KIPO sets up a special department to prevent the leakage and infringement of key technologies

KIPO sets up a special department to prevent the leakage and infringement of key technologies, KIPO sets up a special department, Technology & Design Police Division, IP Investigation Division, KIPO

KIPO sets up a special department to prevent the leakage and infringement of key technologies

Due to the increasing number of infringement activities in South Korea overall and the need to develop the IP enforcement mechanism in the country, KIPO Commissioner Kim Yong-Rae has announced the establishment of a separate SJP whose main purpose is to prevent the leakage and the infringement of key technologies that are core to national industrial competitiveness.

Since the beginning, KIPO has consistently ranked as one of the highest offices in Asia for its approach to innovation. Specifically, this IP Office is known throughout the entire world to be one of the most effective IP Office with its digital tools and forward-thinking approach to public awareness of trademarks.

Accordingly, to maintain and elevate that reputation, KIPO has just conducted a massive restructuring, expanding the former IP Investigation Division. With this new change, the Office will have the time and resources to focus on tackling IP infringements in specific areas. 

Precisely:

  • The Trademark Police Division will continue with trademark investigations;
  • The Unfair Competition Investigation Division will handle administrative investigations; and 
  • The newly separate Technology & Design Police Division will conduct investigations related to technologies and designs.

The previous IP Investigation Division consisted of 47 personnel who investigated illegal activities related to trademarks, patents, unfair competition, etc. Upon restructuring, an additional 11 officers will be added to the department to focus on the investigations regarding technology, making the total number of officers in the IP Investigation Department become 58.

Regarding the above 3 divisions, currently, there are now 22 people in the Technology & Design Police Division, 29 people in the Trademark Police Division, and 7 people in the Unfair Competition Investigation Division.

Expert opinions

Yung Joon Kwon, managing partner at Kwon & Kim Patent & Trademark Attorneys in Seoul stated about the structure of the IP Office in South Korea: “The copyright system is run by another governmental department called Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which is beyond KIPO’s reach – that explains why there’s no Copyright Division. The KIPO special police division was established in September 2010, and they were authorized originally to investigate and enforce for trademark infringement only, which was extended in December 2017 to include unfair competition activities stipulated in unfair competition prevention law, and again extended in March 2019 to cover patents, trade secrets, and designs as of now.”

Stating about the newly add personnel to the IP Investigation Department and the newly established Technology & Design Police, Hyeon Gil Ryoo, a partner at Lee & Ko in Seoul said: “Those numbers still aren’t sufficient, though! There has been a demand for more people because of a large number of trade secret and design infringement cases being filed at KIPO. While the Divisions have been hiring more people, it has not been enough to meet the demand because of the sharply increasing number of cases. For example, while the number of trade secret and design infringement cases filed at KIPO increased by 60 percent from 126 cases in 2019 to 199 cases in 2020, the number of Tech Police increased from 18 in 2020 to only 22 people in 2021.” 

Hyeon Gil Ryoo further added: “Because of such personnel shortage, patent, trade secret and design infringement cases at KIPO are taking longer to be processed, with the time taken from case filing to commencement of investigation extended from 90 to 150 days.”

*** Other Articles***

– You could visit here to see the Procedure of Trademark in South Korea.

– You can also check the Required documents of filing trademark in South Korea.

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