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Posts in Korea

IFI CLAIMS Rankings Show Increasing Role of Chinese Entities in U.S., Global Patent Ownership

Today, patent data analytics firm IFI CLAIMS released its annual report of the top U.S. patent recipients and active patent family owners, providing the IP world with a look at the patent ownership landscape that developed throughout the course of 2021. For yet another year, information technology R&D giant International Business Machines (IBM) earned the top spot among entities obtaining patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), while South Korean tech conglomerate Samsung Electronics enjoys the largest portfolio of global active patent families.

Fueled by BTS and K-pop, South Korea’s IP Economy is Thriving

The arts and entertainment industry has boosted South Korea’s economy and produced some of the country’s key products and exports. The country’s population of 51 million people was the sixth largest music market in the world in 2020, according to IFPI’s Global Music Report 2021. Also in 2020, South Korea had a $160 million surplus in cultural and arts intellectual property (IP)-related assets trade, according to South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper. It was the first time a surplus in such a category was registered. However, entertainment-related IP assets have been big Korean exports for years: in 2019, the country exported $8.62 billion in copyright-protected content, according to Yonhap News Agency. South Korea also has proven itself to be a prolific environment for creating music, film, content, and experiences for fans, and also to be great at making the most of their intangible assets through IP strategies.

How One ITC Initial Determination Highlights the Links Among a Strong Patent System, Jobs and International Cooperation

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the International Trade Commission (ITC) recently determined that Samsung Phones violate key patents on magnetic emulator technology for contactless payment systems from Pittsburgh’s Dynamics, Inc. We have been collaborating for years in the academic and public sectors on issues raised in that case, and are consulting consult with Dynamics because we think these issues are vital to our innovation ecosystem, our national economy, and our commitments to international partners. It is especially illustrative of the serious risks facing these vital public interests that far too frequently when there has been a full and fair adjudication determining that there has been infringement of multiple patents and that those patents are neither invalid nor unenforceable, the headline more than suggests that the infringer has been cleared of responsibility.

EPO Patent Index 2020 Underscores Sharp Rise of China as Global Tech Giant

On March 16, the European Patent Office (EPO) released the Patent Index 2020, which gives the public a snapshot view of the filing activities going on at the EU’s patent granting agency during the past year. Total patent application filings declined only slightly during 2020 to just over 180,000 patent applications, a reduction of 0.7% compared to the EPO’s 2019 patent filing totals. Despite a 4.1% decrease in patent application filings at the EPO, the United States still held the top spot among individual countries with 44,293 EPO patent filings. Patent application filing totals also dropped in Germany (down 3% to 25,954 filings) and Japan (down 1.1% to 21,841). The United States, Germany and Japan were ranked first, second and third, respectively, in the EPO Patent Index 2020.

Deciding Where to Obtain International Patent Rights

Determining where to seek patent rights is an important and expensive decision. If you know you are going to want international patent protection, the best, most cost-effective course is to file directly in those countries. This direct filing strategy does not utilize the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), but instead leverages direct filings in countries of interest. For well established companies in mature markets, this can be an effective strategy. For immature markets, new companies, or even mature companies entering immature markets, it is difficult to know where patent protection will be necessary, which makes an international patent application filed pursuant to the PCT a highly effective strategy.

ITC’s Botox Ruling Could Have Public Interest Implications

Korean company Daewoong and its U.S. counterpart Evolus recently found themselves in a dispute with U.S.-Irish company Allergan and its counterpart Medytox over misappropriation of both a bacterial strain and the manufacturing process to make cosmetic injection products from that strain. Daewoong recently received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to market an injection in the United States that competes with Botox, owned by Allergan-Medytox. In order to prevent this entrance into the market, Allergan-Medytox filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) to block imports of the new product under Section 337. The only relationship between Allergan and Medytox is an anticompetitive market allocation agreement. Daewoong’s new product posed a threat to the profitability of Allergan’s agreement with Medytox and therefore became the subject of a dispute before the ITC. Importantly, the manufacture of the products occurs in Korea and the injectables are then imported into the United States.

ITC Issues Limited Exclusion Order on Botox Products, Partially Reverses Trade Secret Finding

In September, the International Trade Commission (ITC) decided to review an initial final determination (FID) in the Matter of “Certain Botulinum Toxin Products, Processes for Manufacturing or Relating to Same and Certain Products Containing Same,” Investigation No. 337-TA-1145, a complaint filed by Allergan against Botox products made by Daewoong and its partner, Evolus, a “performance beauty company”. On Wednesday, the ITC issued a Final Determination in the case, finding that the sale and importation of the products into the United States violated Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act. The Commission issued a Limited Exclusion Order (LEO) prohibiting importation of the products by Daewoong and Evolus for a period of 21 months, as well as a cease and desist order against Evolus preventing the Company from selling, marketing, or promoting the products in the United States for a period of 21 months. However, the Commission reversed the FID’s finding that a trade secret exists with respect to Medytox’s bacterial strain.

