Monthly Archives: December 2006

Non-traditional Trademarks to be protected in Korea

Korean Intellectual Property Office proposed a bill amending the Trademark Act of Korea. If the bill passes the National Assembly, 3 new types of non-traditional trademarks will be protected.

(1) a color mark – a mark that is purely made of a color;

(2) a hologram; and

(3) a motion mark.

Korean Trademark Act has been protecting 3-dimensional marks. About 10 three-dimensional marks are registered with the KIPO.

But still after the passage of the bill, Korean Trademark Act won’t be protection non-visual marks, such as scent marks.

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Specialized Portals

There always have been efforts to build portals for specialized professions. We already have findlaw.com and several more (help me here). I heard of a wiki treatise project several months ago. Does anybody know if it’s still going on? It’s too early to judge whether the existing websites are or will be successful as law portals.

Don’t we need a neat service that incorporates fancy functionalities of (so-called) Web 2.0? There are nice blogs on laws around the world and I don’t know if there are excellent law bloggers out there unknown to me. Blog is a great tool for publishing one’s idea but don’t we need a blog portal that is more than Technorati?

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Milking it in Korea

Rethink(IP) blog told me a story about attorneys milking it, meaning trying to charge their clients more by having more office actions and replies and calling the examiners for more time than is required for minimum billing hours. Once you are sucked in, you get sucked out. It is a borderline professional ethics violation.

When a borderline professional ethics violation is committed at the legislative level, it’s called policymaking.

In Korea, patent agents (byeon-ri-sa) have limited capacity to represent clients in patent/trademark lawsuits against the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) as defendant for rejecting patent/trademark application. KIPO is trying hard to expand the legal capacity of Korean patent agents to patent/trademark infringement cases. The biggest opposers to the Byeon-ri-sa Act Amendment Bill are lawmakers who are lawyers.

Intellectual property law has been neglected by Korean attorneys so far, but they have started paying attention to it because one lawsuit in intellectual property may give birth to more than one related lawsuits. It’s up to you how you term it, ‘milking it’ or ‘one stone three birds.’

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

I agree to Abraham Maslow‘s saying, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” This especially applies to people working for insurance company. They tend to think everying is insurable.

At a meeting with friends of mine who were insurance guys by chance, my friends came up with an idea of selling insurance for patent infringement lawsuit and patent examiner’s mistake.

On the other hand, patent lawyers have a different hammer, which is patent prosecution. Hence, they advise their clients to patent everything.

I overheard that the Europeans are thinking of patent infringement insurance a mandatory for businesses. If it’s true, it will be just raising taxes from businesses. If it’s not a mandatory but an option, business people will compare and judge which is cost efficient, to buy insurance or file a defensive patent. As of now, insurance seems cheaper. But would it be cost efficient in the long run?

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Ringtone decision

The U.S. Copyright Office issued a memorandum opinion that ringtones qualify as digital phonorecord deliveries subject to statutory licensing under Section 115 of the Copyright Law.

See the attached file.

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