IP News in Brief February, 2018
【Conor Stuart／IP Observer Reporter】
2017 IP Statistics for South Korea
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has released its intellectual property figures for 2017. Invention patent applications totaled 24,225 in December of 2017, making a cumulative total of 204,775 for 2017, a year-on-year decrease of 1.9%. Utility model applications in December totaled 692, making a cumulative total for 2017 of 6,811, a year-on-year decrease of 12.3%. Design applications totaled 6,381 in December, making 63,451 applications in 2017, a year-on-year decrease of 3.4%. Only trademarks saw a year-on-year increase, with 182,923 trademark applications in 2017, with 16,557 in December alone.
Invention patent grants for December totaled 10,026, making a cumulative total for the year of 120,662, year-on-year growth of 10.8%. Design grants totaled 4,414 in December, making a cumulative total of 49,293 for the year, a year-on-year decrease of 11.3%. Utility model grants totaled 226 in December, making a cumulative total for the year of 2,994, a year-on-year increase of 4.9%. Trademark grants totaled 9,136 in December, making a total of 116,702 for the year, a year-on-year decrease of 2.1%.
In December there were 18,487 examination requests for invention patents and 504 examination requests for utility models, making a total of 172,635 and 6,036 for the year respectively.
Taiwan Patent Statistics for 2017
Taiwan's Intellectual Property Office published its patent and trademark statistics for 2017 earlier this month. TSMC was the top local applicant, having filed 937 applications, while Alibaba was the largest foreign applicant with 762 applications. In terms of patent grants, Hon Hai Precision Instruments ranked first among local patentees with 756 grants, while Intel was granted the most patents among foreign applicants with 968. After five years of negative growth, 2017 saw 24% growth in invention patent applications by businesses.
Applications by TSMC reached a historical high in 2017. Hon Hai Precision Instruments moved from 3rd place in 2016 to 2nd place in terms of number of applications, overtaking the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) with 485 applications in 2017. MediaTek (349 applications) and Microjet Technology Co. Ltd. (251 applications) saw six-fold and 1.5-fold growth respectively, breaking their way into the top ten local applicants. Far East University (205 applications) was the only university to make it into the top ten.
In terms of foreign applicants, Alibaba applied for 762, six-fold growth year-on-year, the first time it's been in the top ten; Qualcomm applied for 604 patents, putting it in second place, while Applied Materials applied for 493, year-on-year growth of 48%, putting it in third place. There was a steep decline of 53% in Intel's applications, putting it in fourth place, with the company slipping from its 2016 first-place ranking to fourth place; Oppo Electronics made its debut in the top ten with 323 applications, putting it in seventh place, with eleven-fold growth year on year.
Observing the top 100 applicants for all three kinds of patent, businesses seem to be the main driver of R&D innovation in Taiwan, with applications concentrated on invention patents, with year-on-year growth of 24% in 2017, while utility model patents also grew by 21%, but design patents saw a decrease of 23%. Educational institutes saw a fall in applications for both invention patents and utility models, with decreases of 5% and 27% respectively. Invention patent applications by research institutes fell by 9%.
Taiwan to Postpone IP Legislation as CPTPP Suspends IP Provisions
The text of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership was announced earlier this month, and Taiwan's Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua stated that in response to suspension of 20 provisions, relating to IP, Taiwan will postpone eight pieces of legislation already passed to the Legislative Yuan, including amendments to its Patent Act and Copyright Act, according to a report by UDN.
Wang Mei-hua stated that Taiwan would endeavour to be included in the second round of CPTPP membership, and would engage in bilateral consultations with each member.
Taiwan previously made legal adjustments in line with its expectation of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, sending eight pieces of legislation to the Legislative Yuan, including the amendments to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act, the Patent Act, the Trademark Act, the Copyright Act, the Statute for Control of Cosmetic Hygiene, The Plant Variety and Plant Seed Act, the Agro-pesticides Management Act and the Postal Act.
Wang Mei-hua stated that the CPTPP no longer includes provision of patent extensions in compensation for unreasonable delays in patent examination by the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office, which was included in the amendment of the patent act, so its enactment will be postponed.
Innolux Launches Patent Infringement Suit Against Chinese Firms
On Feb. 12 Taiwanese flat panel display firm Innolux launched 17 patent infringement suits against Chinese firms at the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court and the Ningbo Intermediate People's Court against subsidiaries of panel maker HKC in Chongqing and Hefei and their distributors for infringement of patents relating to their liquid crystal panel display product in terms of manufacture, use and sales. The courts have already agreed to hear the cases.
Henan Province Sees 26% Growth in Patent Applications in 2017
The Chinese province of Henan received 119,243 patent applications in 2017, year-on-year growth of 26%. Patent grants in the province totaled 55,407, year-on-year growth of 12.7%. 2017 also saw the establishment of a 300 million yuan (US$47.5 million) intellectual property monetization fund. The total sum of patent pledges in the province reached a sum of 1.55 billion yuan (US$245 million), double the figure last year.
Intellectual Property Court Established in Xi'an
The first intellectual property courtroom in the north west of China has been established in Xi'an. The court will hear intellectual property cases from all over Shaanxi Province. The court is one of the specialized intellectual property courts established on order of the Supreme People's Court. The dedicated IP courtroom will be housed in the Xi'an Intermediate People's Court and will have jurisdiction over cases relating to patents, trade secrets, software, plant varieties, integrated circuit design, trademarks and monopolies from all over Shaanxi Province on first instance. It will also have jurisdiction over civil, administrative and criminal intellectual property cases on first instance that fall outside of the jurisdiction of the Xi'an Basic People's Courts and appeals of verdicts on intellectual property cases heard at the Xi'an Basic People's Courts.
Currently 12 judges sit on the Xi'an Intellectual Property Court bench.