LG opens 29,000 patents…raising USD 150 million venture fund

2015_02_LG innovation centerTo create the creative economy ecosystem in Chungcheongbuk-do, LG will open 29,000 patents and raise a venture fund to the tune of KRW150 billion. Also, LG affiliates, including LG Chem, will invest KRW1,600 billion over a 3-year period to invigorate the local creative economy.

The LG Group announced this plan at the launching ceremony for the Chungcheongbuk-do Creative Economy Innovation Center held at the Chungcheongbuk-do Knowledge Industry Promotion Agency in Ochang, Chungcheongbuk-do on February 4. President Park Geun-hye, Lee Si-jong governor of Chungcheongbuk-do, Koo Bon-moo chairman of LG and the CEOs of over 140 local small and medium-sized venture firms were present at this ceremony.

LG will install the ‘IP Support Zone’ which shares patents with local small and medium-sized venture firms. Here about 29,000 patents, including the 27,000 patents owned by LG and the 1,600 patents of 16 government-funded research institutions, will be opened for free or at minimal costs. Among them, 3,058 patents will be transferred to small and medium-sized venture firms free of charge. The patent areas include bio, beauty and energy, earmarked for the Chungcheongbuk-do area, as well as electronics, chemistry and communication.

For full article, see Korea IT News.

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Korea ranked no. 4 in 2013 world patent filing number

2012_09_OLED_displayThe total number of patents applied throughout the world last year was 2.57 milion, up 9 percent from the previous year. The countries with the highest number of patent applications were China, the United States, Japan, Korea, and the EU. The World Intellectual Property Organization said on December 16 in its “World Intellectual Property Indicators 2014” that China accounted for 32.1 percent, or 825,136 cases, of all patents applied in the world. It was then followed by the United States with 22.3 percent (571,612), Japan (12.7%, 328,436), Korea (7.9%, 204,589), and the EU (5.7%, 147,987).

The patent organization added that the number of trademarks, industrial designs, and plant varieties increased 6.4 percent, 2.5 percent, and 6.3 percent, respectively from the previous year. The growth of non-patent IP filings rose in countries like China, the United States, and Korea but decreased in Japan and the EU.

As for the number of IP filings for each national patent office, China (26.4%), Australia (12.7%), and Korea (8.3%) saw their numbers soar for the year while other offices in countries like Japan (-4.2%), Italy (-1.1%), Spain (-6.6%), Britain (-1.3%) experienced their IP filing numbers dwindle.

For full article, see The Korea Economic Daily.

Samsung and Google agree on patent peace accord

2014_01_samsung_appleSamsung Electronics has signed a 10-year peace treaty with Google that will prevent the two companies from waging a patent war against one another, a move the Korean tech firm believes will help further isolate arch rival Apple. Samsung said yesterday it signed a patent cross-license agreement that covers “a broad range of technologies and business areas” with Google. The “mutually beneficial agreement” covers not only existing patents but also new patents to be filed by 2023, Samsung said.

“We’re pleased to enter into a cross-license with our partner, Samsung,” said Allen Lo, deputy general counsel for patents at Google, in a statement.  Samsung said the deal paves “the way for deeper collaboration on the research and development of current and future products and technologies.”

Samsung declined to detail how many of the two companies’ patents will be subject to the cross-license deal, saying that it is confidential. But a significant portion of the patents held by Samsung and Google are believed to be included. Samsung holds about 100,000 patents, while Google owns around 50,000. “We can’t say everything, but it is wide ranging and comprehensive,” said a Samsung Electronics official.

The deal, analysts say, will help the two companies improve on each other’s weak points: software in the case of Samsung and hardware for Google. But Samsung is also expected to benefit from some of the hardware technologies that Google has worked on in recent years, such as robotics and wearable devices.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Korea’s high-tech miracle comes of age

2013_11_LTE-patentsIn 1981, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, then a little-known 4-year-old publicly funded think tank, won a 24 billion won ($22.6 million) government project to develop a telephone transmitting and receiving system called time-division exchange (TDX). Most state initiatives at the time – except those to augment the defense against North Korea – were less than 1 billion won, so the institute researchers in charge of the pricey project had to sign a resolution.

“We will do our best to develop TDX, and if we fail, we will brace for any punishment,” read the document, still kept at the Daejeon-based institute. Partly inspired by ambition to succeed, but possibly driven by fear under the military regime of President Chun Doo Hwan, the efforts bore fruit, making Korea the 10th country to develop the system.

