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   Letter No.6 (2003-3-20)

Patent News,   Search News,   Patyellow News  

Patent News

Hot News

Intelligent automatic input system developed

DLocus Digital Service Co., Ltd. announced 2 February 2003 that it obtained patents for the world's first 'Intelligent Auto-fill' solutions, by which users can input user information such as their IDs and passwords at any location with one click. The company said it is taking steps to obtain international patents for the solutions.

Locus Digital explained that with the patented solutions, once basic information such as user information or delivery destination information is input, the user does not need to input any more information during e-commerce except one click for automatic input, such that a high quality security function is provided. Accordingly, an individual user can input personal information with just one click at any location without exposing their private information.

Locus Digital said that with the patented solutions, it has gained competitive superiority in the online combined authentication and electronic payment system market. Locus Digital obtained patents in October last year for its Gatepay system, a disposable virtual card number-type electronic payment system which completely prevents personal information from leakage.


Trend regarding Patent Applications for Natural Substance Medicine

In Korea, the market for herbal medicine is estimated to be worth about 350 billions won according to the statistical annual report on 2001 Korea Food & Drug issued by Korea Food & Drug Administration. About 70 pharmaceutical companies are manufacturing about 1,000 kinds of herbal medicines. Those herbal medicines are prescribed and manufactured based on Korean traditional medical books. Recently, besides such traditionally prescribed herbal medicines, new kinds of herbal medicines are actively being studied and developed. This rapidly growing herbal medicine market mainly targets intractable diseases such as hepatitis, diabetes, arthritis, dementia and impotence.

Patent applications for natural substance medicine did not number more than 21 in 1986, however since then, the number has been steadily increasing. [(This statistics refer to PCT patent applications applied during January 1, 1986 ~ December 31, 2001, including A61K 33/00~33/44 (Medicinal preparations containing inorganic active ingredients), A61K 35/00~35/76 (Medical preparations

containing material or reaction products thereof with undetermined constitution) and A61K 35/78~35/84 (Materials from plants)].
For instance, in 1999, patent application numbers reached 197, and even recorded 375 and 436 in 2000 and 2001, respectively. In particular, domestic applicants consisted of 74%, and foreign applicants consisted of 26% among the total number of applicants. Regarding primary sources, plant originated sources consisted of 70%, recording higher rate than animal originated sources (17%) and mineral originated sources (13%).

From the above trend, it can be inferred that medical studies for natural substance medicine focus on plant studies in Korea, since there are great volume of plants and are relatively easy to acquire.

It is expected that in 21 Century, the medical industry will change its main target from curing a disease to preventing a disease. From this view point, the natural substance medicines having two positive points, safe long-term administration and less side effects, will be the most popular kind of medicine in this 21 Century.


New time limit for entering into the Korean national phase of a PCT application

Under the revised Korean Patent Act, the time limit to submit a Korean translation for entering into the Korean national phase of a PCT application has been extended to 30 months from the priority date regardless of whether or not an international preliminary examination was demanded.

The new time limit is effective from March 12, 2003, and accordingly applies to a PCT application of which the priority date is on or after July 12, 2001. However, the new time limit does not apply to a PCT application of which the time limit for the national phase will expire on March 11, 2003.

Such revision in Korea is to reflect the PCT revision. For reference, according to the WIPO website, Korea has not adopted such new time limit. However, please note that the information has not been yet updated.

Madrid Protocol to Become Effective on April 10, 2003

Korea finally has become a member of the Madrid Protocol, the treaty that provides a centralized international system of registering trademarks. Under the Madrid Protocol, which is slated to become effective on April 10, 2003, a Korean applicant may file a single international application with the national office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office, designating the member countries in which registration is sought. A foreign applicant may file an international application designating Korea as well. The treaty provides a cost-effective solution to registering trademarks around the world because only a single filing fee is paid.

Changes in the Korean Patent System in 2003

In the year 2003, the Korean patent system will change.
The following are summaries of the matters having a direct connection with foreign clients in the Korean patent system which will change in the new year.

1. As part of reflecting the PCT revision, the deadline for entering into the Korean national phase of a PCT application is unified into 30 months from the priority date, regardless of whether or not the International Preliminary Examination Demand was filed (effective from March 12, 2003).

2. If some amount of the fees for registering a patent, utility model, design and trademark was not paid at the time of registration, the application was abandoned or its right was extinguished under the current system (before the revision). However, the revised system will give an opportunity to pay the unpaid amount even after the time of registration (effective from May 12, 2003).

3. Before the trial decision of the Korean Intellectual Property Tribunal (KIPT) is given, KIPT will notify the relevant party in the trial in advance of the time when the trial will be concluded. Thereby, the opportunity to fully state opinions and to submit materials will be provided to promote the submission of evidential materials (effective from January 2003).
4. In the trial proceedings, the technology briefing and interview with the judge will be frequently carried out to help the judge to easily understand the essence of the trial. Thereby, the trial will be carried out promptly and be fair (effective from January 2003).


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