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The number of trademark applications filed in Korea by foreign applicants through the Madrid Protocol is rapidly increasing (166)

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KH

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2009-04-16

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1. The number of trademark applications filed in Korea by foreign applicants through the Madrid Protocol is rapidly increasing

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO; Commissioner: Jung-sik KOH), the ‘statistics of 2008 international trademark applications’ by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) indicates that, in 2008, a total of 9,539 trademark applications were filed in Korea by foreign applicants, using the ‘Madrid System’. This is an increase of 6.1% compared to 8,988 trademark applications in 2007.

The Madrid System makes it possible to conveniently file trademark applications in member countries of the Madrid Agreement regarding international trademark registration. When an applicant files a single trademark application in anyone member country of the Madrid Agreement, using the Madrid System, the application is directly filed in each of a number of member countries where the applicant wants the application to be registered.

In 2008, foreign companies concentrated their efforts to obtain trademark rights in the Korean markets of international communication, computers, clothing and medicine manufacturing-related business, among others.

The aforementioned fields held 26.8% of the total of designated goods and service businesses for which the trademark applications filed using the Madrid System in 2008. In these business fields, foreign companies keenly competed to dominate brands.

“The increase in Korean trademark applications filed by foreign companies through the Madrid System is the circumstantial evidence that Korean markets are so attractive. (KIPO) will provide examination services that will best meet the specific needs of particular foreign applicants, to guide the foreign applicants to continuously file trademark applications in Korea,” a spokesman of KIPO said.


2. The number of patent applications related to drugs for treatment of obesity, using natural substances, is increasing

The number of patent applications related to drugs for treatment of obesity using natural substances with low side effects compared to chemicals is increasing. According to KIPO, the number of the patent applications related the drugs for treatment of obesity was less than 50 in 2000 but increased to 379 in 2008.

Among the total of the applications, the number of the patent applications related to drugs for treatment of obesity using natural substances rapidly increased from 5 in 2000 to 42 in 2008.

In the patent applications related to the drugs for treatment of obesity using natural substances, which were filed for the last 10 years, the natural substance materials were diversified from traditional oriental medicine complexes (based on the Chinese medical science) to plants (such as green tea, ginseng, pine needles, brown algae, and the like), minerals and microorganisms, among others.

Specifically, the applications related to the drugs for treatment of obesity using one kind of a natural extract is 72% while the applications related to the drugs for treatment of obesity using two or more kinds of a natural extract complex is 28%.

Upon classifying the applications by mechanisms of action, 20% applications are for inhibition of assimilation, 13% for inhibition of fat cell differentiation, 11% for hormone control, 4% for activation of heat metabolism, 3% for suppression of appetite, 2% for suppression of fat acid generation, and 2% for inhibition of neovascularization, among others.


3. S&S Tech finally won the trial for patent invalidation against Hoya, a Japanese company

S&S Tech (CEO: Gi-soo Nahm) is a company specializing in blank masks for semiconductors and TFT-LCD. S&S Tech finally won the trial for patent invalidation against Hoya after 3 years and 4 months.

On April 1, 2009, S&S Tech announced that Hoya filed the appeal against the decision of the trial for patent invalidation made by the Patent Court and the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by Hoya. The patent in issue relates to a phase shift blank mask. The Hoya patent as invalidated relates to a high-end level phase shift blank mask capable of significantly improving the precision of a pattern in semiconductor fabrication. As the degree of integration for semiconductor has been improved, the phase shift blank mask is used as an indispensable material to realize the high resolution of semiconductor devices and therefore it is continuously and increasingly demanded.

“As S&S Tech won the trial for patent invalidation, we prepared an opportunity to actively make inroads into the market of higher value-added phase shift blank masks, which has been monopolized by Japanese companies,” a spokesman of S&S Tech explained.

S&S Tech is a first Korean company achieving success in developing the phase shift blank mask technology in 2002. S&S pushed into the phase shift blank mask market exclusively possessed by Japanese companies. However, as Hoya brought the trial for patent infringement before the Seoul District Court in September of 2005, S&S Tech was involved in the patent dispute. S&S Tech won all of the first trial filed with the Intellectual Property Tribunal in 2007 and the second trial filed with the Patent Court in 2008.


4. The number of patent applications related to the heating/cooling technology using geothermal energy

The number of patent applications related to the heating/cooling technology using geothermal energy, which is green energy, is increasing. According to KIPO, the number of the applications in this field was just 3 in 1999 but it steadily increased to 307 in 2008. Among these applications, 161 cases were registered as patents.

Specially, as the Government adopted the green energy industry as the growth power to overcome the economic crisis, as many as 90 applications were filed in 2008.

Among the total of the applications, 150 applications (49%) relate to the ground heat exchanger, 89 applications (29%) relate to the heat pump using ground heat, and 68 applications (22%) relate to the other relevant technology.

“Research and propagation of the technology using geothermal energy are active in the USA and Europe where energy conditions are better than Korea. KIPO will positively promote the strategic project to obtain the technology and intellectual property right of green buildings including ground heat. Furthermore, KPO have a plan to help the research and development in the relevant industries,” a spokesman of KIPO said.
 

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The number of registration of Korean trademarks passed 1,000,000 (167)

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