Interview With New Korean IP Commissioner Sung Yunmo 02/10/2017 by Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors. Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) Commissioner Sung Yunmo took office a couple of months ago and is attending the annual World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly this week. In that context, he sat down with Intellectual Property Watch, and in a Q&A mutually prepared Q&A, he described some of the policies and plans for his term of office, collaboration with WIPO, international partnerships, a proposed WIPO office in Korea, and regional efforts toward global harmonisation. KIPO Commissioner Sung Yunmo makes the opening statement today at WIPO 1. As this is your first interview with an international media outlet since taking over as KIPO’s Commissioner, allow me to congratulate you on your new appointment. Could you tell us a little about your background and your new position? What sort of policies and projects do you plan to focus on during your term? In 1989, I started my public service at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and as I worked in the field of real economy, I began observing the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). Ever since, I have had particular interest in the intellectual property activities. Even during my time as Deputy Minister for the Economic Policy Coordination Office at the Office for Government Policy Coordination under the Prime Minister’s Office, I have often contemplated the importance of intellectual property policy for economic innovation, and now, at KIPO where the best experts in this field work together, I am very excited to be able to actualize many things that I have considered. However, at the same time, it is a big responsibility to bear in such an important period where great changes of the 4th Industrial Revolution are taking place. I will strive for the establishment of a virtuous cycle of IP where the value of new technologies are sufficiently acknowledged by providing strong and flexible protection, and innovation is expedited through vitalizing technology transfer and commercialization. Undoubtedly, I will endeavor to maintain KIPO’s core operation values of providing speedy processes of examination and trial and, also, continue to prove its quality, so that the creative ideas can bear fruit reinforced with high quality IP rights. In addition, KIPO will actively participate in the international intellectual property rights discussions, lead the change in international norms surrounding intellectual property rights. 2. You are currently here in Geneva to take part in the WIPO General Assembly. Could you share other ways in which you intend to collaborate with WIPO during your term as commissioner? Last year, the amount of PCT [Patent Cooperation Treaty] applications from Korea ranked 5th in the world with 15,560 applications. Considering that PCT fee income accounts for 75% of WIPO’s total income (about 295 million USD a year), Korea has an important role in WIPO operations, financially and in other ways. As an IP leading country, Korea will continue to cooperate with WIPO in forming international norms of assistance to developing countries and IP automation. KIPO is actively participating in major discussions at WIPO, and is advocating opinions gathered from relevant government agencies to create an international order that meets national interests. As a former recipient of foreign aid, Republic of Korea understands the needs of developing countries, and recognises the importance of IP for economic growth. Utilizing the Funds-in-Trust, the Republic of Korea has continued to develop exemplary projects of appropriate technologies and brand development support. In addition, we have opened an ePCT service for applicants in October, this year, as an example of deepening cooperation in the field of IP automation. 3. Throughout this Assembly, you have been scheduled to participate in bilateral discussions with the leaders of several different countries. What have been a few results from previous major bilateral discussions? What are KIPO’s plans to further strengthen its international partnerships? I can say that the international cooperation of KIPO focuses on helping global IP users obtain their rights quickly and conveniently. In this context, we are going to have bilateral meetings with other patent offices, as many as possible during the WIPO General Assembly. KIPO has reached a consensus with the USPTO to extend Collaborative Search Pilot (CSP) till 2020 and is planning to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the EPO, the EUIPO and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. We are also working to share our experiences in developing intellectual property system with other countries. Based on the past cooperation with UAE in the field of patent examination and IP automation, KIPO and UAE are seeking the possibility of a comprehensive consultation project to improve the IP system of UAE. We are also going to sign an MOU with Colombia designating KIPO as a PCT International Searching Authority (ISA) for Colombia so that they can utilize the quality examination services of KIPO. 4. Currently, many countries are in competition to attract a WIPO External Office (EO). Please tell us what you see as advantages if a WIPO EO is established in Korea. There are five WIPO External Offices operational in Brazil, China, Japan, Russia, and Singapore. The WIPO External Offices are responsible for promotions and consultations of international applications such as in the PCT, Madrid, and Hague systems, and providing technical support to grow the IPR capacity in developing countries. Korean government is making efforts to persuade member states to take the initiative to establish a WIPO External Office in Korea. If a WIPO External Office is established, we will expand services for Korean applicants and improve efficiency of WIPO cooperation projects. Currently, PCT, Madrid, and Hague applicants in Korea have limitations of receiving direct WIPO services due to time difference and language barriers trying to communicate with WIPO headquarters located in Geneva. However, once a WIPO External Office is established in Korea, our applicants can receive WIPO consulting services directly in Korean without restriction of proximity and time. In addition, a WIPO External Office will serve as a base to boost cooperation projects that Korea is carrying out jointly with WIPO, such as IP cooperation with developing countries global intellectual property rights education content development and dissemination projects. Therefore, we will contribute to the efficiency of development and cooperation projects by utilizing our experiences progressing into an IPR leading country. 