2009.

According to the PCT Yearly Review of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), published in July, the European Patent Office (EPO) was recorded as the top 1st as 77,395 international search reports, followed by the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) with 42,433 and then KIPO with 30,461.

In addition to EPO, JPO and KIPO, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the People’s Republic of China (with 23,737) and the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) (with 16,635) were reported as issuing more than 10,000 international search reports. That is, the number of the Patent Offices which issued more than 10,000 international search reports during one year of 2013 was only five in the world.

Specially, 18,103 reaching 60% of the number of international search reports issued by KIPO last year were requested by foreign companies which selected KIPO among many international search agencies. This fact shows the international competition of the Korea IP administration and simultaneously it is evaluated as bring economical benefits as the acquisition of foreign currencies.

4. A consumer-electronics industry enters the era of Internet of Things (IOT)

- IOT releases, one after another, consumer-electronic-related patent ideas as new products

As the generic technologies to realize IOT, such as the infrastructure construction of ultrahigh-speed internet communications and the technological development of cloud and big-data, etc., have been commercialized, IOT is noticed as a new growth power of the consumer-electronics industry.

According to the KIPO’s survey, as the consumer-electronic technology combined with the IOT technology rapidly developed from 2000 to 2005, the average number of the relevant patent applications filed per year was about 160. This is interpreted as reflecting the prosperous market future, together with the business model patent boom during that time.

Recently, the patent ideas which were not commercialized due to the space-time limitations in the wire internet and PC-based environment have been released as new products, one after another, since these have been made available by the expanded supply of smart phones and wireless data communications. The related patent applications have been continuously filed. The subjects of the patent applications that have been actively filed reflect the living conditions of modern people, individual health and habit, aging society and changes in use pattern reflecting an electric fee, etc.

These patent applications are illustrated by a washing machine receiving weather information and reflecting the weather information upon selecting a washing course, a TV receiving an electric fee information and limiting watching when it passes over a predetermined number, a refrigerator frequently checking the health of a user, such as body composition, pulse, temperature and so on, through its door handle and then sending the data to a hospital, an air conditioner transferring a fire signal to a user or a fire station in the case of fire, and a silver care refrigerator informing to a portable phone of a user’s child(ren) when the number of opening the refrigerator’s door(s) is abnormally reduced.


KIPO and SIPO agreed to strengthen the cooperation in the trademark field (News letter No, 294)


It is possible to file a trademark application in Korean in foreign countries (News letter No, 292)