1. Korean design information is searched throughout the whole world!
- The European design search service (DesignView) has started a service to provide Korean design information.
In the future, as the range of using Korean design information is greatly expanded, international awareness of Korean designs is expected to be more improved.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the service to provide Korean design information has been started in DesignView which is the biggest design search service operated by the European trademark and design office, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).
To this end, in October 2014, KIPO concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with OHIM to exchange design information. Accordingly, the Republic of Korea is the first Asian country to have started the service of Korean design information in DesignView.
In DesignView, it is possible to search information of about 2,770,000 designs of 26 countries/institutions including France, Italia, Spain, etc. The information search range of designs of Asian countries starting with the Republic of Korea will be expanded.
DesignView provides the Korean language supporting service including a ‘Hangul (Korean alphabet) translation function’ and a ‘Hangul search function*’. The Hangul translation function is to translate the homepage menu into the Korean language so that any Korean is able to easily search the information of overseas designs. When a user enters a search word in Hangul to search design information, the Hangul search function searches the information by translating the search word into one of the languages, such as English, French, Portuguese, etc., provided by OHIM.
(*The Hangule search function service is to be provided from January 2015.)
2. KIPO leads to root out the distribution of counterfeit products!
KIPO leads to improve national brands by strengthening a control executive power and creating an IP respecting culture in order to root out the distribution of counterfeit products.
Korean counterfeit products are mainly manufactured and brought through China. Recently, as the market scale of online shopping malls has expanded, the scale of counterfeit products distributed online where it is easy to avoid crime has increased. Specially, counterfeit products of poor quality have been seriously dangerous to people’s health and safety.
KIPO will efficiently block the counterfeit products brought to be distributed, reinforce the control executive power and prepare and carry forward a new alternative to enhance the awareness of people.
KIPO and the Korean Customs Service together strengthen the control of counterfeit criminal through the joint control against online sale sites which have servers located abroad and intend to bring counterfeit products into Korea.
3. Sel-ka-bong (selfie stick), a hot seller of 2014, the number of patent applications related to it has rapidly increased
A sel-ka-bon has been explosively popular by youngsters due to the worldwide selfie craze and the number of patent applications related to the sel-ka-bong has rapidly increased in 2014.
According to KIPO, the sel-ka-bon-related technology has been filed in Korean applications since 2011. Only 1~2 applications were filed every year until 2013 and 8 applications were filed until November 2014, passing 2 times the number of the applications filed during the last 3 years. Especially, since the patent applications related to the sel-ka-bong were all filed by individuals, the general public’s interest in the sel-ka-bong is considered as high.
In foreign countries, the number of applications related to the sel-ka-bon filed during the last 10 years (2004~2013) was only13 in US and 15 in Japan. This indicates that the activity of filing the relevant applications was not active until 2013.
According to KIPO, the first sel-ka-bon was invented by Hirosh Ueda and Yujiro Mima (Japanese) in 1983, published in Japan 1984 and registered as a patent in US only in 1985. This sel-ka-bong, which was invented at the beginning of 1980s when a commercial digital camera just appeared, comprises a camera fixing unit, a length-adjustable rod and a switch positioned in a handle and shows the degree of completion as the same as the recent sel-ka-bon(s). But, considering that the patent term is 20 years, this patent lapsed and therefore anyone can use it.
4. KIPO helps to secure the competitiveness of medical device-related patents
- A plan to enhance the patent competitiveness in the medical device industry is prepared
To develop the medical device industry as a future promising industry, KIPO plans to enhance the patent competitiveness in the medical device industry and start positive support from 2015.
Due to the narrow home market and small business structure, the Korean medical device industry lacks the market competitive power in comparison with the foreign global companies, Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare, Medtronic, etc.
In the view of IP rights, the number of Korean applications in the medical device field has increased but the awareness of small/medium companies to the IP rights is still insufficient. Furthermore, the medical device-related US applications filed by Korean applicants is only 1.8% of the total relevant applications. Therefore, the Korean medical device industry lacks the patent competitiveness in the global market and is very weak to the IP offensives of global companies.
The present plan is focused on supporting Korean small/medium companies related to medical devices to secure excellent patents by themselves and therefore to have the patent competitiveness when domestic and foreign patent disputes occur. To this end, KIPO has selected the three (3) driving strategies of:
- supporting the creation, protection and utilization of a patent to be successful in market advance;
- building the infrastructure to enhance the awareness of IP; and
- providing high-quality examination services.