1. Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO; Commissioner: Jung-sik KOH) expands the prompt commercialization support to medium and small companies
- This year, KIPO will use 142.4 billion Korea Won, an increase of 136% compared to last year
KIPO will reorganize various support projects, which have operated for medium and small companies having financial difficulties, by expanding into the prompt commercialization support projects.
The support budget will be expanded throughout all areas, including a project to support the commercialization of excellent patent technologies as well as high-tech component/material industries, and a project to support specific packages providing intellectual property (IP) management and consultation businesses.
When a company which engages in an industry having a heavy trade deficit toward Japan, such as the semiconductor or automobile component material industry, takes part in the ‘project to support the establishment of specific IP strategy for R&D step by step’, the company can be supported at a cost required for securing the IP strategy suitable for the company’s management for 10 months, to a maximum of 90,000,000 Korea Won.
To promote the timely development, supply and commercialization of excellent patent technologies, KIPO budgeted for the entire IP creation strengthening/IP use promotion 42.4 billion Korea Won this year, which is an increase of 136% compared to last year.
Considering the present difficult economic situations, KIPO has set up the project plans and decided the budget earlier unusually, to be of more help to the medium and small companies having difficulties.
2. File an international patent application in Korean
KIPO together with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced the distribution of a PCT-SAFE Korean version which is electronic filing software. From January 30, 2009, a PCT international application written in Korean can be filed on line, using the PCT-SAFE Korean version.
KIPO had performed the preparatory work, so that the Korean language was adopted as an official language used in a PCT international publication in January 2009. The PCT-SAFE Korean version as a part of the preparatory work was the result of KIPO’s steady work to improve the software for the last 2 years.
When an applicant files an international application using the PCT-SAFE English version provided by WIPO, it was inconvenient in that the applicant had to download and install additional programs to use the Korean language. Furthermore, when characters are illegibly broken due to problems in the font compatibility, the applicant using the PCT-SAFE English version had trouble in re-writing the application.
The PCT-SAFE Korean version distributed at present provides all of the user interfaces and terms in Korean so that an applicant can easily make an application in Korean. Furthermore, it consolidates the font so that the Korean language can be recognized without installing any additional programs, to solve the problem in that characters are broken.
3. Japan will drastically revise the patent system in the direction to promote the use of an invention
The Japanese government has decided to drastically revise the patent system, so that the purpose of the patent system includes not only the ‘protection of an invention’ but also the ‘promotion of the use of an invention’, to actively use an invention.
When an inventor obtains a patent of an invention and a company illegally uses the patented technology, the inventor has a right to request a measure, for example, that the company shall stop production using the technology.
However, recently, the patent contents have been complicated and a plurality of companies jointly use their respective patents designated as international standards. Blue-ray used for next generation DVDs were manufactured by about 60 companies including Sony owning the relevant patents, using 2,000 or more patents.
In that case, when any specific company claims a patent right and demands a stop in the production, or similar action, serious problems result. Therefore, the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) is revising the patent system in the manner of applying some restrictions to protection of a patent right.
Further, to promote the use of a patent, JPO plans to reduce the cost required for maintaining the patent, with respect to an inventor who positively uses his/her patent for new goods or services.
JPO is also examining a systematical support plan to finance a venture company having a weak financial basis, taking an invention (patent) as security at the stage of filing a patent application, so that the company can secure R&D funds.
4. LG Display won the patent dispute
On January 21, 2008, the Seoul High Court (Presiding Judge: Kee-dong JU) reached a decision on an appeal case claiming the fulfillment of patent transfer, which was brought by LG Display against Tanaka Sakae of Japan in September 2007. Based on the technology and knowledge which he acquired while working in LG Display (formerly, LG Electronics), Tanaka Sakae filed applications for an employee invention(s) in his name and in the third party’s name at home and abroad after he retired the company. The judgment states that Tanaka Sakae shall transfer the registered patents to LG Display.
This trial brought by LG Display in September 2007 was the dispute concerning the transfer of the patent of the invention which Tanaka Sakae invented based on the technology and knowledge which he learned while working in LG Display. Tanaka Sakae served as a technical adviser of LG Electronics (changed into LG Display at present) from 1991 to 1998. He filed the applications in his name and the third party’s name, based on matters invented while he worked.
As a result of investigation by LG Display, it was confirmed that the patent in issue used the technology which Tanaka Sakae acquired during his employment, and in 2004 Tanaka Sakae agreed to transfer the patent to LG Display through a discussion. However, as Tanaka Sakae did not perform the patent transfer, LG Display brought the trial for requesting the fulfillment of the patent transfer before the Seoul District Court in October 2006.
At that time, the Seoul District Court dismissed the trial, finding that there were errors in understanding the agreement contents in the process of concluding the agreement related to the patent transfer. Therefore, LG Display filed the appeal with the Seoul High Court and won the second trial judgment.