1. The Collaborative Search Program (CSP) starts from September 1, 2015
CSP presupposes a request for an applicant who files patent applications for the same invention with KIPO and USPTO. CSP was for the first time proposed by the Republic of Korea in the patent-related international meeting in 2013, to improve patent quality.
Specially, the CSP’s roll is important since the US is the biggest patent market in the world and the country where patent disputes against Korean companies most frequently occur. Further, since the US preferential examination requesting fees, which can reach a maximum of US$4,000, is exempt, the time and cost-bearing of Korean companies to obtain US patents are expected to be reduced.
The number of international patent dispute cases of Korean companies based on 2007~2012 was 709 with the US, 152 with Japan, 65 with Germany, 45 with Taiwan, 23 with Sweden, 18 with GB, and 15 with Canada (source: KIPO).
The director of the Patent Examination Planning Bureau said, “KIPO is preparing and carrying forward measures to improve the overall patent quality and as a part of these, KIPO operates the Korea-US CSP to give a stronger patent which is not easily invalidated internationally.” The director added that they would try to expand the program to other countries, such as China, Europe, Japan, etc., that Korean companies need.
2. A patent application filed by an elderly person or a terminally ill patient is preferentially examined
According to KIPO, the notification of a request for a preferential examination of patent and utility model applications, which adds the patent applications filed by an applicant who is an elderly person or a terminally ill patient to the subject of the request for the preferential examination, has been in operation since August 19, 2015.
This system improvement is to provide a basis for ‘foundation by elderly people’.
Further, the application filed by a terminally ill patient is provided with the preferential examination service. This is a follow-up to civil affairs of a terminally ill patient which actually occurs, to institutionally consider the applicant who finds it difficult to wait for the examination results for a long time.
When an elderly person or a terminally ill patient requests a preferential examination, it will be expected to have a benefit of shortening an examination process period, on average, by about 8.8 months (based on starting) and 10.5 months (based on ending), compared with an ordinary examination. For reference, an average starting period/ending period will be 2.2 months/5.4 months in the case of a preferential examination; whereas, 11.0 months/15.9 months in the case of an ordinary examination.
The director of the Patent Examination Planning Bureau said, “By expanding the subject for requesting preferential examination, the accumulated social experience and knowledge of our elderly people can be made early as patent rights and thus creative ideas are prevented from being lost.”
3. Registering an intellectual property (IP) right with a local customs is a first step to protect a K-brand
- Manuals for registering IP rights with Customs in China, etc. are published and company presentations are held.
KIPO, the Korea Customs Service (KCS) and the Trade-related IPR Protection Association (TIPA) published manuals for registering IP rights with the Customs in four (4) Asia countries, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.
The manuals include: a method for registering an IP right with a foreign Customs, a contact point to get information of punishment and help when an IP infringement is exposed, and supportive content.
A control of the customs process through the registration of an IP right with the foreign Customs is very efficient compared with control of a small-sized counterfeit dealer. Nevertheless, the number of IP rights registered with foreign Customs by Korean companies is very low compared with the major countries, the US, Japan, etc.
Therefore, KIPO and KCS have published and distributed the manuals by investigating the Customs IPR systems of the countries including China where Korean companies’ damages are serious by counterfeit distribution, to expect the effect of protecting Korean companies’ IPR in foreign countries.
The director of the Industrial Property Protection Cooperation Bureau said, “For the activation of the Customs IPR registration system, we will further expand the Customs IPR registration supporting program which has been operated in the countries including China, the US, Japan, etc., where foreign IP center (IP-DESK) is installed.”
4. The number of applications related to camping cars is rapidly increasing
According to KIPO, the number of Korean patent applications related to camping cars was 73 during 20 years from 1990 to 2009 and 153 during 5.5 years from 2010 to June 2015, showing a rapid increase in the number of the applications for the past several years. In fact, 12 applications were filed in 2010, 10 in 2011, 21 in 2012, 33 in 2013, 51 in 2014 and 26 as of June 2015, showing a sharp increase.
The most patent applications for camping cars are related to a camping car structure to improve conveniences in mobility and environments in use. Based on structures, camping cars are classified into an inside remodel camping car, a rooftop camping car; a motor caravan, a camping trailer, and a tent trailer. The inside remodel camping car is designed to be divided into a front driver seat and a back living facilities by remodeling a typical commercial vehicle. The rooftop camping car has a roof on the top of a typical van and is equipped with facilities such as a bed, etc. The motor caravan has living accommodations in a loading box of a truck camper. The camping trailer is designed to be movably towed by another vehicle. The tent trailer is formed of a tent and a trailer.
The technologies filed in the applications are numbered by types: 69 applications are for motor caravans and truck campers (30.5% of a total of 226 applications), followed by 53 for camping trailers (23.5%) and 52 for rooftop camping cars (23%).