KIPO Commissioner Kim Youngmin announced that KIPO has organized a database of standardized Korean-English applicant names—a first among IP offices worldwide—and granted the public free access to it via KIPRISPlus (Patent Information Web Services) starting on December 23, 2014. 

A “standardized applicant name“ is a blanket term for collecting all facets of a given applicant—whether said applicant is an individual or a corporation—under a single unifying label. KIPO’s current database contains standardized applicant names in both English and Korean, as opposed to the previous, Korean-only version that was disseminated last June. 

Nowadays, applicants are supposed to use only one applicant name for registration. Prior to 2009, however, there were no restrictions as to the number of applicant names they were allowed to use. Thus, there were many instances in which a single applicant was attached to several different applicant names. 

For example, the electronics company AA went by AA Electronics Co. LTD, AA Electronics Co., and AA Electronics Corporation. This led to inconveniences and confusion when it came to applicant searches and statistical analyses. 

To address this issue and provide the public with access to precision applicant name data, KIPO pared its database of 1.3 million applicant names down to 1.22 million. It then used these names to establish a database of standardized applicant names linked to Korean patent, utility model, trademark, and design publications—7.22 million files in total. 

Standardized applicant name data make it easier for users to search for patents and other IPRs, whether they be held by individuals or corporations. Enhanced accuracy of information on IP right holders also leads to smoother technology transactions and increased protection for right holders. 

The standardized Korean-English applicant name data that KIPO has made publicly available contain 980,000 applicant names registered in both English and Korean, making it easier to accurately search the English names of foreign firms and stay current with overseas application trends. 

KIPO will collect the raw data for standardized Korean-English applicant names and put this data at the public’s disposal. This will enable individuals and firms to develop various IP products and services, such as applicant name search services and statistical products containing IP rights information. 

Regarding KIPO’s bold step in establishing a database of standardized applicant names, Director Choi Gyuwan of the Information and Customer Support Bureau stated that “KIPO will do its utmost to lead global efforts to advance patent information automation and accumulate useful patent information data that meets the needs of our clients.”