1. A statistical analysis of trial requests was conducted after the patent linkage system of the approval of medicine and medical supplies has been in operation for three (3) years
According to the Korea Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board (KIPTAB), 2,928 trials were requested for the three (3) years from the operation of the patent linkage system of the approval of medicine and medical supplies to the end of 2017. By years, 2,222 cases were intensively requested in 2015 when the operation of the patent linkage system started, 311 cases in 2016 and 395 cases in 2017.
The patent linkage system of the approval of medicine and medical supplies to link the patent system to the approval system of medicine and medical supplies was introduced to the Republic of Korea by the operation of FTA between the Republic of Korea and USA. The prohibition of sale of generic drugs and the permission of an item for exclusive sale are the core of this patent linkage system.
The cases of raising the hands of patent challengers for the last three (3) years include 265 invalidation trials (success rate of 24%), 1 trial for invalidating an extension of the term of a patent right (success rate of 0.2%) and 465 defensive confirmation trials for the scope of a right (success rate of 74%).
KIPTAB finished the procedures of 2,248 cases among 2,928 trial cases which were requested in relation to the patent linkage system of the approval of medicine and medical supplies.
2. A joint defensive trademark strengthens the discrimination of original Korean brands
The Korea Intellectual Property Protection Agency (KIPPA) and the Korea Franchise Association (KFA) concluded a cooperative business for the use of a joint defensive trademark.
During the preparation to extend its business abroad, a Korean franchise company, “A”, has been lately aware of the fact that its own trademark was preoccupied without permission by a local trademark broker. At present, an invalidation trial of the trademark which was pre-registered without permission has been pending, however, the operation of follow-up plans, such as recruitment of a local common investment company have stopped.
A famous Korean franchise company, “B”, has experienced damages, such as decreased sales and declined brand images by the local consumers’ misconception and confusion, due to a so-called “fake company” which operates the business in China by copying the sign, employee uniform, interior, etc. of the Korean company.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced that they would support Korean companies to advance abroad to freely use a “joint defensive trademark” which is developed for a substitute of a trademark which is preoccupied by a foreign trademark broker and for the function of authentication mark as an original Korean brand.
To this end, this month, KIPPA and KFA which are co-owners of joint defensive trademarks concluded the business cooperation for the use of the joint defensive trademarks and allowed a relevant franchise member company to freely execute a right of using a relevant trademark.
A spokesperson of KIPO said, “KIPO will continue to support the use of a joint defensive trademark for the kind of business having frequent damages caused due to the similar brands by a local person in a foreign country and the illegal preoccupancy of a trademark by a trademark broker” and “legal action will be taken for the company that previously had damages, to improve the effectiveness of the support program.”
3. KIPO held the 1st meeting of the commissioners of KIPO and ASEAN Patent Offices in Brunei
The intellectual property (IP) cooperation between the Republic of Korea and ASEAN countries is greatly strengthened by the foundation of the meeting of the commissioners of KIPO and ASEAN Patent Offices and the conclusion of a memorandum of cooperation (MOU) therebetween.
Mr. Yunmo SUNG, the commissioner of KIPO, who attended in the 1st meeting of the commissioners of KIPO and ASEAN Patent Offices held in Brunei on March 27, 2018, discussed with the delegations of ten (10) countries of ASEAN about the IP cooperation plan and signed the MOU with the visions and goals of the cooperation between Korea-ASEAN in the IP areas.
The MOU which was first concluded with ASEAN in the IP areas has the major content that both sides enhance the cooperation in creating, protecting, using and commercializing IP. In the meeting, the both sides agreed on the specific cooperation areas to develop IP education curriculums for ASEAN, provide education programs and transfer Korean know-how on IP commercialization, etc. Further, both sides decided to discuss a plan to establish and operate a local Korea-ASEAN invention center.
Further, both sides agreed to form a regular consultative group, such as the meeting of the commissioners of KIPO and ASEAN Patent Offices, and to jointly make an annual IP business cooperation plan, so that the IP cooperation between Korean and ASEAN progresses in an official and stabilized system.
4. The trend of patent applications for Blockchain
① The number of the relevant patent applications has increased by twenty-two (22) times or more for the last four (4) years.
② US is in the 1st place based on the accumulated number of the relevant patent applications, however, China is 1st based on the number of the relevant patent applications per year since 2016.
③ The Republic of Korea is weighted towards cryptocurrency and is to concentrate on R&D of smart contract, etc.
④ No standard patent exists and a discussion of international standards is still in the beginning stage.
According to KIPO, 1,248 Blockchain-related patent applications were filed in the IP-advanced five (5) countries (IP5, the Republic of Korea, US, Japan, China and Europe) and published as of the end of January 2018.
The quantity of the patent applications is not much, however, since Blockchain was first realized in 2009, the number of the patent applications increased from 27 in 2013 to 258 in 2015 and to 594 in 2016 (excluding the applications that were not published), showing an increase of two or three times every year.
By the nationalities of applicants, the US was 1st based on the accumulated number of the relevant applications. However, beating the US, China went to the top in the annual number of the applications after 2016. Soon or later, China is expected to be 1st in the accumulated number of these applications.
However, as to the rate of foreign applications, which is an indirect index to indicate the level of quality of the relevant patent applications, the US maintains the front-runner, beating China.