1. For five (5) consecutive years, the Republic of Korea has kept the 5th place in world ranking in filing international patent applications
-The number of the PCT international patent applications filed by Korean applicants in 2014 increased 6.2% compared to the previous year and it was way above the increase in the number of world applications.
The number of the Korean international patent applications filed in 2014 through the Patent Cooperation Treat (PCT) increased 6.2%, keeping the 5th place in the world rank for the consecutive five (5) years.
According to the ‘tentative application statistical data’ published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under UN on March 19, 2015 (Geneva local time), the number of Korean international patent applications was 13,151, being 6.1% of the total number of 215,000 to hold the 5th in the world rank.
The number of Korean PCT international patent applications increased from 12,386 in 2013 to 13,151 in 2014. US with 61,492 (28.7%) held the 1st place, followed by Japan with 42,459 and China with 25,539. The total number in the whole world applications increased 4.5% compared to the previous year due to the increases of the applications by the US and the Republic of Korea, together with the double digit increase (18.7%) in the applications by China. The increase rate in the number of the international patent applications by the US, China and the Republic of Korea was 93%, holding most of the total increase.
2. A case related to the patent linkage system of the approval of medicine and medical supplies is handled as a preferential trial
- Disputes related to generic medicine and medical supplies are expected to be early settled through the preferential trial procedures.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), they decided to promptly proceed with a trial case related to the patent linkage system of the approval of medicine and medical supplies, which was enforced on March 15, 2015 by the revision of the pharmaceutical law.
By this measurement (the revision to the regulations regarding trials), a trial case filed in relation to the patent linkage system of the approval of medicine and medical supplies is subject to being a preferential trial to be handled prior to any other trial cases, at a request from the person directly concerned.
Most of preferential trial cases are processed within six (6) months, faster by two (2) months or more compared to general patent trial cases. This is expected to contribute to an early settlement of a dispute related to generic medicines and medical supplies through a prompt examination.
According to the patent linkage system of the approval of medicine and medical supplies, when a manufacturing company of generic medicines and medical supplies requests the Korean Food and Drugs Administration to permit a generic item after filing a trial (a passive/defensive confirmation trial for the scope of a right, a trial for invalidation, etc.) against a patentee, the manufacturing company shall notify the patentee of the fact that the request for the permission of the generic item was filed. After that, if the patentee reacts to the trial filed by the manufacturing company of generic medicines and medical supplies or if the patentee brings another trial (an active confirmation trial for the scope of a right), the sale of generic medicines and medical supplies is prohibited for nine (9) months from the date of said notification. In this case, only when the manufacturing company of generic medicines and medical supplies receives a favorable judgment from the Korean Intellectual Property Tribunal, it is possible to cancel the measure of the sale prohibition and to acquire an exclusive sale right of the generic medicines and medical supplies.
3. It is now easier to file an application for a trademark in a foreign country
KIPO announced that a website (TM5 ID List Website) service started, making it easy to search the names of goods and service businesses approved in common in US, Europe, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea.
When anyone wants to protect a trademark (brand) as a right by filing an application for the trademark (brand) in each country, the application shall be filed by correctly designating goods and classes of goods. However, since the names and classes of goods are slightly different by foreign Patent Offices and an intellectual property (IP)-related international organizations, an applicant filing a trademark application in a foreign country usually encounters difficulties.
In this regard, the rate of defect occurrence caused by the names and classes of goods when filing a trademark application in a foreign county through the WIPO was 25.3% in 2013 and 17.1% in the first half of 2014.
The TM5 ID List Website (http://oami.europa.eu/ec2/tm5) opened now was built with the cooperation of the TM5 members (US, Europe, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea) holding about 70% of the world trademark applications. In this website, since it is possible to easily search about 15,000 names of goods approved in common in the Patent Offices of the aforementioned five (5) countries, foreign applicants' convenience is expected to be significantly improved.
Each member of TM5 proposed 30 goods-related names and classes every month and these were approved by all of the members of TM5, forming the names and classes of goods included in the TM5 ID List Website. When a trademark application is filed in US, Europe, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea in accordance with the names and classes of the goods searched in this website, it does not receive any rejection reasons based on an unclear name of goods or an error in classification of goods.
4. A rapid initial response is important in an IP dispute in a foreign country
According to KIPO, the project to support an initial response to a foreign IP dispute has been operated from March, to rapidly respond to an IP dispute of a Korean company in twenty-two (22) foreign countries including Japan, Hong Kong, England, etc.
An expert pool is formed of thirty-seven (37) domestic and foreign expert law firms capable of IP consultation, etc. to the twenty-two (22) foreign countries like major conflict countries. This expert pool will support legal consultation and infringement investigation, to prevent and react to IP disputes.
The twenty-two (22) countries are Japan, Taiwan, Australia, England, France, Canada, Italy, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Mexico, UAE, Chile, Turkey, Denmark, Lebanon and El Salvador.
Medium and small companies advancing abroad or planning overseas expansion are eligible for the support. This project supports a part of expenses for legal consultation and infringement investigation to secure a Korean company's local IP including the filing of a foreign application, to react to a warning letter related to an IP dispute and to control counterfeit products, etc.