There were 13,138 PCT applications from Korea in 2014, which was a 5.6% increase of that in the previous year. Korea is one of the top five countries with the most PCT applications. According to the statistics in 2013, USA had the most PCT applications, followed by Japan, China, Germany, and Korea.
Samsung Electronics filed 1,639 applications in 2014, making it the biggest PCT filer in Korea, followed by LG Electronics that filed 1,396 and LG Chem that filed 826 PCT applications. The amount of PCT applications filed by these three corporations covered 29.4% of the total PCT applications in 2014. Dongwoo Fine-Chem was ranked 82 in the number of PCT application filings.
The Advisory Service Department of the Korea Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) states that the amount of PCT applications is an important indicator of Korea’s technology competitiveness in the international market. KIPO will improve the application procedure as a way to encourage more Korean enterprises to file PCT applications.
In 2014, the examination duration for the invention patent in Korea was 11 months, and 6.4 months for trademark examination. Korea aims to shorten the examination duration for the invention patent down to 10 months in 2015, and 5 months for trademark and design patent applications.
In 2014, there were 210,000 patent applications and 130,000 patent grant in Korea. Korea has reached the standard of top 5 nations in terms of its patent examination duration, which is only 11 months. There were 150,000 trademark applications (Korea ranked top 7 in the world) and 5,000 applications for design patent; the examination duration for trademark and design patent registration was 6.4 and 6.5 months respectively. Furthermore, there were 11,981 IP litigations in the same year with a pendency of only 7.9 months in average. The total number of international application for patent and trademark had reached 57,686, which was a 2.4% increase from the previous year.
In the past 5 years, the number of multinational applications filed with KIPO has consistently risen with 36.3% increase in PCT applications and 74.3% increase for trademarks. In order to improve the quality of examination process, the KIPO has opened its search platforms for Korean patent agencies to access and use. Starting in January 2015, the Korean patent agencies are required to utilize the search system provided by KIPO, which will allow the examiners to review the applications under the same system. Originally, KIPO outsourced the searches in order to expedite the examination process. However, disparate search results would take place due to differing features and data provided by different search system. There was a need for agents and examiners to utilize the same search engines. Thus, improving the search environment and expanding the search engines was KIPO’s major goal.