1. An increase the number of patent examiners greatly expands a communication-type examination
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of the cases using the on-the-spot communication-type examination (an in-depth interview), which an examiner directly meets with an applicant to explain the result of examination and consult about an amendment plan to a patent content, sharply increased from 367 in 2015, 778 in 2016, 1,557 in 2017 and to 2,501 in 2018.
The on-the-spot communication-type examination includes a preliminary examination, a review of an amendment plan, and an interview for reexamination. The preliminary examination is a system where an examiner explains the result of examination in advance prior to a legitimate examination of a patent application. The review of an amendment plan is to a system where an examiner consults about an amendment plan, based on a reason(s) for rejection where the examiner notified an applicant. The interview for reexamination is a system where an examiner consults about an amendment plan prior to a reexamination to re-examine a patent application which has been decided to be rejected.
The on-the-spot communication-type examination has no conditional limits, except for a preliminary examination of a patent application for an invention in a high-level technological field, of which preferential examination is decided. In the position of an examiner, an accurate examination is possible through active communication with an applicant, and in the position of an applicant, it is a benefit to rapidly secure a proper patent right through an interview with an examiner.
KIPO has continued to increase the number of patent examiners, to further expand the on-the-spot communication-type examination to support an applicant to create a strong patent.
Through the increase of the number of examination staff, the time for examination per patent application has been increased and now an examiner is allowed 12.5 hours this year, and the foundation has been prepared to expand the on-the-spot communication-type examination to communicate with an applicant.
2. Winning in a dispute on a Chinese trademark right is made by digging into the weakness of a trademark broker
According to KIPO, Korean companies have resulted in winning in the disputes regarding Chinese trademarks, through the KIPO’s support for foreign IP disputes.
Cases of winning are shown, focused on the fields of cosmetics and restaurant businesses where many Korean companies have advanced abroad. Upon analyzing the factors of winning of these companies, a common point is to prove that the other party is a trademark broker, resulting in winning a case.
The Chinese Trademark Authority organized the examination standards against a trademark broker in January 2017. After an applicant obtains a right of many trademarks, if the applicant does not actually use and positively offers a purchase of a trademark or requests transfer fees, the applicant is judged as lacking the willingness to use a trademark and a judge may sentence the invalidity of the trademark.
The Korean companies which won cases consider the changed standards of the Chinese authority in a positive light. In the case where a trademark is preoccupied in China, you may doubt that the other party is a trademark broker. These Korean companies drew victories by proving whether the other party has filed an excessive number of trademark applications compared with a normal business demand, by analyzing the other party’s Chinese application state and business status, whether the other party has imitated a trademark on purpose, and whether the other party has requested transfer fees, etc.
3. Korean Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board (KIPTAB) has operated a public agent system since July 9, 2019
- To support the socially/economically weak without representative
Starting July 9, 2019, KIPO has operated the public agent system to support, without cost, patent trials of a low-income person, a disabled person and a young founder.
Those to be supported include a low-income person, a person of national merit, a disabled person, a small company and a young founder. The details are available in the homepage (www.kipo.go.kr/ipt) of KIPTAB.
The person directly involved with a trial, who wants to be supported, may file an application for appointing a public agent, with an evidential document to verify whether the person is eligible for the public agent system.
A demandant may request for a public agent by one (1) month from a day of requesting a trial, and a defendant may request for a public agent by the due date of filing a response.
KIPTAB forms a manpower pool of public agents in each professional field, and when a request for a public agent is applied, the president of KIPTAB appoints a public agent among the patent attorneys of the manpower pool and notifies it to the one that requested the public agent.
4. - The number of the metal 3D printing-related patent applications increased by about seven (7) times compared with 2013.
According to KIPO, the number of the metal 3D printing-related patent applications was only 11 in 2013 but rapidly increased to 42 in 2014, 62 in 2015, 79 in 2016 and 125 in 2017. Although the number was 71 in 2018 when the growth somewhat slowed down compared with 2017, it increased by about seven (7) times compared with 2013.
By the type of applicants, small and medium companies filed 159 applications (40.8%), followed by foreign companies 101 (25.9%), government- funded research institutions 70 (17.9%), universities 31 (7.9%), and individuals and others 29 (7.4%). The percentages of Korean small and medium companies and government- funded research institutions were relatively high since the research and development expenses which was lead by the government expanded to preoccupy the metal 3D printing technology.
By technologies, ‘assembly technology’ was in 344 applications (88.2%) and ‘application technology’ of manufacturing multiple-customized metal components in small quantities by using the metal 3D printing device was in 46 (11.8%), showing that the ‘device technology’ held a large majority. This is considered since Korean small and medium companies strived to concentrate on securing their own ‘device technology’ due to the expiration of the metal 3D printing-related original patent’.