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Publication Date : 08-08-2013
The number of global patent disputes involving Korean companies has soared amid intensifying trade protectionism around the world, a report suggested on Wednesday.
The number of international patent lawsuits between Korean companies and foreign firms skyrocketed to 210 in the first half of this year, a 130.8 per cent rise from the same period last year, according to combined data from the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the Korea Intellectual Property Protection Association. The data was based on international patent litigations registered to local courts, the KIPO added.
International patent lawsuits involving Korean companies have been on the rise since 2009, aside from a dip in 2012.
“The surge of international patent litigations in the first half of this year is mainly because of increased patent infringement lawsuits against Korean companies brought on by overseas nonpracticing entities, better known as patent trolls,” a KIPO official said.
The IT and electronics sectors, both of which are the nation’s key export industries, were the most vulnerable to international intellectual property disputes. About 78 per cent of the total international patent litigations in the first half of this year came from these two industries, the KIPO said.
The KIPO survey also showed smaller technology companies were also not safe when it came to patent litigations.
Out of 210 international patent litigations in the January-June period this year, 42 cases involved small and mid-sized Korean tech firms.
“As seen in the ongoing Samsung-Apple patent war, an international legal dispute tends to deal a blow to the companies involved and their market,” said Yoon Young-soo, a researcher at Samsung Economic Research Institute.
“Domestic information and technology companies, big or small, which tap into overseas markets, need to take the issue seriously and prepare the proper measures to cope with the matter,” he said.