1. KIPO selected 220 small and medium companies promising in intellectual property (IP) in 2015
- KIPO conducted a survey of patent technology trend and provides a comprehensive support related to IP, such as brand and design development, etc, for 3 years.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced that it finally selected 220 promising small and medium companies to be supported by an 「IP star company promotion project」 of 2015.
The IP star company promotion project is to support the IP management of a small/medium company by the cooperation of KIPO and a local government. For 3 years, a selected company can receive diverse support related to IP, that is, the consultation of IP management strategies, the support to obtain an IP right at home and abroad, the development of a brand and design.
As small and medium companies’ interest in IP has increased, a total of 1,126 companies applied to the IP star company promotion project in this year, showing a high competitiveness of 5.1:1.
An average number of IP cases owned by the 220 companies selected this year is 25.3. The average sales is 13,620,000,000 Korea Won, the average exports is 3,000,000,000 Korea Won, and the average number of employees is 50.1. By industrial classification, there are 83 mechanical and metal companies, 57 electric and electronic companies, 38 chemical and bio companies, showing that various industrial companies are evenly distributed.
2. 540 product patents are expiring, starting new opportunities
- KIPO published information of product patents which will expire in 2015~2017
The information of 540 product patents to expire within 3 years is open to the public.
Among the product patents expiring during the period of 2015~2017 based on the data published by KIPO, the most product patents, 249 (46.1%), are in the medical field, followed by 123 (22.8%) in the chemical material field, 109 (20.2%) in the bio field, 40 (7.4%) in the agricultural pesticide field, 12 (2.2.%) in the cosmetic field, and 7 (1.3%) in the food field.
Representative product patents expiring include a number of blockbuster medicines stated below: The scale of Korean market of these products which are confirmed only reaches 600,000,000,000 Korea Won.
-‘Entecavir’ (expiring in October 2015) which is a main element of ‘Baraclude’ (annual sales: about 160,000,000,000 Korea Won) as a chronic hepatitis B medicine) ranking no. 1 in sales of domestic prescription drugs,
-‘Tadalafil’ (expiring in September 2015) which is a main element of ‘Cialis’ (annual sales: about 25,000,000,000 Korea Won) leading the erectile-dysfunction medicine market, together with ‘Viagra’ (expired in May 2012),
-‘Celecoxib’ (expiring in June 2015) which is a main element of ‘Celebrex’ (annual sales: about 58,000,000,000 Korea Won) as a rheumarthritis medicine,
-‘Ritonavir, Lopinavir’ (expiring in December 2016) which are main elements of ‘Kaletra’ (global market scale: about 1,300,000,000 US Dollars) as an AIDS medicine,
-‘Adalimumab’ (expiration extended from February 2017 to January 2019) which is a main element of ‘Humira’ (annual sales: about 40,000,000,000 Korea Won) as a rheumarthritis medicine.
540 products/substances which are expire over time, without renouncing the patent rights, are expected to be very useful in the future, through the development of new products, the research of improved products/substances, the activation of R&D, etc.
3. The number of patent applications related to an LCD Polarizing film has rapidly increased in the Republic of Korea being the top in the world LCD market
While Chinese chase is strong in the LCD TV market where the Republic of Korea holds a 1st place in the global market share, the number of patent applications for a polarizing film as a core component for clear pictures and low-power has steadily increased. According to KIPO, the number of the patent applications related to the polarizing film increased 62% for the last 3 years, from 190 in 2011 to 308 in 2014.
The number of the polarizing film-related applications filed by foreign applicants decreased from 121 in 2008 to 64 in 2014, whereas that filed by Korean applicants increased from 93 in 2008 to 244 in 2014 by 2.6 times. As Korean LCD TV manufacturing companies’ demand for polarizing films has increased and the dollar has been strong, Korean optical film manufacturing companies’ profitability has improved. Therefore, the reason why the applications filed by the Korean applicants increased is considered as resulting from the Korean optical film manufacturing companies’ intensive investments in the R&D of polarizing films which are relatively high value products.
The trend of the polarizing film-related applications shows the same tendency with the development in the direction of LCD TV. Major technologies of the applications include: a technology to reduce the thickness of an LCD panel by integrating a diversity of optical films to a polarizing film, a technology to improve the definition of a picture by improving polarizing performance, a reflective polarizing film technology to enhance brightness and to reduce power consumption by recycling light lost during a polarizing process, etc. Specifically, the reflective polarizing film monopolized by 3M has been applied to mainly a luxury LCD TV only since its price is high. However, Korean companies are actively developing alternative technology according to the trend of market high-quality/gentrification, such as the appearance of UHD TVs, etc.
4. Companies’ smooth economic activities are supported through the prompt and accurate settlement of IP disputes
-「Intellectual Property Tribunal’s plan of activities in 2015」 was published, including the improvement of a system to lower the rate of citation in a patent invalidation trial, etc.
◈ IP-related disputes are supported to be early settled through prompt judgment.
- A period to settle up an inter parties trial case (a lawsuit between all interested parties, such as an invalidation trial) is set to be aimed within 6 months.
- Approval of medicine and medical supplies: A case related to the Korean Patent Linkage System (enforced on March 15) is handled as a preferential trial.
◈ The professionalism and quality control are strengthened for correct examination review
- A trial case is assigned by corresponding a technical field of the trial case to a major field of a judge.
- The quality of a trial is improved by unifying the standards to handle an issue of a trial and analyzing and sharing a reason of cancellation of a decision of a trial.
◈ The protection of an owner of a right is reinforced by improving a system, such as a system of forewarning a decision of an invalidation trial.
- To lower the citation rate in an invalidation trial, the improvement of a system is carried forwarded to respect an IP right.
- A system of forewarning a decision of an invalidation trial and a system for requesting to cancel a patent are introduced to harmonize with the standards for judgment of patent requirements with a court.