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   Letter No.1 (2002-10-22)

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LG.Philips obtains rights to sublicense CEA's patents;

LG.Philips LCD Co. (, a major TFT-LCD (thin film transistor-liquid crystal display) panel manufacturer, has obtained the rights to sublicense to third parties worldwide the pioneering LCD patents owned by Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (CEA), the company announced yesterday.

CEA, or the French Atomic Energy Commission, is a key player in research, development and innovation in the fields of energy, defense, information technologies, communication and health, LG.Philips said.

These patents (U.S. Patent No. 4,701,028, No. 4,786,147 and No. 4,889,412) are related to vertical alignment (VA) mode LCD (VA LCD) technology, which enables the manufacture of LCDs with higher contrast and wider viewing angles.

VA LCD technology is especially critical in the production of larger size displays for both LCD monitors and LCD TV applications. Under the deal, CEA has authorized LG.Philips to sublicense CEA's VA LCD patents to third parties, and if needed, enforce these patents, together with CEA.

LG.Philips ranked fourth in the number of TFT-LCD patents granted in the United States in 2001, and it has recently forged a patent deal with Lockwell Collinas, one of the world's largest airplane display solutions firms.

It also filed a lawsuit against Taiwanese TFT-LCD makers, CPT, and its parent firm Tatung, over the alleged infringement of patent right over the related technologies.

Headquartered in Seoul, LG.Philips is a joint venture company established in July 1999 by LG Electronics and Royal Philips Electronics. It is extending its focus beyond traditional and successful notebook and PC monitor markets and is poised to deliver solutions for consumer electronics products like the growing field of LCD TVs.



Objects of documents which are able to be submitted in electronic documents in the procedure of Application, Examination, and Trial are expanded

Enforcement Regulations of Patent, Utility Model, Trademark and Design Laws were revised. These revisions are as followings; the objects of documents which are able to be submitted in electronic documents in the procedure of Application, Examination, and Trial are expanded. These regulations entered into force on March 1, 2002

The Korea Intellectual Property Office plans to reduce the patent examination turnaround

The Korea Intellectual Property Office plans to reduce the patent examination turnaround - At present, the turnaroundtime required to examine a patent application in Korea is 23 months on the average, which takes remarkably longer than in US(14 months), Germany(10 months), etc. According to the current trend, it is expected that it will take 32 months to examine the patent application in 2005. The problem of delaying the examination has been frequently raised by companies, institutes and inventors, becoming a social problem.

To resolve this problem, KIPO decided to shorten the examination turnaroundtime to 15 months by 2005 by enlarging the outsourcing of the examination work, efficiently using human power for examination and increasing the number of the examiners. That is, KIPO decided to add about 250 examiners in next 3 years, increasing 89 examiners this year and 80 examiners in 2003 and 2004 respectively. In particular, to enhance the expertise of the examiners, KIPO will primarily recruit 19 expert examiners in the new fields among 89 examiners to be supplemented this year. In other words, by the end of this year KIPO will recruit 14 expert examiners in 12 technical fields like in meteorology, shipbuilding, aviation, transportation, forestry, environments, medical technique, veterinary science, fishery science, animal husbandry, electronic communications; 2 expert examiners for the design; 2 examiners, who are attorney-at-law and will assume full charge of the intellectual property regulations; and 1 international negotiation expert having the linguistic qualifications.


Case Laws

Using the trademark for export under OEM in the free export zone is considered as activities of using the trademark domestically.

Using the trademark for export under Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) in the free export zone is considered as activities of using the trademark domestically. (Supreme Court of Korea May 5, 2002)


Patent Application Procedures in Korea

Korea has adopted the "First to file" rule and the"Request for examination" system, including the"laying-open" system, for the protection of inventions and utility models. Under these systems, a party who first files a patent or utility model application with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) will obtain patent or utility model rights.

Korea is a member of the World Trade Organization, the Paris Convention, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and the Budapest Treaty of the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms. Therefore, the filing of applications based on those treaties is fully recognized in Korea.

Applications for patents are laid-open to the public eighteen months after the Korean filing date, international filing date, or priority date. The examination of patent applications is carried out only upon request, and a request for examination can be made within five years from the date the application was filed in Korea, or from the international filing date. The first office action on a patent is received about two to three years after the examination is requested.

Since July 1, 1999, utility model applications are registered without substantive examination in Korea. All applications for utility models are published in the Official Gazette about four months after the Korean filing date. Where an applicant wishes to file suit against an infringer or a third party wants to find out whether the registered utility model is patentable, a request for technical evaluation with the KIPO may be filed to obtain a decision regarding the patentability of the utility model right. It usually takes three to five months to obtain a technical evaluation from the KIPO.

If, during the patent examination, the Examiner finds no reason to reject the application, a Notice of Allowance is issued, wherein the applicant must then pay the required registration fee to the KIPO within a period of three months after receiving the Notice. The KIPO will publish the application in the Official Gazette to allow opportunity for opposition within three months from the publication date. The term of a patent right is twenty years from the filing date or international official filing date, and ten years for a utility model.

A major revision effective since July 1, 1999 has been the "double application" system: it is possible to simultaneously apply for a patent and a utility model registration to protect the one and the same invention. When a patent is registered after substantive examination and the payment of fees, the utility model registration shall become abandoned. Further, since July 1, 2001, utility model applications are allowed to include two or more independent claims. This ameliorates the problem in the "double application" system where the unity of invention for utility model applications differs from patent applications



2002 Seoul International Intellectual Property Conference was held from October 12 to 15.

2002 Seoul International Intellectual Property Conference was held during the period from October 12 to 15 at the Westin Chosun Seoul on the theme of "Intellectual Property and Licensing" and it follows the 2000 Seoul International Intellectual Property conference on "Effective Management of Intellectual Property in the New Millennium". As optional programs, LES Pan Asian Meeting and Industrial Sector Meeting with corporate members was held in the morning of October 15 and Industrial Inspection Tours to KIA Motors Factory or Samsung Electronics Factory was prepared in the afternoon of October 15.

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