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It is now very easy to file a patent application in a foreign country by Internet filing (News Letter No. 369)



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1. It is now very easy to file a patent application in a foreign country by Internet filing

- An Internet e-filing service for a PCT application in a foreign country will start from October 1, 2017.

When a patent application is filed through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in a foreign country, it is possible to easily prepare documents for filing the application through Internet.

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) cooperate to provide Korean applicants with the ePCT service from October 1, 2017.

Previously, since an applicant had to directly install the software for filing a PCT application (called PCT-SAFE) in her/his own computer and get an authentication certificate for an electronic signature from WIPO, the relevant preparation and procedures were somewhat complicated. Further, to use the PCT form applying the updated law system, the applicant had to directly update the software installed in her/his personal computer every three (3) months.

Now an applicant using the Internet-based ePCT no longer needs to perform the cumbersome work of installing and updating the particular software.

To use the ePCT, a user generates a user account by accessing to the WIPO ePCT website (https://pct.wipo.int/ePCT) and logs in. After log-in, additional authentication procedures are required to prevent the user account from being stolen or illegally used. The additional authentication procedures are easily processed by using a text message or a one-time password (OTP) app which can be installed in a smart phone.

2. KIPO operates an early warning system against a Chinese trademark broker

A Korean food manufacturing company “A” which planned to go into China was shocked upon learning the fact that a local Chinese trademark broker filed an application for the trademark of “A” company. “A” company hurriedly filed an objection with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) with the assistance from the Korea Intellectual Property Protection Agency and thus prevented its own trademark from being stolen and registered.

To minimize Korean companies’ damages caused by trademark brokers, KIPO operates the early warning system to support Korean companies by immediately investigating whether their Korean trademarks filed with the SAIC every month are stolen and informing the result of the investigation to a company which may be damaged, so that the company can more rapidly take action by filing an application earlier together with filing an objection with SAIC.

As a result, the rate of an objection, which can be filed within only three (3) months after publishing a Chinese trademark application, sharply increased from 36.5% to 98.2% in comparison with the previous time. Also, the preferential status of an applicant is acknowledged by promptly filing a follow-up application in China. Considering the results, KIPO’s early warning system has shown its increased effectiveness.

KIPO confirmed that 1,232 trademarks of Korean companies were stolen by 46 Chinese trademark brokers until last year and informed the fact to the involved companies. KIPO also provided the legal countermeasures, such as a trial for invalidation, an objection, damaged companies’ joint action, etc., and the strategies for trademark transfer, takeover, negotiation, etc.

3. KIPO held a briefing session of a customized intellectual property (IP) application filing system for prisoners

- Realization of a welfare patent administration, such as the correction and edification through creation of an IP right, and the support for rehabilitation.

According to KIPO, a briefing session of a customized IP application filing system for prisoners was held to strengthen IP capability and play as a role of priming for rehabilitation back into society, on September 15, 2017 in Yeongwol prison, Ganwon-do Province, the Republic of Korea.

This briefing session was prepared by cooperation of KIPO and the Korea Correctional Service under the Department of Justice and was arranged for two (2) prisons that were finally selected by recommendation and voluntary application among 4 Correctional Institutions under the Correctional Service and 43 prisons.

Since a prisoner with the constrain of social status cannot directly file an application with KIPO, (s)he progresses the filing procedures through a prison officer or an acquaintance. However, compared with a general applicant, a prisoner has experienced
many difficulties, such as an invalidation, withdrawal and abandonment of a right, for the reason of administrative procedural defects (in reporting a change in relationship of rights and duties, changing a Power of Attorney and an applicant information (address change), nonpayment of official fees, etc.).

This briefing session was not only to simply provide an explanation of the IP filing system but also to solve the difficulties that a prisoner has experienced. The briefing session was focused on: the procedures for filing patent, trademark, design applications and the relevant law systems to prevent an IP right from being invalidated or dying out due to the inexperience of application filing procedures; and the procedures and information related to cases or types that an applicant would frequently mistake and the plans to overcome the relevant mistake cases, thereby helping a prisoner applicant in securing an IP right.

4. The current state of patent applications related to the AI control technology using voice recognition

In the situation where a true “hands-free” era using voice recognition becomes a reality, the filing of patent applications for the AI control technology using voice recognition has been active.

According to KIPO, as the AI voice recognition-based technology, such as Apple Siri, MS Cortana, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby, has been commercialized, the number of the patent applications related to the AI control technology using the voice recognition has greatly increased for the last three (3) years.

The voice recognition technology which is used as the major User Interface (UI) in the fourth industrial revolution era converts the acoustic signals of a voice into words or sentences, to execute device or software functions. The AI control technology using voice recognition enables AI to control a device or provides an AI service in Internet of Things, private secretary, e-commerce, medical care and health, automobile, robot, etc., through voice commands being input.

In view of the current state of the relevant applications by years, the number of the patent applications related to the AI control technology using voice recognition was 63 in 2014, 101 in 2015 and 51 in 2016, showing an increase of more than three times for the last three years, compared with 2013.

After Apple first released “Siri” which is the AI voice recognition-based technology in 2011, MS, Amazon, Google and Samsung invested in developing the AI voice recognition
based technology and released their respective independent base techniques since 2014 and filed the relevant patent applications for the improvement of the base technique performance, resulting in the aforementioned increase in the number of the relevant applications.

In view of the current state of the relevant applications by applicants, Korean applicants were about 82% of the total applications in this field. Big companies filed 128 applications (51%), foreign companies 46 (18%), individuals 35 (14%), small and medium companies 24 (10%) and universities and institutes 17 (7%).  


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