Top IP offices forge patent cooperation system in ‘Industry 4.0’ era

By Bae Hyunjung

IP5 heads adopt joint declaration in Incheon under KIPO chairmanship

  • Published : Jun 13, 2019 - 15:39
  • Updated : Jun 13, 2019 - 15:47

INCHEON -- The world’s top five intellectual property offices have agreed on cooperation to improve the global patent system in step with technological changes brought by the “fourth industrial revolution,” the Korean Intellectual Property Office said Thursday.

The annual gathering of IP5, which kicked off Tuesday in Songdo, Incheon, under KIPO’s chairmanship, came to an end Thursday after three days of deputy- and head-level conferences, business roundtables and individual bilateral meetings.

The consultative body, initiated in 2007, has been deemed one of the most influential organizations in intellectual property system development and related policies. The five members -- the United States, Japan, European Union, China and Korea -- together accounted for over 85 percent of patent applications worldwide as of 2017, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.

On the final day of this year’s event, the five IP office chiefs adopted a joint declaration vowing shared efforts to respond to new technology and the changing industrial environment.

They also confirmed that the International Patent Classification -- a hierarchical patent classification system used globally -- had recently reflected the IP5’s revised version of classification in the sector of “fourth industrial revolution” technology.

IP5 office chiefs pose for photos in Songdo, Incheon, Thursday, after signing a joint declaration to improve the global patent system. From left: European Patent Office President Antonio Campinos, Japan Patent Office Commissioner Munakata Naoko, Korean Intellectual Property Office Commissioner Park Won-joo, China National Intellectual Property Administration Commissioner Shen Changyu and United States Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu. (KIPO)

As a pragmatic follow-up action, they agreed to inaugurate an exclusive task force of various patent experts and information technology specialists that will work on harmonizing the five offices’ patent evaluation standards on artificial intelligence inventions for the next two years.

Attending the declaration meeting were KIPO Commissioner Park Won-joo, European Patent Office President Antonio Campinos, Japan Patent Office Commissioner Munakata Naoko, China National Intellectual Property Administration Commissioner Shen Changyu, United States Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu and WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

“A tangible outcome of this year’s IP5 heads meeting is that we were able to simplify the prior technology data submission process, which will lighten the load for those applying for US patents in the future,” KIPO said in a release.

A new administrative model that allows IP offices to exchange the required technology data via a digital process was drafted jointly by KIPO and USPTO, submitted to the IP5 roundtable and approved by the members this year.

“The outcomes of this year’s heads meeting prove that the IP5 have been successfully responding to the challenges of the fast-changing technological environment and that South Korea is playing a leading role in the global patent system development,” said KIPO chief Park.

With an average of 210,000 patent applications per year, Asia’s fourth-largest economy is currently ranked fourth in terms of patent applications.

The country also is tops in terms of patent applications relative to its gross domestic product and population, reflecting its active involvement in the creation of intangible knowledge-based assets.

“As a member state of IP5, as well as TradeMark5 and Industrial Design 5, Korea is deemed a powerful nation in the field of IP,” KIPO said in a release.

“This is equivalent to the status of permanent member states in the United Nations Security Council.”

By Bae Hyun-jung and Lee Kwon-hyoung