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Korea’s top IP office to support materials sector via big data

The Korean Intellectual Property Office said Thursday it plans to help boost competitiveness of the local materials, parts and equipment sectors and reduce their reliance on foreign technologies through its system of IP big data.

According to the nation’s top IP office, its plan involves four goals: cut back foreign dependency of materials, parts and equipment-related technology; innovate South Korea’s research and development system to a more IP-centered one; bolster IP competitiveness of small and medium-sized firms; and build an IP infrastructure for a fair economy.

As the reason behind its decision, KIPO cited the ongoing global issues surrounding technological hegemony among key economies, which have fueled countries’ fight for IP rights. It stressed that swift IP acquisition will determine the fate of global technology and industry and called for a nationwide IP strategy.

It also expressed concerns about South Korea’s trade, weighed down by Japan’s decision in July to impose export restrictions on key materials needed for production of chips and displays and intensifying competition among global economies -- including the US and China -- to clinch exclusive rights of future technologies. 

KIPO Commissioner Park Won-joo visits equipment firm Top Engineering’s headquarters in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday. (KIPO)
KIPO Commissioner Park Won-joo visits equipment firm Top Engineering’s headquarters in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday. (KIPO)

To help manufacturers reduce foreign reliance, KIPO will provide its IP big data to more than 100 types of materials, parts and equipment research and development. This will also help SMEs to develop their own technologies, it added.

IP big data consists of a file of global R&D and market trends compiled by companies and think tanks around the world. Assessing the data will increase time efficiency and the success rate for local firms, as it could provide crucial information that could help them avoid unnecessary IP competition with rivals.

It will also aid companies in diversifying supply lines by providing alternatives to key materials and support mergers and acquisitions or means of technology transfers for products that have been deemed difficult for local production.

For its second goal of innovating the nation’s R&D system, KIPO said it will help companies find innovative technology through IP big data, which could help them lead the new market.

It plans to provide big data results of IP in key industries, including bio health and secondary batteries, to government agencies and private R&D firms.

To bolster local SMEs’ IP competitiveness, KIPO plans to expand the state budget for IP-backed financing from 700 billion won ($598 million) in 2019 to 2 trillion won by 2022, to regularize SME’s IP-backed lending and investment through such a system.

It will revamp policies that could disrupt the growth of IP-backed financing with several measures including allowing venture capital funds to own IP.
KIPO Commissioner Park Won-joo attends a press briefing Thursday. (KIPO)
KIPO Commissioner Park Won-joo attends a press briefing Thursday. (KIPO)

KIPO aims to foster firms by invigorating startups and helping new businesses acquire overseas IP. Through collaboration with patent examiners and experts, the IP office will provide young businesses with consulting and investment opportunities.

To increase public participation in IP investment, it plans to launch funds that could help businesses and individuals acquire overseas patents.

In a bid to establish a fair economic order, KIPO will make efforts to prevent technology theft and increase IP protection of innovative businesses, which will help foster creative businesses and technologies. It will also impose stricter punishments or larger fines regarding IP theft.

To build up IP infrastructure that can accelerate development of new technologies, KIPO will build a legal system for settling IP-related disputes and create new job opportunities in the legal field.

“As nations with developed IP systems, such as the US and the UK, have led the past three industrial revolutions, a country that will become a leader in new technologies including artificial intelligence and big data will lead the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ and global technology,” KIPO Commissioner Park Won-joo said.

“KIPO will do its best to help foster South Korea into a leading country of technology in the global market based on IP,” he added. 

By Jung Min-kyung and Lee Kwon-hyung  ( (