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- (Intellectual Property) Intellectual property (IP) is a legal concept which refers to creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognized. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property rights include patents, trademarks, design rights, copyright, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets.
- (Patent) A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a government to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. An invention is a solution to a specific technological problem and is a product or a process. Patents are a form of intellectual property.
- Patent Specification
- Novelty, inventiveness, and documentation of patent specification are the critical parts in registering the patent.
- 'Novelty' requires that the invention should never have been disclosed prior to the application date of the patent. The patent registration will not be accepted if the invention has already been disclosed in Korea and/or abroad; if it has already been executed in Korea and/or abroad; if it has been listed in publications in Korea and/or abroad; or if it has been available to the public through electronic communications cable designated by the presidential decree of the Republic of Korea. This novelty regulation applies not only to disclosures made by others but also to disclosures made by the inventors themselves. So, cautionary actions should be taken to avoid disclosing the invention before filing the patent. However, if the disclosure is made against the inventor’s will, the case could be relieved by filing a disclosure exception procedure within a year from the date of disclosure.
- ‘Inventiveness’ refers to the requirements that persons who have common knowledge in the technology field of the invention, could not have easily made the invention before the invention was filed as a patent. In most cases, lack of inventiveness is the main reason cited for refusing a patent. The inventiveness will be determined based on a ‘value judgement’ of whether or not the invention has ‘ease of invention’. It will not be based on a ‘fact judgement’. This somewhat unclear criteria makes it difficult to determine inventiveness. Therefore, it is necessary to be well-informed about the level of inventiveness in technology areas, by carefully reviewing patent precedents and examination cases. An invention’s remarkable performance behavior will be an important criteria in determining the inventiveness. Therefore, it is necessary to fill out full details of claims and performance behavior in the invention specifications.
- Specifications should be written to meet legal requirements when preparing the technology information and invention abstract information. ‘The detailed description of the invention’, which explains the invention stated in the patent claims, should be written in detail and clearly enough so that anyone who has common knowledge in the pertinent technology field could execute it. The claims of the patent should be fully supported by the detailed description of the invention and the invention should be stated precisely and clearly.
- Validity of Patent Rights
- Patentees monopolize the rights to execute registered patent rights from the date of registration for 20 years. Therefore, patentees may take civil and criminal actions against any violations of those rights, when the rights are infringed by third party(ies) without justifiable title.
- A patent is an intangible asset. Therefore, patentees may transfer any part or the entire patent to third party(ies). Patentees may also set up exclusive licenses and ordinary licenses for third party(ies). Exclusive licenses are monopolizing, and the granting of exclusive rights could rule out the patentee’s use of them within an allowed range. Meanwhile, an ordinary license refers to a grant of nonexclusive rights. Since they are not exclusive, it is also possible to grant identical ordinary licenses to multiple parties.