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[Herald Interview] Collaboration helps safeguard innovation: legal expert

EU senior lawyer calls for making IP rights more accessible for SMEs

Luca Rampini, a senior lawyer of the EU’s largest intellectual property agency believes the Korean patent authority’s latest efforts to collaborate with other countries will bring better protection for innovative ideas and inventions created by small and medium-sized businesses here.

“Intellectual property is protecting both innovation and creativity. And here in Korea, you know all about both those things,” Rampini, a lawyer with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market under the European Union, told The Korea Herald on Tuesday.

Rampini visited Korea for the first time to deliver a keynote speech at the 2014 Korea-EU Intellectual Property Rights Conference on Trademarks and Industrial Designs, cohosted by the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, the Korean Intellectual Property Office and Rampini’s office. 
Luca Rampini, a senior lawyer at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market. (ECCK)
Luca Rampini, a senior lawyer at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market. (ECCK)

More than 150 IP experts gathered to discuss and present on the current status of legislation, measures to best protect intellectual property, and recent developments in the areas of trademarks and industrial design.

Korea, Rampini noted, was waking up to the importance of providing adequate protection for content and ideas as more Korean services and goods are being shipped around the world.

“The great Korean Wave of cultural exports ― from TV dramas to films to K-pop ― has spread around the world. Korean technology and products are available in every corner of the globe,” he said.

For better harmony and mutual benefits for trademark users, the local IP office and the EU’s harmonization office worked together within the framework of the Trade Mark Five group comprised of the world’s five largest trademark offices, which are responsible for over half the trademarks issued all over the world ― Korea, the EU, China, Japan and the United Sates. The official TM5 website was launched in May.

“This kind of collaboration is more necessary than ever, because our world is now more globalized,” Rampini said.

The IPR expert said SMEs were an important focus for his office, and that Korean SMEs could benefit from the online trademark, design search and classification tools that KIPO has been collaborating on by adding data.

“Just as President Park Geun-hye is putting a strong emphasis on the creative economy, innovation and creativity are also key to European growth, and SMEs are an important driver of that innovation,” he said.

The office’s flagship online trademark search tool, TMview, which has a database of over 24.5 million trademarks, was available for these firms for free, he said. TMview is constantly growing, he added, as 36 participating IP offices including Korea’s are helping to increase the database.

“Korean SMEs looking to search the market and do business research in any one of the 36 participating countries can do so with great ease and in their own language.”

The EU is a major trade partner for Korea, and the number of Korean patent applications filed in Europe has increased an average of 12.8 percent a year over the past 10 years, according to the European Patent Office.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)
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