DAEJEON, Apr. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea has cut short the patent application process for a number of technologies that are part of the so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) launched a fast track today for patent applications for a select few technologies including 3D printing, self-driving, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things, allowing companies to obtain a patent in fewer than six months.
The fast track program is available for ongoing technology development projects and those by startups, as well as ones for which the KIPO has reached agreement with international intellectual property offices.
The move comes as the government hopes to set South Korean startups on the path to faster patent grants amid growing technological competition.
The KIPO set out the new category of patent in a first in the world last year in a direct response to the rapidly growing Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Previously, it took companies an average of 18 months to apply for and obtain a patent, but the new program has cut the process down by two thirds, giving a boost to South Korean companies, universities, and research institutions in emerging technologies including IoT and artificial intelligence.
Given the rapidly changing nature of the technology that is part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, South Korean patent authorities believe a shorter application process could strengthen the competitiveness of the South Korean tech industry on the international stage.
Other countries have taken similar steps. Japan launched an assessment team dedicated to technology patents last year, and set out new standards for software development this year, while China also ramped up efforts to protect software patents last year.
“The additional patents subject to examination this year are a continuation of our new Fourth Industrial Revolution policy that began last year, including the new category of patents,” said Cheon Se-chang, a senior official at the KIPO.
“We hope to make South Korea’s emerging technologies globally competitive by launching a new examination board, hiring more examiners, and introducing a three-member examination panel for the technology convergence and integration field,” Cheon added.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)