1. High quality IP services are provided by applying the AI technology
- KIPO opens a ‘next-generation patent net’ combining the latest information.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced to open the ‘next-generation patent net’ using the latest intelligent information technology, such as artificial intelligence, from March 2, 2020.
KIPO has been in process of developing the ‘next-generation patent net’ over three (3) years starting the last year, to innovatively improve the convenience of public service and the quality of patent administration and it provides services reflecting the first-year tasks which were carried forward from April 2019.
The tasks in the first year as the stage of building the base of the ‘next-generation patent net’, were carried forwarded focused on ① building a high quality examination system, ② improving the e-filing service of an application, and ③ upgrading the computer system performance.
① Building a high-quality examination system by applying the latest technology, such as AI, machine translation, etc.:
Regarding the translation service, the service which is operatively connected to a private AI machine translation engine, such as Google, Kakao, etc., is provided to support an examiner in searching worldwide prior art, without language barriers.
② Simplifying application filing forms and procedures, such as the filing of a provisional application, the filing of an application by a mobile device, etc., and improving the convenience:
It will be possible to file a provisional application (to be effected in the first half of this year) so that inventing and filing a description of the invention will be at the same time, without being restricted by forms.
The service for filing a trademark application by a mobile device is provided to enable the filing of a trademark application at anyplace, without restriction.
③ Upgrading a computer system performance by applying open architecture and open software:
The system which was previously operated focused on specific commercial software is replaced by standard technology and open source-based software, making it easy to apply the latest technology.
The computer equipment, such as the patent net server, etc., has been upgraded to stably support the public service, such as a continuous mobile filing service, etc.
2. If a trademark registration is urgent, file a request for preferential examination
- The number of requests for preferential examination has explicitly increased over ten (10) years since the preferential examination system of a trademark application was introduced.
While the number of trademark applications has increased, the rapid examination by a request for preferential examination is spotlighted in the trademark application field.
According to KIPO, the number of requests for preferential examination has greatly increased in the trademark application field.
The preferential examination system of a trademark application, which was introduced in 2009, has been conducted for more than ten (10) years.
The number of requests for preferential examination, which was only 654 at the beginning when the system was introduced, continued increasing to 2,895 in 2012 and 3,487 in 2014 and rapidly increased from 5,734 in 2018 to 7,595 in 2019 showing an increase of about 12 times in the ten (10) years of the introduction of the system.
When an applicant of a trademark application files a request for preferential examination, since the applicant can confirm whether the trademark is registerable after about two (2) months after filing the request for preferential examination, the preferential examination of a trademark application has been more and more spotlighted by applicants. For reference, when a request for general examination of a trademark application is filed, it takes about seven (7) months, as of January 2020, to get the results of examination.
3. KIPO puts heads together with industries, to create AI patents
In the KIPO Seoul office on February 13, 2020, KIPO held a launch ceremony of an AI-related IP council and a first meeting, together with Korean big companies, small and medium companies, start-ups and government-funded research institutes in the AI field.
The AI-related IP council has been formed with the Korean top fifteen (15) companies filing the most AI-related patent applications, to share the information of the Korean and overseas AI industrial trends and to reflect the voice from the field into the patent examination policy.
Upon reviewing the AI-related core technological field over nine (9) years (2010~2018), the number of the AI core technology-related patent applications which were filed in IP5 (Korea, US, China, Japan and Europe) has increased by an annual average of more than 40%.
The AI core technology means the technology to realize AI learning model, artificial neural network design, AI chip, etc. (Patent Classification Code: G06N)
Specially, China shows the sharpest increase of an annual average of 58% by the active support from the Chinese government and is considered as having passed the US with respect to the number of the relevant applications per year since 2017.
The number of the relevant Korean applications has shown a high increase of an annual average of 54.3% as a starting point of 2015 and passed Japan and Europe since 2016. The annual number of the applications filed in 2018 is 11,640 (China) and 6,279 (US) followed by Korea.
4. Monitoring of the preoccupancy of Korean companies’ trademarks, without permission, expands to ASEAN
KIPO announced to expand an ‘information investigation of the trademarks suspected to be preoccupied abroad without permission’ to Thailand following China and Vietnam, to cope with Korean companies’ trademarks suspected to be preoccupied without permission.
This investigation is a program to investigate whether Korean companies’ trademarks are preoccupied abroad without permission, to inform the relevant Korean companies of the illegal preoccupancy, and to support the Korean companies to early cope with the situation by claiming priority or filing an opposition, etc.
The monitoring program has been operated as to China since 2015 and Vietnam in 2019 and is to be expanded to the ASEAN major countries including Thailand in 2020.
Based on the results of monitoring the preoccupancy without permission, a number of Chinese preoccupants* are suspected of preoccupying, without permission, a total of 738 trademarks of 176 Korean companies for one year of 2019 in China. (*The term, “preoccupant”, means the person who locally preoccupies three (3) trademarks or more of a Korean company(s).)