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Korea, UAE cooperate on IPR protection

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Published : 2014-02-07 20:20
Updated : 2014-02-07 20:20

Korea Intellectual Property Office Commissioner Kim Young-min (left) and UAE Vice Economy Minister Abdul Aziz speak during a news conference after signing a memorandum of understanding on a state business alliance in Seoul on Friday. (KIPO)

The Korea Intellectual Property Office and United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy signed a memorandum of understanding regarding intellectual property right protection during a high-level meeting in Seoul on Friday.

Since 1980 Korea and the UAE have maintained a partnership in various fields like nuclear energy, resource development and construction, but this recent MOU signing means the two countries’ economic cooperation has been expanded to include intangible resources.

The MOU has two main components ― the dispatch of the KIPO’s patent examiners to Abu Dhabi, where they will deliberate on the patent applications received by the UAE Ministry of Economy, and the patents that the UAE will send to the KIPO for examination in Korea.

The UAE’s economy is developing rapidly along with its number of patent applications as the country anticipates intellectual property will become its core resource in the post-oil era.

“The UAE is transitioning into a knowledge-based economy and, as such, the number of patents has been increasing,” said UAE Vice Economy Minister Abdul Aziz.

However, the UAE currently does not administer a separate intellectual property office but instead carries out its patent-related operations at its Ministry of Economy. It also maintains relationships with IPOs from other countries, such as Austria, in order to alleviate some of its backlog of patent applications.

“The UAE currently receives about 1,500 patents every year but this number continues to increase,” said the vice minister.

“There are also about 3,000 cases backlogged and although the Austrian IPO has been helping, we felt we needed a new partner,” he added.

It follows that Korea’s advanced system and infrastructure for patent administration are world-class and are expected to play a significant role in improving not only UAE intellectual-property protection, but also future economic cooperation between the UAE and Korea.

“We have traveled and explored the IPOs of many countries and concluded that the Korean system is one of the best,” said the vice minister. “It meets our needs well and serves a mutual interest.”

“There are 340 patent examiners in KIPO who have a doctorate or higher, which is a very impressive number,” he added.

In the long run, the KIPO hopes to assist the UAE in establishing a proficient IPO of its own.

Moreover, this is the first time Korean patent examiners will serve as proxies for examining patents pertaining to a foreign nation, according to the KIPO.

“We have currently agreed on 1,000 patents per year to be examined in Korea, but we’d be happy to try to increase this number in the future if things go smoothly in the next one or two years. At that point, we might also reassess our cooperation with other IPOs, but for the time being we have lots of backlog and require all the help that we can get,” the vice minister said.

By Kim Joo-hyun (jhk@heraldcorp.com)

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