1. High value-added patent data of 2.6 hundred million cases are built and open to support Korean companies in improving technological competitiveness.
A basis is prepared to easily analyze a patent of a global competitive company by using high value-added patent data and to rapidly entitle a Korean company’s R&D result as a right.
According to KIPO, a ‘plan to use, supply and proliferate patent data’ has been reported to the 5th data special committee of the 4th industrial revolution committee, to discuss the major tasks.
While the global economic and industrial environments, such as the acceleration of digital transformation, etc. have rapidly changed, this plan has been established to support a Korean company to secure a global technological competitiveness by analyzing patent trends in the cutting-edge industrial area in the situation that securing an IP competitiveness is directly related to the survival of a company.
The ‘plan to use, supply and proliferate patent data’ has the gist in the 4 strategies: building and opening of patent data customized for each consumer (such as a company, an industry and a government), and infrastructure improvement for activating the use of patent information, etc.
This plan also includes 12 subjects on the content of newly building and opening the high value-added patent data of a total of about 2.6 hundred million cases which can be analyzed from the views of technological, marketing and industrial strategies.
From the view of supporting a company, a Korean company’s patent is recognized as to its value and the patent data are to be easily used in the entire process of R&D.
Citation information which is one of key indicators of patent valuation is built to expand to support the improvement of a Korean patent value.
Further, data by detailed indicators related to valuation are to be calculated and supplied, to prepare a basis on which a company, a financial institution, etc. can directly use for valuation, without any data processes.
From the industrial view point, a consistent analysis system which is consistent to patent trends by industries is prepared, and a core manpower pool is built to promote the improvement of technological competitiveness of an industry and a company.
A linkage table between the Korean standard industry classification (KSIC) and the cooperative patent classification (CPC) is built to prepare a basis enabling to immediately analyze patent trends by specific industries.
Through these bases, it is expected to solve the inefficiency in a previous patent analysis requiring considerable time and manpower in extracting and selecting a patent to be analyzed.
In addition, the information of the inventor of a patent and the information of a researcher such as the author of a thesis are mutually connected to select the information of core technology manpower by industries, to be used for a national manpower training policy or a joint research of industry-university-research institute.
At the government level, getting patent data from a rising country with high growth potentiality is expanded, and securing data of transfer of a patent right of a major country is added, to provide a basis to thoroughly analyze global patent trends.
2. KIPO held a video conference (webinar) of the major countries’ IP systems.
-A local IP system and a method to respond to a dispute were introduced and time for questions and answers was provided.
KIPO and Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) held a ‘webinar for a life hack on IP rights of major countries’ on line for 4 days from July 21 through 26, 2021. The term, “webinar”, is a compound word of “web” and “seminar”, which means a seminar conducted on web of the Internet.
This webinar was arranged at the overseas IP center (IP-DESK) to support a Korean company having entered a foreign country to secure an IP right and to respond to a dispute.
The local IP experts including lawyers and patent attorneys for consultation in IP-DESK located in 7 countries including US, China, Japan and others participated as speakers in this webinar, to guide the procedures and notes from the filing of an IP application and the registration thereof by each country, the major dispute cases and how to respond to a dispute, etc.
Starting with China experts on July 21, 2021, the webinar proceeded with US and Europe experts on July 22, with Thailand and Philippine experts on July 23 and with Japan and Vietnam experts on July 26. The time was available for questions and answers to solve the curiosity of an applied company.
As a special event, a video counseling session of 1:1 for a company to enter China was arranged on July 21, and time was available to introduce an IP infringement case in the areas of K-food and K-prevention of epidemics and a plan to respond to an infringement.
The IP-DESK, which is an organization installed in the KOTRA local trade office of the country where Korean companies have actively entered, provides IP-related information and tightly supports a Korean export company in securing a right and responding to a dispute.
The IP-DESK operates in 17 places in 11 countries including China (in 6 places), US (in 2 places), Vietnam, Thailand, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, India, Philippine, Russia, Mexico, among the others (as of July 2021).
KIPO operates the 17 IP-DESKs in 11 countries in cooperation with KOTRA. From last year, a contactless service system has been introduced due to the spread of COVID-19, to support a Korean export company to solve IP-related problems through a video seminar and conference and an online legal advice.
The number of IP-related legal advice cases was 10,222 in 2020, showing an increase of 20% compared to 8,527 in 2019 before the spread of COVID-19. The number of cases supporting trademark and design applications through the IP-DESK dedicated staff greatly increased from 1,329 in 2019 to 1,564 in 2020.
In addition, the IP-DESK cooperating with the Ministry of Public Security of China caught up and confiscated about 430,000 counterfeit items of the K-brands (corresponding to about 1,022 million Korea Won) in China and arrested 5 people related to the production factory, thereby locally contributing to the protection of K-brands.
3. A new change starts in a semiconductor miniaturization process technology – FinFET has set and GATE-All-Around (GAA) rises.
