1. KIPO carries out a large-scale reorganization in preparation for the 4th industrial revolution era
-An examination system in charge of the 4th industrial revolution technology is established and a special judicial policy to protect IP is expanded.
KIPO extensively reshuffles the current patent examination organization to meet with a change of era, by establishing a ‘convergence technology examination bureau’ to preferentially examine patent applications related to the 4th industrial revolution, such as AI, bigdata, bio-health, etc.
KIPO reorganizes by expanding the previous organization, which consisted of four (4) bureaus, such as the Patent Examination Policy Bureau, the Patent Examination Bureau 1, 2 and 3, to five (5) bureaus including the Patent Examination Policy Bureau, the Convergence Technology Examination Bureau, the Electricity & Communications Examination Bureau, the Chemistry & Biotechnology Examination Bureau and the Machinery & Metals Examination Bureau.
According to this reorganization, the size of the patent examination organization,which previously included 931 staff in four (4) bureaus, twenty-five (25) divisions and ten (10) teams, expands to 957 staff in five (5) bureaus, twenty-seven (27) divisions and ten (10) teams.
The Convergence Technology Examination Bureau includes six (6) divisions which are the Artificial Intelligence & Big Data Examination Division, the Internet of Things Examination Division, the Biotechnology & Healthcare Examination Division, the Intelligent Robot Examination Division, the Autonomous Driving Technology Examination Division and the Smart Manufacturing Examination Division and the relevant teams, to conduct a preferential examination of the 4th industrial revolution-related technology. Since a preferential examination takes about 5.7 months until the final decision of the examiner, its examination period is shorter than a general examination by about 10.7 months.
2. A program to provide information of the prior art is operated to support small and medium companies and venture companies to file their application in foreign countries
To support small and medium companies and venture companies to obtain patent rights in foreign countries, starting October 28, 2019 KIPO has operated the program to ‘provide information of the prior art’, which is to provide information of the prior art in relation to an invention in a patent application prior to patent examination.
The objects to be supported are about 8,500 small and medium companies whichhad filed PCT international applications during the last five (5) years or which have been supported by ‘IP NaRae’ or ‘Global IP Star Companies’ of KIPO.
This program can be requested with respect to an application which is pending within three (3) months after a request for examination thereof has been filed. A prior art search report conducted by an expert search agency is available without cost after two (2) months.
In many cases, when big companies want to file patent applications, they search and analyze the relevant prior art in advance to establish strategies for foreign applications. However, most of the small and medium companies and venture companies, which lack the staff in exclusive charge of IP and funds, file patent applications without properly establishing any strategies for foreign applications based on a prior art search.
Since this program provides those small and medium companies and venture companies with prior art information, it is expected to be of considerable help to these companies in determining the possibility of obtaining patents in foreign countries prior to proceeding with the procedures to file foreign applications which are expensive and in establishing the strategies for foreign applications, such as setting a proper scope of right.
Further, since the relevant prior art information is provided earlier, it is expected to be of great help in performing an improved invention by supplementing technical matters that may be missed by filing an application in a hurry without any prior art search, to obtain a better patent right.
3. A public hearing of a revision of the Korean Patent Act was held
A public hearing of the revision of the Korean Patent Act was held to rationalize the calculation of the amount of compensation for damage by infringement of a patent.
According to the current Patent Act, there is a problem in that a patentee who lacks a production capacity cannot receive a sufficient compensation for damage even if the patentee’s patent is infringed. Although the Patent Act has a regulation to calculate the amount of compensation for damage based on the profit that an infringer obtains by the infringement of a patent, since the amount of compensation is limited by the production capacity of the patentee, it has been indicated that the effectiveness of the regulation is lessened.
The purpose of the revision is to enable a patentee to receive the compensation corresponding to the profit that an infringer has obtained by infringement, regardless of the production capacity of the patentee. This public hearing was arranged to provide the best plan to rationalize the compensation for damage, by collecting the opinion of each field regarding the revision.
This revision would be of great help for the innovative small and medium companies and start-ups to secure their growth engine.
4. KIPO controls counterfeit products relating to BTS (‘BangtanSonyeondan’ meaning Bulletproof Boy Scouts) and operates guidance
-KIPO and trademark owners executed jointly control around the BTS’ Seoul concert hall at the end of October.
As K-POP catches world-wide popularity, the market of pop singer-related products has increased. However, the act of infringement of trademarks become worsen every day by manufacturing, selling and distributing counterfeit products of the pop singer-related products.
KIPO and Big Hit Entertainment, an agency of BTS which is an idol group representing K-POP with worldwide popularity, conducted guidance and control to eradicate the act of infringement of a trademark including the distribution of the BTS-related counterfeit products.
KIPO executed planned control with respect to the businesses that habitually mass-supply and distribute the BTS-related counterfeit products on/off line and especially, executed site crackdown in the BTS concert hall in Seoul JamsilOlymic Main Stadium on October 26, 27 and 29.
Based on the information of September 30, 2019, the IP special judicial police of KIPO operated the control of four (4) wholesalers which distributed the BTS-related counterfeit products through on/off line channels, to charge all concerned criminally and seize thousands of trademark infringement products including stationary, clothing/miscellaneous goods, and accessories, etc.
The relevant businesses are suspected of distributing the counterfeit products like the original, by attaching the trademark of BTS to many stationary goods (such as notebooks, calendars, pencil cases, diaries, etc.), to clothing (such as tee shirts, hats/caps, masks, etc.) to miscellaneous goods (such as umbrellas, wallets, sitting cushions, etc.) and to accessories (such as key holders, bracelets, etc.).