“Few believed a nation that lacked experience with large R&D projects could succeed in developing a technology possessed by only a handful of advanced countries,” says Chong Kil-ho, director of ETRI, speaking of the system that allowed calls to be made simultaneously. “We got a lot of confidence from it.”

Building on that confidence, the institute went on to develop several other state-of-the-art technologies, including code division multiple access, which later became a standard of global wireless telecommunication. The institute was the first in the world to develop it and received 350 billion won in royalties from Qualcomm over several years.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Korea ranks third in patents on nano-technology

2013_07_researchSouth Korea ranked third in the number of disclosed patents in the US last year regarding the nano- technology following the US and Japan, according to government publication Wednesday.

Korea Nano Technology Annual published by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning showed Korea took third place in terms of the number of nano-related papers in the Science Citation Index journals following China and the US.

As of 2010, Korea’s competitiveness in the nano-technology ranked fourth behind the US, Japan and Germany, according to market research agency Lux Research.

For full article, see Maeil Business.

Unmanned vehicle patents surged

The feasibility of getting unmanned vehicles on the road, which is often seen in science-fiction movies, is ever increasing thanks to the rapid development of relevant technologies.  According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) on July 2, 144 patent applications were made on technologies related with an unmanned autonomous driving vehicle for the last ten years from 2003 to 2012.

There were only two to ten patents applied for from 2003 to 2007. The number has, however, surged to 20 or more per annum since 2008. Hyundai-Kia Motor Group topped in the number of patent applications, accounting for 15% of the total, followed by Mando and ETRI (8% respectively) and KAIST (6%). Looking at the technologies, 24% of the patent applications were on image sensors, followed by artificial intelligence technologies (18%) and driving controls (11%). And other technologies related to map information, GPS utilization, road facilities and communications with other vehicles are being developed as well.

For full article, see Korea IT Times.

ETRI tops US patent scorecard for 2 years in a row

According to the April issue of intellectual property magazine IP Today, ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research institutions) has ranked first in ipIQ’s 2012 Innovation Anchor Scorecard, which measures patent activities by prestigious research institutions, universities, and governments around the world. ETRI also came out on top in ipIQ’s 2009 and 2010 Government Agency Patent Scorecards that evaluated about 40 government agencies’ patenting efforts. In 2011, ETRI also topped the list of ipIQ’s Innovation Anchor Scorecard.

Along with the 2012 Innovation Anchor Scorecard, the Innovation Cycle Time was also published to show the technological change and progress of the institution. ETRI scored 466.79 (up 28% from its 2011 score) in Technology Strength  with an Innovation Cycle Time of 6.8 years (down 0.7 year from 2011). “ETRI ranks above numerous world-renowned research institutes like Taiwan’s ITRI (6th), Germany’s Fraunhofer (9th) and the US’s SRI and Battelle,” said ETRI President Kim Heung-nam. The No.2 spot was taken by MIT, followed by the University of California (UC) and Stanford University.

On the domestic front, KAIST, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Seoul National University and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) have joined the 100 list.

Source: Korea IT Times.

China snaps at heels of S. Korea in science, technology: think tank

Chinese products have been shedding their image of being cheaply made with poor technology. China has already outpaced South Korea in terms of science and technology, which determine the overall quality of products manufactured in a nation, according to an analysis by a local think tank.

“China has rapidly gained scientific technological competitiveness enough to overwhelm Korea in absolute terms,” said a researcher at Hyundai Research Institute (HRI) in the report released Sunday. China’s investment in research and development (R&D) totaled $104.3 billion in 2010, triple that of Korea ($38.0 billion). China’s investment in R&D has soared 24 percent on average per year, a pace three times faster than that of Korea.

China submitted 390,000 patent applications, twice 170,000 applications of Korea, and academic papers listed on the Science Citation Index (SCI) numbered 140,000 articles, four times 40,000 of Korea. China had a total of 1.21 million researchers, fivefold 260,000 of Korea.

For full article see Maeil Business.

Royalty payments near $8b

2013_01_royalty paymentsKorea spent about $7.7 billion on royalty payments, including the usage of intellectual property rights, to foreign firms for the first 11 months of 2012, data from the Bank of Korea and Idea Bridge Asset Management showed Wednesday.

The payments posted a 5.5 percent growth from the previous year, according to the central bank. But royalties paid to local information technology firms remained at $3.24 billion during that period, bringing the overall balance to a deficit of $4.45 billion, according to data.

Citing the growing burden on royalty expenses, BOK economists said that Korean tech firms ― which engaged in a series of legal litigations regarding intellectual property rights ― and other business entities need to make stronger effort to create their original technologies.

For full article see Korea Herald.