5. In your inaugural address in July, you mentioned that you will strengthen IP5 cooperation. Please tell us what expectations and evaluation KIPO has in regards to the direction of future development and achievement of IP5 cooperation. Launched in 2007, the IP5 is a cooperative body of world’s biggest five patent offices that handle more than 80% of the global patent application. The IP was established in order to seek joint solutions for examination backlog and quality issues but has gradually expanded to include cooperation such as patent harmonization and dissemination of patent information to the public. In addition, I think that it is worth noting that the achievement of IP5 cooperation is not limited to among these five offices but the reach is global. For example, an IT system (OPD; One Portal Dossier) that was built to share examination information between the IP5 is linked with WIPO’s system (WIPO CASE), and currently, 23 additional IP Offices are using this information as well. Especially, in a situation where multilateral discussions of intellectual property rights are a bit slow, the comparatively rapid and definite results of IP5 cooperation make the importance of the IP5 even more prominent. Based on these achievements, the Heads of IP5 Offices met in Malta to adopt a new vision of IP5 cooperation in June 2017 which aims to create an efficient and user-friendly global patent environment. As a new initiative to enhance the efficiency of the IP5 project was also agreed at the meeting in Malta, IP5 Offices expect to deliver concrete and productive results and benefits to users more quickly. KIPO will continue to remain committed to cooperate with other IP5 Offices to improve world patent system as well as the development of IP5 cooperation itself. 6. KIPO supports both developing and least developed countries via its “IP Sharing Project.” Please tell us about the projects that use intellectual property rights to support developing countries that KIPO is carrying out currently. “Global IP-Sharing Project” is one of the major projects of KIPO for supporting developing countries. First, KIPO has been promoting appropriate technology development projects since 2010, and has developed customized solutions to improve the quality of life and income of respective developing countries. KIPO started in 2010 with developing sugarcane charcoal manufacturing technology for Chad, and now has come to develop a sewage treatment system and grease separator for Vietnam and Patchouli oil extractor for Indonesia in 2016. At the same time, we are contributing to improve the income of local residents through projects that develop brands for local specialty products of developing countries. Furthermore, by utilizing the WIPO Korea Fund-in-Trust, a total of 16 Appropriate Technology Competitions were held in Asia, Africa and Central and South America since 2011 in order to raise awareness of IP rights. In the field of global IP education, we work to reduce the IP divide between developed and developing countries and facilitate the spread of the Korean IP experience by distributing educational materials on intellectual property rights through animations and mobile content. 7. Last year, KIPO signed a contract with the UAE to export an IP automation system. Could you talk about what kind of activities KIPO plans to carry out in order to expand the spread of Korean IP services. KIPO has been exporting and distributing IP administrative services mainly in examination, IP automation and education since 2006, and has recently expanded its scope of services to include intellectual property rights consulting. We have made available PCT international search and patent reclassification. To the UAE, KIPO provided examiner secondment, where in 2016, we exported our IP automation system for the first time. KIPO also provides services such as IP training and consulting at no cost to developing countries to support capacity development, and launched IP automation systems in Azerbaijan and ARIPO (Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organization). KIPO will support IP infrastructure by carrying out projects that target developing countries by providing IP consulting and education also for free. In addition, while considering the financial capacities of each country, we will continue to export IP administrative services such as PCT international searches. 8. The world is busy with activities preparing for the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution. Could you tell us how Korea is using IP to secure competitiveness in response to the 4th Industrial Revolution. In order to take the lead in the 4th Industrial Revolution, it is necessary to protect new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data with secure and flexible protection. In the past five years in Korea, the number of patents registered as core technology of the 4th Industrial Revolution has increased by 12 times (421 in 2010 → 5,107 in 2015). If new technology can be protected securely and flexibly, it is possible to establish a virtuous cycle structure in which the technology is fully acknowledged, and technology trade and commercialization is stimulated for innovation. In order to thoroughly secure protection of intellectual property, for example, KIPO will increase damages compensation for patent and trade secret infringement. We will use the system as a means of preventing and enforcing invasive crime. In order for flexible protection of intellectual property, KIPO is also considering ways to enable remedies for acts of ‘unfair competition’, which occur in various business, trade relations, and competition. We are also considering ways to improve intellectual property laws and systems by identifying the latest policy issues such as the rights of creations belonging to Artificial Intelligence, the use of Big Data, and protection through a committee of experts. Technology preemption is also important by means of securing patents of core technologies. KIPO is pursuing efforts to direct R&D and patents securing strategies for core technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution through patent data analyses. 9. Although infringement of intellectual property rights across borders through online platforms is seen as rapidly increasing, it is difficult to effectively enforce infringement due to various limitations. What kind of efforts is KIPO making to address this problem? The distribution of counterfeit goods is spreading more rapidly online than offline due to the economic globalization and the development of e-commerce. According to an OECD report in 2013, imitation and counterfeit product trading around the world accounted for 2.5% of global trade, which is valued up to 461 billion USD. However, most of the online counterfeit goods distributors have remote servers in foreign countries and use burner phones and bank accounts under fraudulent identities. Also, even if the counterfeit goods distribution website becomes blocked, elements of infamous counterfeit sales websites continue to be used by subtly changing the domain name. Moreover, the rapidly increasing distribution through social networking sites (SNS) is more difficult to control than the open market. KIPO will enhance their expertise of online investigation, by increasing Special Judicial police officers, and by training techniques of online investigations and utilization of digital forensic equipment. KIPO is striving to crack down on habitual online distributors through cooperation between domestic and foreign investigative agencies such as INTERPOL, police, prosecutors, customs and provincial governments, and strengthen cooperation between online market operators and trademark owners. In addition, we will make efforts to cooperate locally and overseas with well-known open markets and endeavour to eradicate counterfeit goods of Korean products distributed abroad. Image Credits: KIPO Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "Interview With New Korean IP Commissioner Sung Yunmo" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.