1. Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO: Commissioner: Jung-sik KOH) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will jointly develop the ‘Intellectual Property Panorama’ in the official UN languages
The English e-learning contents related to intellectual property [called “Intellectual Property (IP) Panorama”], which was developed by KIPO, will be translated into the official UN languages, for the international market consisting of 189 countries and about 2.6 billion people.
KIPO and WIPO agreed to jointly develop IP Panorama in the official UN languages within the next four (4) years and announced that they would develop IP Panorama in an Arab language version in 2009.
IP Panorama uses e-learning contents in English covering different strategies in using intellectual property rights in real business fields. IP Panorama was first jointly developed by KIPO and WIPO from 2005 to 2007.
Unlike the previous Korean intellectual property education contents covering the legal and theoretical contents, IP Panorama provides strategies for using intellectual property rights in the real business fields through various animation characters and stories, so that anyone can easily learn the contents as if watching an interesting soap drama.
2. The number of applications related to the ‘Smart Grid’ is rapidly increasing
According to KIPO, the number of patent applications related to the basic technologies of the Smart Grid (such as the control of transmitting/supplying/operating electric power in the electric power system, the energy management, electric power storing, electric power system connection and safety) has been tremendously increasing in the US and Japan, starting from the year 2000.
Japan filed the most applications related to the Smart Grid technology prior to 2000. However, from 2001, the US tremendously increased the number of applications related to the Smart Grid technology, far surpassing Japan.
Companies which file a large number of applications for the Smart Grid technology are GE and Westinghouse (US companies), Hitach, Toshiva, Sanyo and Mitsubish (Japanese companies), ABB (Swiss company) and Siemens (German company), among others. Korean companies, mainly the heavy electric equipment companies including Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute, Korea Electric Power Corp. and LG Industrial Systems, among the others, have taken the lead in the research and development and in filing patent applications.
3. The number of patent applications related to the ‘Biomass’ is rapidly increasing as the technology thereof is developed
Biomass is the general term for organic material which living organisms existing in the natural world have. Biomass is the typical source which has been used as food, energy, building materials, things for everyday life by human for a long time. The supply of ethanol for fuel, which is derived from corn, sugar cane and sweet potato, has been insufficient in the market, and biodiesel is being developed in Europe. Some consider the biomass source as essentially the only ground source to replace the underground source, such as petroleum or coal.
According to KIPO, the number of patent applications related to the biomass, filed from 1995 to June 2009, was 301. The number of the applications, which was about 30 prior to 2000, progressively increased. Considering three year time unit, the number of application was 44 from 2001 to 2003 and 55 from 2004 to 2006 and rapidly increased to 173 from 2007 to June 2009. The number of applications filed during only the first half of this year was 44, showing that recently the number of applications has been rapidly increasing. While the percentage of applications filed by foreign applicants was 30%, that of the applications filed by the Korean applicants was 70%, showing that the Korean applicants are actively filing the applications.
4. The ‘DMB patent infringement’ has ramifications in the IT industries
Philips sent a warning notice to Samsung and others.
Relevant industries will cope with the situation after reviewing the law.
Philips, a multinational company, claimed that six (6) patents related to its own DMB technology had been infringed and sent warning notices to the Korean IT machinery manufacturing companies through a large Korean law firm. Accordingly, ramifications in the IT industries are expected.
The Korean relevant industries have taken a position that it will calmly deal with this situation after confirming the fact with DMB semiconductor industries which supplied the parts. Further, they have requested that the selection of digital radio broadcasting standards, which has been pursued to be introduced by the Government, shall be carefully decided, considering this kind of patent case.
According to a report dated August 26, 2009 from the Korean IT machinery manufacturing industries, Philips sent the official documents of patent infringement to the Korean companies of manufacturing the IT product with the DMB function (Samsung Electronics, Thinkware, Exoad, Cowon Systems and Digital-cube, among the others) through a large Korean law firm about June 2009. In the official documents, Philips claimed that these Korean companies infringed six (6) DMB-related technology patents, entitled ‘digital data transmitting/receiving system and receiver’ and ‘method for transmitting digital speech signal’, among the others.
In this regard, the Korean IT machinery manufacturing companies which are developing the products providing the ground-wave DMB receiving function (for example, navigation, MP3 player, PMP and the like) are very concerned about the claim for infringement of the ground-wave DMB patents.
If patent infringement is constituted and approved, the companies manufacturing the terminal having the ground-wave DMB receiving function have to pay patent fees (royalties) as much as the sales of the terminals which they have sold up to now. More serious ramifications are expected since not only Korean medium and small companies developing terminals with the ground-wave DMB receiving function but also large companies manufacturing mobile phones with the ground-wave DMB receiving function (such as Samsung Electronics) also received the relevant official documents.
“While it is true that [Samsung] received the relevant official documents, since there has yet to be a formal filing of an infringement action or trial, as I know, it has yet to be decided which position to take,” a spokesman of Samsung Electronics said.