1. KIPO has opened a smart examination system
- The burden in examination work is expected to be partially relieved through a new examination support system.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) had finished initiating a ‘smart examination system’, which was opened on December 11, 2015.
KIPO examiners’ burden in examination work has continuously increased since the number of applications has continuously increased even though they have performed the highest level of examination processing for rapid patent administration processes in the world.
To partially relieve the examiners’ burden of examination work and to improve the quality of examination, KIPO built and opened the ‘smart examination system’. This system functions to automatically analyze an application and to prevent an error in a notification’. The former is to automatically check for a formality problem, such as a description of two or more inventions in one claim’, through the analysis of the application filed by an applicant. The latter is to sort out an error (for example, application of a wrong article of the law, omission of a claim(s)) in a notification which may have occurred when an examiner writes the notification to be sent to an applicant.
An examiner receives the information flagged as an error through the ‘smart examination system’ and therefore the examiner can easily and correctly judge the problem by using the information. Accordingly, this system is expected to contribute to the creation of high quality patents since the examiner can input much more time in the technical judgment area.
2. The number of patent applications filed by small/medium companies has increased in the projector field
Filing patent applications for a projector which was pushed by a big-screen LCD TV and lost its footing has revived. According to KIPO, the number of the projector-related patent applications decreased by 2012 but rapidly increased in 2013 by 38% to turn on an upward trend.
The upward trend in the protector-related patent applications was led by small and medium companies. The number of the applications filed by small and medium companies for the last two years (2012~2014) showed an annual average increase of 62%. Whereas, the number of the applications filed by big companies was 85 in 2010 and 35 in 2014, decreasing about 20% every year.
Upon specifically reviewing the techniques in these applications filed during the last five years, the major techniques filed by small and medium companies showed clear differences from those filed by big companies. In the application, small and medium companies mainly filed the techniques, in general, to use a projector, such as the application system technique (29%) to graft a projector in many different fields, for example, exhibit, performance, advertisement, etc., a three dimension image technique (17%) using hologram, an image processing technique (14%) to project an image on a three dimensional structure, for example, a curved surface or an external wall of a building, etc. Whereas, big companies mainly filed techniques to improve the projector itself, such as an image quality improving technique (42%), a projector miniaturizing technique (16%), etc., rather than the techniques to use the projector.
The techniques to use a projector include: a stage setting to create an effect of an optical illusion by shooting a projector beam to an object, a method of processing an image to form a single huge screen by using a plurality of projectors, a method of projecting various images to a moving subject, etc.
3. Filing trademark applications was active in the cosmetic, electric, electronic and medical fields
- In 2015, the number of trademark applications was about 192,000, increasing by about 15.6% compared with the same period of 2014.
The fields where trademark applications were most actively filed with KIPO were cosmetics as the class of goods and retail and wholesale service as the class of service businesses.
Based on the data totaled by KIPO last November, the number of Korean trademark applications was about 192,000, showing an increase of about 15.6% in comparison with the same period of 2014 with 165,911.
Among the classes of goods, the field where the most trademark applications were filed was cosmetics (16,519), followed by electrics/electronics (14,169) and clothes/shoes (10,886).
In the case of cosmetics, both of the number of trademark applications (16,519) and the increase rate (21.2%) showed a high level. This is considered as resulting from the facts that the demand of foreign tourists visiting the Republic of Korea for Korean cosmetics rapidly increased and the relevant industries increased the applications for their product trends and produced trademarks combining various sub-names to their own core brands preferred by consumers.
Regarding the classes of service businesses, the most applications (23,948; 23.3%) were filed in the retail and wholesale service, followed by restaurant and lodging service (17,893) and education and entertainment service (10,396).
4. Trend of patent applications related to car autonomous cruise
According to KIPO, the number of patent applications for an autonomous cruise-related technology reached 208 in 2015 since 23 patent applications were laid-open in 2001, and it sharply increased an annual average of 21.8% from 2007 to 2015.
Major applicants of the top ten in the number of applications were Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (107 applications, 8.36%), Samsung Electronics (37 applications, 2.89%) and Google (12 applications, 0.93%) in the information and communications field; Hyundai Motor (48 applications, 3.75%), Mando (22 applications, 1.72%) and Hundai Mobis (19 applications, 1.48%) in the automobile field; and Agency for Defense Development (67 applications, 5.23%), KAIST (32 applications, 2.50%) in the other fields.
The major technological fields in the relevant applications were a sensor/map technology (43.1%), a travel route control technology (29.6%), an interface/terminal technology (11.2%), a communications/network/security technology (10.6%), a steering/actuator technology (5.5%), etc.
In light of the patent dispute experience in smart phones, Korean companies should further strive to concentrate on technological development in preparation for an international patent dispute which may occur in the future. Additionally, like Google’s application filing strategies, a concentrated effort is needed to secure a global intellectual property right by using the PCT international application filing system.