1. The world intellectual property G5 opens a joint-examination era
The five (5) largest intellectual property offices (“IP5”) in the world agreed to start a joint patent examination and to strengthen the cooperation in preparation for the 4th industrial revolution in the IP field.
IP5 started in 2007 is a consultative group of the IP offices of the five nations which are the Republic of Korea, US, China, Japan and Europe handling more than 80% of the whole world’s patent applications.
The IP5’s commissioners agreed to operate a cooperative examination of a PCT international patent application, on a trial basis. This project, starting from July 1, 2018, is the first case that IP5 conduct a joint examination regarding one application. This project, which will be a leading experiment to seek for a new possibility of joint-examination among nations, is expected to contribute to the service improvement in the patent systems, including early securing a patent predictability through the examination quality improvement. When the two (2)-year operation based on a trial basis ends, IP5 will hold a following discussion on whether to regularize this project.
IP5’s commissioners also agreed to strengthen the cooperation regarding the 4th industrial revolution-related IP issues.
Further, the IP5 agreed to continue to discuss a plan for transparency improvement during a license agreement process in connection with a ‘standard patent’ which becomes more important in the overall industry of the Internet of Things (IoT). Such a discussion will be focused on searching for a plan to enhance the legal stability and predictability of the standard patent-related system.
2. KIPO homepage provides people with barrierless services in using information
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced to fully open all content of the representative homepage from July 1, 2018, so that an outside search engine can have access.
KIPO provides a large amount of information of 607 corners in the electronic filing portal and the representative homepage providing information of IP R&D whole processes including the filing of an application for a IP right, examination, trial, utilization, etc.. As the importance of the IP information is magnified with the advent of the 4th industrial revolution era, the number of visitors to the homepage reaches about 23,000 per day.
According to the government policy that people can access to public information, KIPO removed a plug-in, such as Active X, etc. applied to the homepage, during the first half of this year and continues to follow the web accessibility and web compatibility requirements regarding a newly applied content by managing and operating the homepage based on the web standards regulated in W3C.
The strengthening of the homepage openness is to positively use the IP-related public information in private big data industries. Previously, in terms of security and stability, KIPO blocked the search engines of the portal sites, such as Naver, Google, etc. from accessing to the KIPO homepage for information collection. However, KIPO decided to remove such a restriction so that a search engine can gain access to the homepage, by organizing the content including individual information and strengthening the security system to monitor a request for mass data.
3. A PCT international patent application is easily filed
KIPO and WIPO have a plan to simplify the complicated PCT e-filing procedures.
KIPO announced to start a system development for interworking of KIPO’s e-filing site called “특허로” (www.patent.go.kr) and WIPO’s e-filing site called “e-PCT” (pct.wipo.int). When the two sites are operatively connected, it is possible to make an international patent application and simultaneously to submit it by once accessing to “e-PCT”.
“특허로” is an electronic application filing portal which provides the services including the electronic filing of a Korean application, a request for registration, an issue of a certificate, etc. “e-PCT” is a online service for filing of a PCT international patent application, provided by WIPO.
The use of “PCT-SAFE (S/W)” which has been used to make a PCT application will be terminated at the end of this year. From next year, a PCT application shall be made in the web system by accessing to “e-PCT” opened by WIPO on October 1, 2017. At present, in order to file a PCT application by the web system, a user needs to log in “e-PCT”, make a PCT application and save it in a PC, then log in “특허로” and file the save application.
“PCT-SAFE” is the exclusive software to be installed in a PC to make a PCT application, produced and distributed by WIPO.
However, a user account of “특허로” and “e-PCT” is operatively connected and the function of sending/receiving a PCT application between the two is realized through this system development, thereby improving the convenience in making and filing a PCT application. When the system development is completed, the system will be operated on a trial basis around October this year and then will be fully operated from January 1, 2019 to provide a one-stop international patent application filing service. Further, “특허로” provides diverse PCT-related information provided by WIPO.
4. The number of trials for cancellation based on non-use has increased
According to the Korea Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board (KIPTAB), the number of trials for cancellation of registered trademarks, which was 1,676 in 2013 and 1,449 in 2014, steadily increased to 2,122 in 2016 and 2,124 in 2017. KIPTAB cancelled the registration of unused trademarks including 1,207 in 2016 and 2,172 in 2017 through the decisions of trials.
Previously, a trial for cancellation of a registered trademark not in use should be filed by only an interested party. However, to solve the problem of an unused trademark which restricts another’s option of choosing a trademark and business activity, KIPO allowed anyone to demand a trial for cancellation in the revised Trademark Act effected in September 1, 2016, thereby eliminating the demander’s burden of proving interest. Keeping pace with that, since 2017 KIPTAB has focused on the trial process of an unused trademark by a rapid process when an owner of a trademark right did not submit any evidence of the use of a trademark, increasing the number of registration cancellation of unused trademarks.
A spokesperson of KIPTAB said, “Since an unused trademark brings the result of causing a big damage to a person who wants to use the trademark, a trial for cancellation where no evidence of use is submitted will be rapidly processed.”