How far has the semiconductor miniaturization process technology developed? The FinFET technology previously was leading the semiconductor miniaturization process technology and now the GAA technology is newly rising.
The GAA technology is commonly called a next generation technology after ‘FinFET’ in the semiconductor industry. In the FinFET technology, the channel through which current flows comprises 3 sides including the top-left side-right side; whereas in the GAA technology, it comprises 4 sides including the top-left side-right side-bottom.
As a result of analyzing the patents of IP-5 countries by KIPO, the patents of the FinFET technology which previously was the main force of the semiconductor miniaturization process technology have declined from 2017 and the patents of the GAA technology have shown an increase.
The FinFET technology had a peak as 1,936 cases in 2017 and decreased to 1,636 in 2018, 1,560 in 2019 and 1,508 (estimated) in 2020.
However, the patents related to the GAA considered as the next generation semiconductor process technology improved over FinFET have shown an increase close to 30% every year and increased as 173, 233, 313 and 391 (estimated) respectively in the same years.
The companies which filed the most applications related to the FinFET technology are TSMC (Taiwan, 30.7%), SMIC (China, 11%), Samsung Electronics (South Korea, 8.6%), IBM (US, 8.1%) and GlobalFoundries (US, 5.4%). Regarding the FinFET technology, Taiwan, China, South Korea and US companies have shown competition.
The companies which filed the most applications related to the GAA technology are TSMC (Taiwan, 31.4%), Samsung Electronics (South Korea, 20.6%), IBM (US, 10.2%), GlobalFoundries (US, 5.5%) and Intel (US, 4.7%). Taiwan and South Korea companies lead the patents in this field with US companies chasing.
【 Global companies’ GAA patent trends 】
In the ultra-fine process technology using GAA, the competition between ❶TSMC and ❷Samsung Electronics is expected to be more severe.
For the first time in the world, Samsung Electronics will apply the GAA technology from the 3 nano process in the next year. TSMC published to introduce this technology from the 2 nano process in 2023.
SMIC (which is a Chinese representative foundry company) recording a 2nd place in the FinFET technology area dropped out of the rankings. In the future, in the cutting-edge semiconductor area, the gap with China is expected to be further widened in the competition among US, South Korea and Taiwan.
4. The number of medical device-related patent applications has been high by 3.6 times over the total average.
The number of medical device-related patent applications has explosively increased due to the increasing interest in the K-prevention of epidemics by COVID-19, along with the growing longevity of population and the change in the health care paradigm focusing on a preventive health management.
According to KIPO, while the number of total patent applications increased by an annual average of 2.2% over the last 10 years (2011~2021), the number of the patent applications in the medical device area sharply increased by an annual average of 8.0% (from 6,633 cases in 2011 to 13,217 in 2020). Notably, the number of the medical device-related patent application showed a big increase of 15.8% in the last year due to COVID-19, compared to the previous year, thereby being a driving force of a successive K-prevention of epidemics.
According to the Korea Medical Devices Industry Association, the annual growth rate of the Korean medical device industrial market size was 8.0% over the last 10 years (2010~2019), and in 2019 was 14.5% compared to the previous year, showing that it was similar to the increase in the number of patent applications and the medical device industrial activities were considered to be linked to the patent applications.
Upon reviewing the relevant patent applications filed over the last 10 years by detailed fields, the most applications (13,534 cases) were filed in the field of surgical treatment devices as the traditional medical devices, such as surgical knife, catheter, etc., however, the biggest increase in the number of the applications (an annual average of 19.7%) was in the field of medical information devices.
The field of medical information devices includes the items relating to the medical information, such as patient record management, health management application, remote medical treatment platform, etc. Such a high increase in the number of the patent applications is considered as reflecting the technological development trend of the medical devices grafted with the smart health care and the 4th industrial technology, such as big data and artificial intelligent, etc.
Viewing the trend during last year only, the total number of the applications sharply increased by explosive increases in the fields of medical aid devices (140.0%), anesthesia breathing apparatuses (58.8%) and medical information devices (42.7%) related to COVID-19. This is due to the rapid increase in the number of the patent applications for the relevant sterilizers, breathing aids, contactless remote medical treatment.
By applicants, Korean applicants were 78.6% and foreign applications were 21.4% over the last 10 years. The percentage of the applications by Korean applicants increased from 74.8% in 2011, 77.8% in 2015 to 82.1% in 2020, showing that the position of Korean applicants was gradually higher in the medical device field.
The applicant which filed the most patent applications in this medical device field was Samsung Electronics filing a total of 2,316 cases over the 10 years and taking first place in imaging diagnosis, biometrics and medical information fields among the 14 detailed fields. As mid-sized companies, Seoul Viosys, Bodyfriend and OSSTEM IMPLANT took each the first place in the fields of medical aid devices, treatment aids, dental apparatuses, and as small and medium companies, MEKISCS and IntroMedic took first place in the fields of anesthesia breathing, medical scopes.