1. The Korea-Taiwan Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program started on July 1, 2015
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has operated the PPH program with Taiwan, to support the creation of foreign intellectual property (IP) rights by Korean companies.
The Korean trade size with Taiwan grew from 3.1 billion dollars in 1991 to 30.7 billion dollars corresponding to the top seven (7) trading countries in 2014, and, therefore the importance of protecting and creating Korean IP rights in Taiwan has increased.
Accordingly, the PPH program is expected to play a major role for Korea companies aiming at the Taiwanese markets to dominate and commercialize their IP rights.
KIPO is operating the PPH programs with twenty-three Patent Offices including USPTO, SIPO (State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China), JPO, etc. and expending its effort to improve the quality of PPH and the procedural convenience.
As of June 2015, the countries with which Korea operates the PPH programs are as follows: Japan, USA, China, Europe (EPO), England, Germany, Austria, Canada, Russia, Finland, Spain, Denmark, Mexico, Singapore, Hungary, Israel, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Island, Nordic Patent Institute, and Philippine.
2. The most disputes regarding foreign IP of Korean companies occurred in China
- The IP disputes occurring by the patent troll in the USA exceeded 30%.
KIPO conducted an actual condition survey on foreign IP disputes, to comprehend the current state of the disputes that the relevant Korean export companies had undergone during the period from October 2014 to April 2015. KIPO published the results of the survey.
This actual condition survey target included about 12,000 export companies owning IP rights, with a primarily survey conducted by phone. A secondary questionnaire survey target was 101 companies having IP dispute experiences and it was conducted for detailed actual conditions of the IP disputes.
① 36% of the foreign IP disputes that the export companies had experienced occurred in China.
② The IP disputes raised by the patent troll in the USA exceeded 30%.
③ Small/medium and venture companies’ countermeasures to foreign IP disputes were still weak.
④ The number of IP disputes occurred during the export processes, such as overseas exhibitions, was considerable.
⑤ Governmental policies to support the countermeasures to the IP disputes were to be strengthened.
3. KIPO held an international seminar to obtain a foreign design right
- USA, Japan, etc. introduced the application filing strategies to secure foreign design rights
KIPO and WIPO jointly held an international design application seminar in the Korean Science and Technology Hall in Seoul on June 26, 2015.
This seminar introduced, in detail, the working-level experiences of the companies actively using the international design application system. Further, the experts from WIPO and Japanese Patent Office (JPO) provided detailed information of the matters that Korean companies have to know, to obtain design rights in foreign countries. These matters include the examination procedures of the International Bureau (IB), the special considerations when designating Japan, the examination experiences of KIPO, the cases of companies using the system, etc.
Under the international design application system, when an applicant wants to obtain a design right in a number of foreign countries, the applicant can to file one application for a design to be registered in a number of foreign countries, without directly filing each application in each of those foreign countries. Previously, this system has been operated in the European countries including England, France, Germany, etc., which do not examine the requirements for registration, such as novelty, etc. However, from July 1, 2014, the Republic of Korea first introduced this system among the countries which perform substantive examination. Taking this opportunity, USA and Japan joined this system on May 13, 2015. Therefore, the effectiveness of the international design application system has been highly increased.
4. The number of wholesale and retail businesses-related trademark registrations heavily increased due to the activation of overseas direct purchases
- The number of trademarks registered in 2014 increased by 2.8 times in comparison with 2010, by the activation of e-commerce including the overseas direct purchases
As the e-commerce of purchasing goods through a smart phone and the Internet has vastly increased, the number of wholesale and retail business-related trademark registrations has greatly increased.
According to KIPO, the number of the wholesale and retail business-related trademarks registered with KIPO reached about 74,000 as of May 2015. 10,544 trademarks were registered in 2014, showing a sharp increase of 2.8 times compared with 3,817 trademarks in 2010.
Before the Internet was universalized, people would do legwork to purchase inexpensive and high quality goods in general stores, big shopping malls and department stores. However, as e-commerce, which enables one to easily and conveniently purchase desired goods at anytime for 365 days and 24 hours and from anywhere, has been activated, the number of the wholesale and retail business-related trademark registrations is considered as rapidly increasing.
As the number of countries of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Korea-USA and Korea-EU has expanded, mutual trade has increased along with the trading scale. Further, the foreign purchase sites, such as Amazon of the USA and Alibaba of China, have increased the overseas direct purchases. Accordingly, the number of foreign wholesale and retail business-related trademarks as registered has also increased since 2010.