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S. Korea to closely monitor patent right abuse in software sector

 South Korea will intensify its monitoring of patent right abuse in the software sector in order to prevent reckless lawsuits from hampering technology development in one of the fast-growing markets, the head of the country's antitrust watchdog said.

   "We will closely monitor unfair business activities, including patent right abuse, which is regarded as a stumbling block to developing technologies in the software sector. We will consider related measures," Fair Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Noh Dae-lae said during a meeting with reporters on Thursday. The remarks were embargoed until Sunday.

   He noted that the number of cases where South Korean tech companies are the target of lawsuits for alleged patent right infringement has been increasing in recent years.

   In a related move, Noh said that the watchdog will consider regulating non-practicing enterprises (NPEs) whose main purpose is to make profits through patent-related lawsuits without engaging in any technology development or manufacturing activities.

   Explaining the FTC's policy direction for next year, he said that the watchdog will work hard to protect Korean companies from any arbitrary and discriminatory law enforcement by foreign competition authorities.

   "To that end, we will make efforts to include a competition chapter in free trade agreements to ensure fair and transparent law enforcement, and guarantee nondiscrimination and equal defending rights for both domestic and foreign companies," he said. (Yonhap News)