1. The average term for a Korean design term is 59 months
It is estimated that the term of a design right registered in the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO; Commissioner: Jung-sik KOH) is 59 months on average.
KIPO analyzed the actual state of registered design rights for 30 years from 1979 to 2008. The term for a design right is a maximum of 15 years (10 years prior to the revision of the old design law on March 1, 1998) depending on the payment of registration fees under the design protection law. However, according to the analysis, the average term of a design right is no more than 59 months.
Classified by the goods being subject to examination, the average terms of design rights for the last 30 years are longer for the following items: food process machinery, such as rice-polishing machines, mill machines, food grinders and the like (72.1 months); metal/wood process machinery, such as shelf/press/milling machines and the like (71.5 months); and screws, nails and opening/closing metal products and the like (70.9 months) whereas they are relatively shorter for the following items: condolence supplies, such as urns, artificial flowers and the like (46.3 months); interior decorations, such as flower vases, picture frames, tapestries and the like (47.6 months); and hangers, shelves, small indoor arrangement devices and the like (49.9 months).
Specifically, the term for a design right with respect to goods being subject to non-examination under which a design substantial examination is not performed is only 48 months, on average. Among such goods, the average term of a design right in clothes is 46.5 months and the average term of a design right in fabrics is 44.9 months, reflecting the features of the goods having short life cycles.
2. Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) between Korea and Denmark is open
Applications filed with the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DPTO) by Korean applicants will be easily and simply examined through PPH.
KIPO announced that a PPH trial program between KIPO and DPTO has been in operation since March 1, 2009.
Under the PPH, when the same application is filed with both KIPO and DPTO and the application is registered as a patent in any one country where it has been earlier filed, it is promptly examined through simple procedures in the other country.
KIPO has been operating the PPH with Japan and the US. The PPH with Denmark is the third.
Both KIPO and DPTO will decide whether to fully operate the PPH after operating the PPH as a trial program for 1 year.
3. For patent disputes concerning the radio frequency identification (RFID)/ubiquitous sensor network (USN), prevention is better than a cure
Companies which prepare for the RFID/USN patent disputes have shown increasing concern.
The Korea Association of RFID/USN (President: Shin-bae KIM) supported the RFID/USN patent consulting to its membership companies, without charge, for the last 3 months. As the result, the Association reported excellent outcomes beyond what was expected. The Association selected 20 membership companies including Minerva, Cygnus Information Technology, Lemon C.U.P., among others, and supported the customized consulting through a specialized patent attorney for 30 hours per company.
For most of the membership companies, this was the first detailed consultation regarding the preparation for filing domestic and foreign patent applications relating to their own new technology products, the process for registering the applications, the use of the patent rights, the counter plan for disputes and the like. As a result of the consultation, the companies understood the prior patent information of foreign companies which they had never known or prepared the strategies for avoiding disputes. The consultation results were very helpful to each company in establishing their management plan.
A spokesman of the Association said, “as patent enforcement by foreign companies has been gradually increasing, this may be highly likely to be obstacles in the RFID/USN market growth. So, we will expand in depth patent-related consulting this year.” According to the results of a survey conducted by the Association, 71% of the surveyed companies have experienced difficulties due to patent problems and 74% of them wanted the patent consulting service, reflecting the increased interest in the RFID/USN related patent issues.
A spokesman of one company added, “the right of producing and supplying a gene delivery system can be re-extended after 2 years.” Jun-keun CHANG, President of NanoEntek, said, “concluding this agreement is the opportunity to prove that the nano bio combination technology power of our company is of an international level. In the position of a medium and small company which is weak in a global distribution net, we expect to supply the relevant products to multinational companies for a long term and we hope for stable sales for several years in the future.”
4. 20 Korean multimedia moving picture technologies were selected as international standards
As 20 kinds of Korean multimedia moving picture technologies were selected as international standards, the international influencing power of the relevant fields is expected to greatly increase.
On February 26, 2009, the Agency for Technology Standards (ATS) under the Ministry of Knowledge Economy announced that 20 kinds of multimedia moving picture experts group (MPEG) related technologies, including the reconfigurable video coding (RVC) which is the next generation moving picture codec standard and the others proposed by Korea, were selected as the international standards at the 87th MPEG meeting held in Lausanne, Switzerland, running for 5 days from February 2 to 6.
The ATS explained that as these 20 technologies were selected, a total of 174 Korean multimedia moving picture technologies have been selected as the international standards, i.e., 41 cases for ‘MPEG-7’ which includes the multimedia information search function, 31 cases for ‘MPEG-21’ which is essential for digital content distribution, 20 cases for ‘MPEG-A’ which is a multimedia application format of DMB contents, among others. Specifically, at this meeting, Young-kwon LIM was acknowledged with respect to the specialty and leadership as the results of MPEG standardization activities and was elected as the chairman of a sub-group for system standardization. He has worked as the chairman of a number of small groups and the standard writer.
The MPEG standards are the core technologies used for multimedia application products such as DTV, IPTV, DMB and the like. For the relevant product, 10-15% of the cost of production is for the related patent fees, so that the product competitiveness depends on securing the original patent and the appropriate standards. Therefore, the intellectual property rights of Korean standard technologies is expected to be expansively secured as the 20 Korean technologies have been selected as the international standards and Young-kwon LIM has been elected as the chairman of the sub-group.