1. KIPO arrested a group of criminals distributing counterfeit goods corresponding to 320 billion Korea Won
- 23 people who distributed and sold the fakes using well-known trademarks were charged
The Trademark Special Judicial Police (SJP) under the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) caught a group of people which distributed and sold counterfeit goods on the nation’s largest scale (15 items including bags, wallets, watches, sunglasses, clothes, etc.) illegally using the well-known trademarks (30 brand names including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc.).
On March 31, 2016, KIPO SJP announced that they arrested Mr. Jang (age: 45) who was in charge of domestic supply of Chinese counterfeit goods, Mr. Kim (age: 32) in charge of management and Mr. Park (age: 31) in charge of sales, for violation of the Trademark Law, and indicted, without detention, 20 wholesalers and retail traders including Mr. Jee (age: 33) receiving and selling the counterfeit goods from the above three for violation of the Trademark Law.
According to KIPO SJP, Mr. Jang is suspected of distributing and selling about 150,000 counterfeit goods (market price of original goods: 320 billion Korea Won) through about 20 wholesalers and retail traders of the country, in his office set up in a residential area located at SsangChon-dong, GwangJoo-shi from April 2014 to January 2016.
This is a case where the amount of distributed goods is on the nation’s largest since KIPO SJP was established (September 2010). Prior to this control, 65 billion Korea Won was the largest amount.
2. KIPO has expanded a service of providing intellectual property (IP) information to the public
- Applicant corporate information and Taiwan IP information are newly opened.
According to KIPO, since March 31, 2016, the ‘applicant corporate information’ and ‘Taiwan IP information’ have been provided to the public through KIPRISPlus (plus.kipris.or.kr) which is an IP information use service.
The ‘applicant corporate information’ includes information, such as the name of an applicant which is a corporation, the corporate registration number, the businessman registration number, the applicant code, etc.
The ‘Taiwan IP information’ includes patent, utility model, design and trademark publications provided in traditional Chinese characters and patent summary information (abstract, bibliographic data, etc.) provided in English and simplified Chinese characters.
Korean companies will understand, at a single glance, the current status of Taiwanese IP applications and registrations for patents, utility models, designs and trademarks by using the ‘Taiwan IP information and more easily analyze patent and technical trends of Taiwanese competitive companies.
3. Upon patent infringement, submitting evidence is strengthened, increasing the amount of compensation for damages
According to KIPO, as the Cabinet meeting passed a revision bill of the Korean Patent Law to make it easy to prove patent infringement and the amount of loss on March 22, 2016, which was promulgated on March 29, 2016, a patent infringer’s liability for damages will be significantly strengthened.
First, if evidence is absolutely necessary for proving infringement and the amount of damages, then evidence must be submitted privately to the court even though it is related to a trade secret(s).
Second, an infringer disobeys the orders of submitting materials, the justice department allows a fact argued by a patentee to be approved as it is.
Third, when a court orders appraisal in relation to calculation of the amount of damages, it is newly established that the person directly involved who submits the relevant materials shall have a duty to explain the contents of the materials to an appraiser.
Fourth, it is stipulated that digital materials also belong to the scope of the orders of submitting materials.
Previously, it was difficult to prove patent infringement and the amount of compensation for damages was low. Therefore, even though small and medium companies suffered technological extortion, it was difficult to receive substantial compensation.
For reference, a median amount of compensation for damages in a trial for patent infringement was 59,000,000 Korea Won (2009~2013) in the Republic of Korea and 4,900,000,000 Korea Won (2007~2012).
4. The number of patent applications related to an automobile head-up display has increased in a smart automobile era
According to KIPO, patent applications for automobile head-up displays were actively filed for the last ten years (2006~2015), reaching a total of 504 cases.
Meantime, head-up displays have been mainly used as a method to provide simple driving information, such as running speed, direction indication, etc., by installing a half mirror (reflective film) to a part of the front glass side of an automobile, to reflect an image irradiated at a lower part.
However, these days, a method of directly displaying driving information has been introduced by installing a transparent display on the front glass of an automobile and operatively connecting a front camera, GPS and various sensors.
Major applicants are as follows: Hyundai Motor which filed the most applications (53), Hyundai Autron (33), LG Electronics (28), and Denso (22).
By the applicants, Korean applicants filed 303 applications (60.1%), foreign applicants filed 201 applications (39.9%). Among the Korean applicants, big companies filed the most applications, 164 (32.5%), small and medium companies with 81 applications (16.1%) and individuals with 31 applications (6.2%).