1. Administrative procedures for Taiwanese patent applications to be filed Korean companies become convenient
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), when a patent application which was filed in the Republic of Korea is then filed in Taiwan, the filing date of the Korean patent application is approved as a filing date of the Taiwanese patent application from January 1, 2016, without submitting any certificate copy of a priority document.
Previously, a Korean company received a written certified copy of a priority document from KIPO and directly submited it to the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) by mail.
Starting in 2016, a Korean company’s request of a certified copy of a priority document and to submit it to TIPO is expected to disappear. If a Korean application number is described in a blank for claiming a priority when filing a patent application with TIPO, KIPO transmits a certified copy of a priority document to TIPO on behalf of a Korean applicant. In the same manner, this applies to the case where a Korean company which has filed a patent application with TIPO files with KIPO.
A spokesperson of KIPO said, “[T]he service of transmitting a certified copy of a priority document on behalf of an applicant started from USPTO and has steadily expanded to the European Patent Office, Japanese Patent Office, State Intellectual Property Office of the P.R.C., and I.P. Australia. Through the expansion of this service, Korean companies’ filing convenience is expected to be improved in fields, such as information communications, semiconductors, etc., where there are many patent applications filed with TIPO. KIPO will continue many diverse cooperative activities such that the protection of patent rights of Korean companies will be strengthened.”
2. It becomes easier to file foreign trademark applications
- English names of goods which are approved in foreign Patent Offices are provided.
It is expected that filing trademark applications in not only the Republic of Korea but also foreign countries will become easier from 2016.
KIPO announced that, from January 1, 2016, the information of names of goods which are approved in foreign countries would be provided. Therefore, from a step of filing a trademark application, an applicant can easily find, in the home page of KIPO, the names of goods which are approved in the Trademark Offices in the US, China, Japan and Europe.
Previously, KIPO formed a consultative group of the world’s top five Trademark Offices (TM5) with the US, China, Japan and Europe and have reflected the results of the program to build ‘TM5 list of goods approved in common’ to a Korean goods list every year. In 2015, the list of goods of the International Bureau (IB) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the European Trademark Office was additionally reflected to a ‘notification of names and classes of goods and service businesses’ to be notified on January 1, 2016.
Therefore, in the case where an applicant files a trademark application in a foreign country by using the English names of goods approved in the major countries notified by KIPO, the applicant’s burden in the English description is expected to be reduced. Further, a one to one mailing service is open on January 1, 2016, to be available regarding any additional inquiries, such as the classes and description of goods which are not reflected in the list of goods.
3. KIPO’s search services for the public become different from the New Year
- KIPO additionally provides the same search environment as those for examiners and the examination-related original information.
According to KIPO, from the New Year, the same search environment as that for examiners and patent examination-related original information are expansively provided, so that the general public and companies can confirm the same search results when they conduct searches of prior art documents.
The same search engine as that used by examiners is introduced to KIPRIS (www.kipris.or.kr), to increase the search accuracy of intellectual property information for the general public and simultaneously to improve the search speed.
Previously, the original documents of a notice of request for submission of argument, a notice of decision for rejection and a notice of decision for registration were provided only for the patents which have been opened or registered since 2012. However, the period of these original documents to be provided is expanded to the patents which have been opened or registered since 1999 and the originals of applications are also additionally provided.
A spokesperson of KIPO said, “KIPO will continue to support the system such that the general public and companies can easily and accurately access the intellectual property information to be used, and KIPO will prepare a base for the Republic of Korea to grow to be strong in intellectual property rights.”
4. Patent-related official fees are easily confirmed to be paid on mobile devices
- KIPO has started a mobile notice service of official fees.
KIPO announced that on December 29, 2015 the mobile notice service of official fees started. This mobile notice service enables a confirmation of IP-related official fees by a mobile phone and a direct payment through a related app.
The mobile notice service of official fees is to provide an applicant with all information of official fees and patent fees to be paid with KIPO by a mobile phone text message, in real-time. When the applicant uses a giro app provided by the Korea Financial Telecommunications Institute, it is possible to confirm and to pay the official fees by a smart phone.
Previously, KIPO provided the information of official fee payment through the internet site in addition to mail, so that an applicant might easily pay official fees. However, since the information of official fees and patent fees were not provided to a mobile phone, it was somewhat inconvenient for an applicant to rapidly confirm the relevant information.
As the mobile notice service of official fees has been opened, an applicant is able to easily confirm and pay official fees, without any limitation. Therefore, it is expected to improve the convenience of an applicant and to prevent a loss of a right by failing to make proper payment of the official fees.