1. To promote a small champion company having a standard patent capability
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) held a forum for standard patent strategies to develop a small champion company having a standard patent capability. This forum was arranged to seek for a policy plan to develop a small champion company having a standard patent capability to realize a creative economy.
Korean small and medium companies’ understanding or competency of standard patents is still very insufficient in spite of the importance of standard patents. Although most small and medium companies produce products to which standard patents are applied, those companies are exposed to risks of patent trials due to a lack of information of major standard patents and a lack of counterstrategies.
Herein, KIPO decided to prepare the comprehensive policy plan to develop a small champion company having the standard patent capability by holding the ‘2014 forum for standard patent strategies’ where small and medium companies and industries-universities-institutes attend.
2. A preemptive response is needed to slow the spread of patent disputes concerning smart grid
- It is urgent to reinforce the capability of creating smart grid-related intellectual property (IP).
As the growth of smart grid-related domestic and foreign markets has started, patent disputes have also been spreading. In the Republic of Korea, since patent infringement on power line communications (PLC) was raised, the AMI supply business was delayed. In the US where the smart grid investment scale is big, patent disputes have happened one after another after the verification/test business started in 2009. In the US, patent disputes have gradually spread to not only the AMI-related communication protocols but also to decreasing the amount of power usage and to the technology for wind power generator turbines, etc. Further, the companies specializing in the intellectual property (non-practicing entity: NPEs), such as Sipco, IntusIQ, EON, etc., are growing. Since the patents of NPEs are mainly related to information communication technologies (ICT), the smart grid industry combining ICT to the conventional electrical grid technology is not free from the ICT patent disputes.
According to KIPO, the trends of patent applications filed in the smart grid technology field during the last five years are as follows:
Among the five smart grid technology fields, Korean applicants filed 36.2% of the patent applications in the intelligent electrical grid field and foreign applicants filed 50.9%. Thus, Korean companies’ patent competitiveness in the fields of power transmission and distribution and electric power equipment was surveyed as being weaker than foreign companies.
Further, small and medium companies filed 38.8% of patent applications in the total industry fields during the last five years. However, only 27.6% of the patent applications in the smart grid industry were filed by small and medium companies. The small and medium companies’ capability of IP creation in the smart grid field is considered as being relatively low.
3. The number of patent applications related to the safety of a wind power generator has rapidly increased
The number of patent applications for the wind power generator safety-related technology has rapidly increased with the enlargement of wind power generators and the large-scale development of the offshore wind power farm.
A wind power generator comprises: a revolution unit including a wing and a wing controller; a body including a gear, a generator, etc.; a tower supporting the revolution unit and the body; and a power control system.
According to the trends of patent applications for the power wind generator safety-related technology as provided by KIPO, the number of the patent applications accumulated by 2008 was 138 and it has sharply increased to 827 during the last five years starting in 2009.
The number of the relevant patent applications during the last five years shows an increase of about 160% on average per year. This indicates that the research and development in the new renewable energy field has been actively performed. Specially, the effort to secure the initiative in the future market is considered as being now at its height based on the safety, along with the growth of the wind power generator market, the enlargement of the wind power generators and the development of large-scale offshore wind power farms.
The companies filing multiple patent applications in the wind power generator field during the last twenty years are Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., Japanese Mitsubish, German Wobben, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd., Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., German Siemens, US GE, etc.. An average of 54.3% of the number of the patent applications for the safety-related technology among the total of these patent applications were filed by the foreign companies filing multiple patent applications.
4. KIPO expands the service to provide customized patent information
- Information of patent classification and patent family is provided to people for free.
KIPO announced that the information of ‘patent classification and family’ of the intellectual properties (for patents, utility models) would be provided for free to people through the IP information web service, KIPRISPlus (plus.kipris.or.kr), from October.
The patent classification information includes not only IPC, CPC which are international standards of patent classification but also any changes thereof.
The patent family information provided with the patent classification information is structured to enable to connect and search patent applications filed in a plurality of countries when the same invention was filed in those countries.
Therefore, through the patent family information, it is possible to get a patent status related to one invention for a patent application(s) in 231 countries in the world. When this patent family information is connected to the legal status information which has been provided, it is possible to search, at once, an examination progress status of the relevant patent application.