Technical Cooperation with Leading Offices
• Background / Outline
The global trend of the intellectual property information industry is the increasing affiliation of countries in blocs by group and region, so as to foster mutual cooperation and reduce redundant effort. The developed countries transformed from the Triway (i.e., theUSPTO, JPO, EPO) system to the IP5 (the USPTO, JPO, EPO, KIPO, and SIPO) system and are focusing on the installation of infrastructure to facilitate examination service cooperation, particularly by the sharing of information technology. Countries such as Canada, England, and Australia established the Vancouver Group and are concentrating on building a basis for sharing examination results. Asian developing countries are also constructing a cooperative system through the ASEAN patent office and are focusing on expanding IT infrastructure and establishing common education courses in order to strengthen IP cooperation.
In recognition of such a global development trend in the IP information industry and to take further initiatives in global patent information, we must strengthen the cooperative information system among major countries. As the IP5 actually leads information-oriented development, we need to pioneer information-oriented subjects and present diverse alternatives, enhance its global cooperative partnership status by pursuing various substantial cooperative initiatives in line with the global IP community groups, and ensure that regions and groups are supported by KIPO while escaping from the trend of international bloc formation.
• Main Contents / Results
(1) Strengthening of IP5 Cooperation
The growing backlog of pending applications due to the rapid increase of international filings comes to the forefront as a global issue. To address this challenge, the necessity for cooperation among the major offices becomes clearer each day. Therefore, the IP5 agreed to undertake 10 foundation projects to mutually foster cooperative examination services at the IP5 Heads Meeting held in October 2008. The specific execution method was discussed through information-oriented task force team meetings held from 2009 onward.
The aforementioned 10 foundation projects include mutual machine translation initiated by KIPO and five information-oriented projects initiated by other patent offices (common approach to sharing and documenting search strategies, common search and examination support tools, common documentation database, etc.). KIPO has assertively suggested projects and collected opinions regarding the subjects initiated by KIPO, executed information-related projects to strengthen the IP5 system, and also presented its opinion regarding the subjects initiated by other countries. Also, KIPO has developed a project to improve the Korean-to-English translation quality of the Korean Patent Information Online Network (K-PION) in order to be integrated into the IP5 framework.
In the meantime, it has been five years since the IP5 cooperation framework was initiated. Some of the above-mentioned 10 foundation projects have been completed while others have been suspended due to technical or political issues. This has necessarily led to the discussion on the realignment of all those foundation projects.
IP5 Offices have come to a consensus that those foundation projects need to be fundamentally changed beyond a simple realignment. To this end, the IP5 has explored a new task called "Global Dossier (GD)" which can embrace the existing foundation projects from the harmonized perspective of IP systems.
In short, it is expected that GD will allow users to access examination information of each office without language barriers and file their applications to any office they wish, in an easier and more convenient way.
However, GD is still in an early stage. In January 2013, representatives and users from each office had a task force meeting in The Hague and they agreed to collect ideas on users' needs and functions for GD by the middle of this year.
In this regard, KIPO proposed a plan for establishing GD efficiently at the IP5 Heads Meeting held in June 2012 and has been making efforts to lead the discussion by managing its task force comprising internal and external experts as well as users-to-be.
(2) Technical cooperation with China and Japan
The JPO, SIPO, and KIPO exchanged information on their IT-related status and future plan at the 10th Meeting of JEGA held in October 2012 in China. In addition, they agreed to continue strengthening their ties for mutual development under the IP5 cooperation framework. For more efficient exchange of statistical information, the three offices have refined the list of data to be exchanged and discussed how to facilitate the use of the related homepage and to manage it efficiently.
By enhancing cooperation with the JPO and SIPO in the IT area, KIPO expects to look after common interests and extend its role in IP5 cooperation. These efforts are meaningful in having established a fundamental framework for more practical collaboration within the East Asian region in our globalized IP era.
(3) Technical cooperation with Europe
Since the EPO and KIPO concluded an MOU on comprehensive cooperation in June 2005, they have continuously cooperated in the IT area by establishing a work plan for the fulfillment of the MOU on an annual basis.
In recent years, along with the recognition that IT issues are key to increasing their mutual benefits and strengthening their ties, they formed many work plans for IT projects. In fact, the two offices agreed to dispatch IT experts and let them to benchmark throughout their IT systems including machine translation, and data processing. Accordingly, two staff members from KIPO were dispatched to the EPO Hague office during November 2012 and the EPO is to dispatch its IT experts to KIPO in 2013.
Meanwhile, in December 2012, the EPO and KIPO signed an MOU on data exchange in order to allow the use of their exchanged data in the private sector, further promoting the IP information service market. For applicants' convenience, they have been closely cooperating so that the applicant could be exempt from the obligation to submit the prior art search result of the first-filed applications under the EPC rule, when an applicant files an application first to KIPO and subsequently to the EPO.