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Korean IP System changing from 2015 (News Letter No. 305)



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1. Korean IP System changing from 2015

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced the ‘intellectual property system is newly revised from 2015’ and beginning on January 1, 2015.

According to the enforcement of the revised Patent Law, it is possible to file an application not only in Korean but also in English and to file an application using a research note or thesis, easing the formality requirements.

The claim on the exception for public disclosure was possible only upon filing a patent application but it is now possible before registering a patent application. Further, it was possible to file a divisional application before a decision on registration of a patent application was made but it is now possible to do so after the decision.

A preliminary examination system is for an applicant and an examiner to promote an accurate and expedited examination on an application for an invention having a high level of technical difficulty, through a face-to-face discussion, before starting the examination. Now, the preliminary examination system expands from ‘an application requesting a preferential examination where a prior art search is requested’ to ‘every application requesting a preferential examination’.

Counterstrategies directed against product imitation and consultations in the naming of export products are provided to export companies, to prevent trademarks of the Korean companies advancing in Asia, including China, from being infringed.

2. KIPO published ‘examination and trial results of 2014 and plans for 2015 plans’

Last year, the examination pendency period was shortened to 11 months for patent applications and to 6.4 months for trademark applications. This year, it is aimed to be shortened to 10 months for patent applications and to 5 months for trademark and design applications.

The number of patent applications filed in 2014 was about 210,000 (4th in world ranking) and the number of patent registrations was about 130,000. The patent examination processing period was 11.0 months, achieving the world’s top level examination service.

The number of trademark applications filed in 2014 was about 150,000 (7th in world ranking) and the number design applications was about 5,000 (3rd in world ranking). The trademark and design examination processing periods were recorded as 6.4 months and 6.5 months, respectively.

The number of trials filed in 2014 was 11,981 and the trial processing period was 7.9 months.

The number of international applications (including PCT international patent, trademark and design applications) filed in 2014 was 57,686, increasing by 2.4% compared with 56,334 in 2013.

The number of the international applications filed by Korean applicants during the last 5 years steadily increased, showing an increase of 36.3% in the number of PCT international patent applications (5th in world ranking) and 74.3% in the number of international trademark applications from 5 years ago.

3. Tendency of patent applications for welding technology

According to KIPO, the number of welding-related patent applications has continuously increased since 2000. The welding-related applications filed during the last 10 years (2003~2012) are classified by types as follows: The percentages of the applications for gas welding and resistance welding which had been traditionally widely used were very low, respectively, by 2.57% and 12.0% of the total applications. The percentage of the applications for non-electrical welding was 12.6% but it tended to gradually increase. The percentages of the applications for arc welding and laser welding were 35.8% and 37.0%, respectively, sharply increasing in comparison with the other welding technologies.

The increasing tendency in the applications in the laser welding field is considered as resulting from the increase of use of the laser welding in the micro-fabrication technology, such as the 3D printing technology, etc. As well-known, the 3D printing technology realizes a three-dimensional shape by using raw materials in the form of powder to layer them in two-dimensional cross sections. The value of using the 3D printing technology is infinite. When metal powder is used as a raw material to shape a high strength product, the metal powder is layered and thereafter laser is used to sinter and bond powder layers.

4. The number of design applications for electronic cigarettes has explosively increased as soon as it became known that the cigarette price would go up

- The number of the e-cigarette-related design applications increased by more than 100% in 2014

In last year when there was the news that the government would increase the cigarette price in the beginning of 2015, the number of the design applications related to e-cigarettes sharply increased.

According to KIPO, the number of e-cigarette-related design applications which had been only 69 in 2013 was 141 as of November 2014, more that twice, showing an increase of more than 100%.

The number of registrations of e-cigarette-related designs was a total of 30 during 3 years, from 2010 to 2012. However, it was 38 in 2013 and 42 as of November 2014, showing that the demand of products related to e-cigarettes has increased. The products registered are classified by types as follows: The most was for e-cigarettes with 46% (51 designs) and for components, such as cartridges for e-cigarettes, with 41% (46 designs).

According to people related to KIPO, the increase in the number of design registrations of e-cigarette-related products is related to the news of increasing the price of cigarettes raised as a national issue from last year and the increasing demands of the heavy smokers to stop smoking.


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