Examining Samsung’s and LG’s LCD Patent Portfolios Following Decisions to Halt LCD Production

Samsung Display and LG Display, the two South Korean technology behemoths, announced plans earlier this year to stop the production of LCDs by the end of 2020. The announcements first appeared in Reuters’ reports and aim to consolidate the two companies’ lead in organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels, while conceding to Chinese manufacturers who have aggressively expanded their LCD productions. LCD prices have slumped over the years, as Chinese manufacturers backed by state subsidies have aggressively expanded production capacities. The plunging LCD prices have widened the operating losses at both Samsung and LG Display and finally led to the decision to cut production by year’s end.

Applying for a Patent in South Korea

s one of the world’s most vibrant markets, the number of patents granted in South Korea by the Korean Industrial Property Office (KIPO) has been steadily rising. In just a single year, 2018, patent filings increased by nearly 5% over the previous year – and 3.6% of these (47,410 applications) were filed by international claimants. As with any country, South Korea has its own intellectual property standards and requirements. Here’s what you need to know to extend protection of your IP to South Korea. 

ITC Decision to Review Final Initial Determination in Botox Case Could Have Big Implications for Trade Secrets

Last week, the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a notice in the Matter of “Certain Botulinum Toxin Products, Processes for Manufacturing or Relating to Same and Certain Products Containing Same,” Investigation No. 337-TA-1145, stating that the ITC has “determined to review in part a final initial determination (FID) of the presiding administrative law judge (ALJ) finding a violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.”Last year, Allergan, the U.S. manufacturer of Botox, and Medytox, the Korean manufacturer of a similar product, filed a joint complaint against Daewoong, a Korean drug maker, under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, alleging that Daewoong had stolen Medytox’s botox strain trade secret in Korea and introduced it to the U.S. market. The FID was issued on July 6, 2020, wherein the ALJ found that certain products sold by the Korean drug maker Daewoong and its partner Evolus, Inc. violated section 337 through their importation and sale in the United States of a botulinum neurotoxin product “by reason of the misappropriation of trade secrets.”

EPO/ IEA Study on Innovation in Batteries and Electricity Storage Aims to Identify Trends to Help Tackle Climate Crisis

On Tuesday, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a joint study titled “Innovation in batteries and electricity storage – a global analysis based on patent data.” The study revealed that patenting activity in batteries and other electricity storage technologies grew four times faster than the average for all technology fields over the past decade, but that “energy storage… is currently not on track to achieve the levels called for in the [IEA’s] Sustainable Development Scenario, both in terms of its deployment and its performance.”

A Stylized Word Mark in One Country May Be Too Simple and Common in Another

A single alphabet letter mark may face a bigger challenge in some jurisdictions than others. Take the example of Prince Sports International Company Ltd.’s stylized letter “P”. The Korean Trademark Act prevents registration of “a trademark that consists solely of a simple and common mark” under Article 33(1)(6). Prince Sports International Company Ltd., a Hong Kong-based company that manufactures sports goods, sought to register “P” as its trademark for jewelry, computers, online shopping mall businesses, etc. in Korea. It had already registered the same mark in the United States, Australia, and China, among other countries. In the United States, it is registered as Prince Sports, Inc.’s stylized word mark for tennis rackets. However, the Korean IP Office (KIPO) examiner rejected the application under the Korean Trademark Act, Article 33(1)(6)(a trademark that consists solely of a simple and common mark may not be registered) and Article 33(1) (7)(nondistinctive trademarks that do not serve as a source identifier for other reasons are also unregistrable).

Latest IFI CLAIMS Report Shows U.S. Patent Grants Are Up 15% Over 2018

U.S. patent grants grew by 15% from 2018 to 2019, with IBM heading the pack for the 27th consecutive year, according to IFI CLAIMS Patent Services’ 2019 report. There were 333,530 U.S. patents granted last year, compared with 288,832 in 2018, which represented a 3.5% decline from 20I7. IFI said the growth could possibly be attributed to examiner clarity on patent eligibility following the USPTO’s guidance on Alice, as illustrated in IPWatchdog’s article by Kate Gaudry last year.

A Global Look at Post Grant Patent Maintenance Fees

A patent maintenance fee is an official fee that is payable at prescribed intervals to a national patent office over the lifecycle of a patent application or a granted patent, in order to keep the patent application or the granted patent in force in that particular jurisdiction. It is payable by an applicant or a patent owner (an assignee or a patentee, as the case may be). Patent maintenance fees are an integral part of the patenting process and may also be referred to as patent annuities, patent annuity fees, patent renewal fees, or patent annual fees. The failure to pay a patent maintenance fee could have serious and far-reaching consequences, including the patent application or the granted patent being treated as lapsed, withdrawn, or abandoned in that particular jurisdiction. In this article, we will delve into the patent maintenance fees in the jurisdictions in which the payment of said fees begins at the patent grant stage or patent issue stage, or are calculated from the date on which a patent is issued or granted.

WIPO Report Validates Fears About U.S. Patent Decline

Each year the World Intellectual Property Organization releases a report titled World Intellectual Property Indicators. The latest edition of the report, the 2019 version, is a look back on the filing statistics for 2018. The report is eye-opening and should be mandatory reading for policy makers and legislators in the United States. For the first time since 2009, the United States saw a decline in the number of patent applications filed. This remarkable statistic comes at a time when patent applications are growing in number across the rest of the world. And let’s not forget that 2009 was a time of particular economic crisis both in the United States and around the world due to the global financial crisis and Wall Street meltdown brought on by the housing market collapse.