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It will become easier to file international applications for a patent/trademark/design. (170)



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1. It will become easier to file international applications for a patent/trademark/design.

Beginning next year, it will become easier to file an international application for a patent/trademark/design.

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO; Commissioner: Jung-sik KOH), the Patent Application Format to be used in the Republic of Korea, the USA, Japan and Europe will be introduced from the next year, making it possible for an applicant to file an application with a Patent Office in a foreign country even though (s)he makes a only simple translation thereof.

A trademark right will become more convenient to renew. At the present, to renew a trademark, registration fees need to be paid and an application for renewing the registration must be filed. However, beginning next year, the period of a trademark right will be extended by only a request, without any examination procedures.

Furthermore, from July this year, the system for filing a design application will be changed focusing on the client. In the case where two figures are symmetrical to each other and the same upon filing a design application, an applicant may optionally omit any one of a rear view and a bottom view.

In addition, the procedures for filing an international patent application by fax will be simplified, and a due date for submitting an opinion/argument to a notice that an international patent application is regarded as being withdrawn will be extended (from one month to two months), among other changes.

According to an explanation of a KIPO spokesman, the Enforcement Decrees and Rules of the Patent Law, the Trademark Law and its Enforcement Decrees, and the Enforcement Decrees and Rues of the Design Protection Law are in process of revision, to reflect the changes of the relevant systems.

2. KIPO provides the free e-laboratory notebook.

A project to provide the electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) that took over three (3) years to develop will be available, starting from four (4) public institutions.

According to the government and relevant industries, among others, KIPO will build the electronic laboratory notebook system capable of electronically managing knowledge (such as intellectual property rights, patent information, and the like) and laboratory projects in the four institutes, for the first time in the Republic of Korea. The four institutes are the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology, Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the other government institute. The validity of this project is determined after operating it as a trial case. Thereafter, free electronic laboratory notebooks are provided to nonofficial people as well as official people.

In the electronic laboratory notebook, the course of research of a researcher is electronically documented and a security solution is introduced to block any attempt to optionally forge/modulate the course of research. A password, a time at which a relevant record is written and a writer, among others, are assigned to an individual electronic document, proving that the electronic document is the original not a copy.

In the USA and Europe, among others, electronic laboratory notebooks have been already fast spread as the important materials of patent disputes. However, there has been no case that the electronic laboratory notebooks were introduced in the Republic of Korea. Therefore, when the technologies developed in the Republic of Korea were involved with patent trials by foreign companies, the Korean companies had difficulties because they could not provide the electronic laboratory notebooks as evidence.

“When Korea-US FTA becomes effective by the consent of the National Assembly/Congress, US companies may file large-scale patent trials against Korean companies. Moreover, since there were no cases of introducing the electronic laboratory notebooks in the Republic of Korea, we are in fact in a defenseless state,” said Jin-gu LEE, a head of a department of the Korea Institute of Patent Information.

3. Game industries look sad because of consecutive trials…lights are usually followed by shadows.

Game industries are in an unprecedented prosperous condition but are troubled because of a number of law suits.

According to the relevant industries, NC Soft has been accused by Worlds.com, a US company, by reason of patent infringement.

Worlds.com asserted that NC Soft infringed the patent relating to “System and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual reality space being three-dimensional, in which a location of an user in the 3D virtual space is transmitted to another user through a server, to be displayed on a screen.

This is a generalized technology in on-line games and on-line social networking services (SNS). According to the relevant industries, Worlds.com is regarded as a patent troll. In other words, after raising a trial with the help of the patent purchased the patent from a company having difficulties in management, Worlds.com concludes a license agreement and receives royalties.

Neowiz Games Inc. is also involved with a trial by patent infringement, brought by Konami, a Japanese company.

Konami asserts that the ‘DJ MAX developed by Pentavision, an independent subsidiary company of Neowiz Games, infringed the patent of a rhythm game. Based on the assertion, Konami demands that Neowiz Games shall stop manufacturing and selling the relevant game and pay compensation for damages.

4. SK Energy won the patent trial against a Japanese company.

On May 5, 2009, SK Energy announced that they finally won the trial for infringement of the patent related to the lithium ion battery separator (LiBS), brought by Tonen, a Japanese company.

After SK Energy became the third company in the world which developed LIBS on December 2004, Tonen raised the trial on March 2006, asserting that SK Energy infringed the LiBS-related patent of an independent subsidiary company of Tonen.

Against the trial brought by Tonen, SK Energy filed a first trial before the Seoul Central District Court on January 2007, an appeal trial before the Seoul High Court and an appeal trial before the Supreme Court. SK Energy won these trials, getting out of the patent trial disputes.

LiBS as a core part of a lithium ion battery (LiB) blocks a positive pole and a negative pole and helps electrons to move within the battery. SK Energy holds 30% of the Korean LiBS market and Tonen holds 20% thereof.  


A revised bill to the Korean Trademark Law… “to simplify procedures for filing trademark renewal applications” (171)


The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO; Commissioner: Jung-sik KOH) holds a traveling presentation meeting regarding the changes in the patent system. (169)