Since December 8, 2020, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has been implementing a system which improves the requirements for requesting collective examination that enables companies to collectively obtain various intellectual property rights in the promising digital service field following the Digital New Deal Promotion. Under the collective examination, applications of different intellectual property rights, such as patent, utility model, trademark and design, are examined all at once. This would be a useful tool that enables companies to organize their intellectual property portfolios according to their project time frame.
Nevertheless, in the past, the requirements for the request of the collective examination were limited to “one product” and the visit to the KIPO was mandatory to file the request. Thus, the system was inconvenient and underutilized. For example, since the system was eligible for intellectual property rights relating to a “product,” it was not easy to utilize the system for intellectual property rights relating to a “service” such as a smart phone's app, other than the a component or device invention. Furthermore, if there were more than one product to be related, multiple requests should be submitted.
To address this issue, the KIPO expanded the requirements for the collective examination from “one product” to “one product group including service.” In this way, companies developing online platform services based on the digital convergence technology (such as artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things) may file a request for collective examination for all intellectual property rights relating to their services or products in bulk at once. Also, the KIPO has improved the filing procedures by allowing the applicants to explain in writing that their intellectual property rights are entitled to the collective examination without visiting the KIPO.
The improved collective examination system is expected to aid companies developing service business based on new ideas to easily and quickly secure various intellectual property rights and organize a strong intellectual property portfolio.