South Korea’s patent protection agency is seeking to sharpen the nation’s industrial edge by overhauling intellectual property policies amid the rapid digital transformation brought on by the COVID-19 era.
Artificial intelligence and data have emerged as essential means of generating intellectual property, but uncertainties surrounding related laws and a lack of institutional support are hindering the use of such technologies.
The acceleration of the transition to a digital economy is shedding light on new kinds of digital intellectual property that need to be protected, such as AI creations, data, hologram trademarks and video designs.
To address the pressing issues, the Korean Intellectual Property Office has drawn up strategies to create, use and protect intellectual property involving artificial intelligence and data.
KIPO Commissioner Kim Yong-rae said intellectual property would become the key path to dominance in digital markets.
“We will innovate intellectual property to make our economy more competitive in the digital industry, including AI and data, to lead the digital era,” he said.
KIPO will start to improve intellectual property laws and systems to cope with the digital transformation, he said.
This year it will begin discussions with related ministries to build a framework for the institutionalization of policies to protect rights to AI-generated content and to revitalize its creation and distribution. In 2022, the office plans to consult with the World Intellectual Property Organization about whether the policy proposals meet global standards, and then push for legislation.
Other tasks -- such as those related to data, hologram trademarks and video design -- will go through the legislative process, the office said.
The office will push for regulations to prevent the unauthorized use and acquisition of data, and to expand protection for new types of digital trademarks and video designs used online.
Measures will be drawn up to prevent the infringement of intellectual property rights involving digital transmission and virtual reality and to avert damage caused by online trade in counterfeit goods.
To this end, the government will seek to revise the Trademark Act, the Anti-Competition Act, the Copyright Act, the Patent Act, the Design Protection Act and the Invention Promotion Act, the office added.
KIPO will also build data infrastructure consisting of patents, trademarks, design, research and manufacturing data for companies and individuals wanting to access the knowledge contained in the intellectual property system.
The infrastructure will be designed to strengthen the competitiveness of industries by allowing them to use the results of patent big data analysis in their value chains for purposes such as strategy establishment, product manufacturing, distribution and sales.
In addition, it will also seek to accelerate data sharing within the research and industrial communities by upgrading the national research data platform and building an AI-based manufacturing platform.
To help promising small and medium-sized venture companies create core and original patents in the fields of AI and other digital industries, KIPO said it would provide extensive support.
The support program helps firms to set up patent strategies and secure intellectual property rights, as well as offering technical assistance.
By designating three specialized universities as intellectual property-oriented universities, it will strengthen the country’s professional workforce in the field of intellectual property.
For the financial sector, KIPO will encourage more banks to accept patents and trademarks as collateral for loans to make financing more available to small businesses, officials said.
It also plans to recommend that internet and regional banks join the initiative this year. Eight lenders, mainly state-run and major commercial banks, decided to take part in 2020.
KIPO will seek to take the lead in the formation of new international norms in the digital era, such as digital copyright and preventing trade secrets from being seized through data networks.
This year it will provide administrative support to Uzbekistan and Vietnam to set up intellectual property systems there and will expand exports of intellectual property-screening services to Middle Eastern countries such as Kuwait and Bahrain.
In addition, it will strengthen the operation of the intellectual property rights dispute response center and join hands with Interpol and the National Police Agency to crack down on counterfeit products.
By Park Ga-young & Lee Kwon-hyung (email@example.com