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



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1. A revised bill to the Korean Trademark Law… “to simplify procedures for filing trademark renewal applications”

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO; Commissioner: Jung-sik KOH) submitted to the National Assembly a revised bill on the Trademark Law. The revised bill includes proposals to extend the trademark term with the payment of fees and submission of a written request for extension only and to allow trademark registration fees to be paid in two installments.

At the present, to extend the trademark term, ten (10) years, a request for extending a trademark term must be filed and an additional examination thereof is needed. Further, registration fees for ten (10) years must be paid in a lump sum within two (2) months from a date when a decision to allow a trademark to be registered is received.

Furthermore, only an interested party shall request a trial for canceling a trademark which is not used. However, according to another proposal included in the revised bill, anyone may request a trial for canceling a trademark being not used.

2. The ‘Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)’ between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United Kingdom (UK) will open

The PPH between ROK and UK will open. According to a KIPO spokesman, the 2nd meeting between the Commissioners of KIPO and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) was held at the Westin Chosun Seoul and the Commissioners of KIPO and UKIPO agreed to operate the PPH between the two countries.

Under the PPH, when the same application is filed with both KIPO and UKIPO 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, US and Denmark. The PPH with UK is the fourth.

A PPH trial program between KIPO and UKIPO will be in operation from October 1, 2009.

In this meeting, the two countries agreed to strengthen the cooperation in a plan to support the green technology-related patent applications through fast examination, a program to support small and medium companies through intellectual property rights, a project to protect intellectual properties, a project to operate in the design field and a project to exchange intellectual property educational contents, among others.

“The opening of the PPH with UK will be of great help in promoting cooperation with the other European countries,” the KIPO spokesman said.

3. The Republic of Korea (ROK) and China concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen cooperation in the trademark field

The ROK and China governments concluded a MOU to strengthen the protection of trademark rights, one of the intellectual property rights, and cooperation between the two countries. Mr. Jung-sik KOH, the Commissioner of KIPO, had a high-level talk with Mr. Fu Shuangjian, a Vice Minister of the State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) in Beijing, China and signed the ‘MOU for Strategic Cooperation’ including the contents to strengthen the cooperation between the two organizations.

KIPO and SAIC agreed to strengthen the following by concluding the MOU:
- protection of major issues and business secrets in the trademark field, and exchange information regarding unfair competition problems, such as the filing of an application for a trademark with malice;
- education and training regarding examinations, oppositions and disputes regarding trademarks;
- exchange information regarding intellectual property database construction;
- joint-activities regarding international intellectual property concerns; and
- exchange education for trademark owners and activities for improving the public understanding of trademark rights

For these purposes, the two organizations decided to jointly prepare the annual plans to be operated, designated mutual contact departments, and agreed to alternately hold a meeting every year.

The number of patent and trademark applications filed in China in 2008 is 828,328. The number of Chinese applications filed by Korean applicants is 9,320. ROK is 4th in ranking in the number of Chinese applications, following Japan, US and Germany. That is, the exchange between the two countries in the intellectual property field is expanding.

4. Mr. Mun-kee CHOI, President of the Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), announced to receive patent royalties of one hundred million dollars per year after three (3) years

ETRI announced it would be a world top IT-R&D agency, which will receive patent royalties of one hundred million dollars annually from 2012.

In an informal press meeting held in Daduk, the Republic of Korea on June 29, 2009, Mr. Mun-kee CHOI said, “at present, ETRI has registered 256 US patents per year. This number is similar to that of the US patents owned by Qualcomm. However, ETRI will increase the number of US patents to 500 or more, for our goal to be 35th in world ranking by 2012. ETRI also established the ‘Intellectual Property (IP) strategies” to make profits of patent royalties of one hundred million dollars per year.”

A preconceived scheme is as follows: the IP strategies will be used from a R&D planning step. The cooperation between researchers participating in the international standardization activities and IP staff will be strengthened. The situations for standardization progresses will be continuously monitored, to discover and expand standard patents.

“We will introduce the Chief Patent Officer (CPO) system and strengthen the organization taking full charge of IP by additionally hiring twelve (12) patent experts, such as patent attorneys, by 2010. Further, an IP Patent Coordinator (PC) will be designated in each research department, to generalize the R&D plans and the core patent discovery and commercialization,” Mr. CHOI added.

In July, 2008, ETRI brought the ‘trial for prohibiting patent infringement and trial for claiming compensation for damages’ to the Virginia Eastern District Court in the USA, against global mobile phone manufacturing companies which infringed ETRI’s three (3) patents for the third generation mobile communication standards. ETRI obtained the result of receiving the royalties on the involved technology from one of these companies.


The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO; Commissioner: Jung-sik KOH) is raising as an intellectual property (IP) education hub in the Asia-Pacific region (172)


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