Large Korean companies are found to be active in filing international patent applications. In particular, they tend to increase overseas patent applications while reducing domestic ones.
Korea’s international patent applications filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) for the past five years (2014-2018) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) rose from 13,138 in 2014 to 16,991 in 2018, marking an annual average growth rate of 6.6 percent, the KIPO said on July 22.
Under the PCT, an international patent application has the effect of simultaneously filing a patent application with all PCT member countries (152 countries). A PCT applicant can receive the results of his or her international patent application review from KIPO and decide whether to file applications in overseas countries within 30 months from the first filing date.
Large Korean companies led the way in international patent applications. In the last five years, international applications grew 8.6 percent a year on average, accounting for 40.3 percent of the total. By contrast, domestic patent applications filed during the same period shrank by an average 6.4 percent per year, which is attributed to the shift in the patent strategy of large Korean companies towards sharpening their global competitiveness.
The average annual growth rates of international patent applications by SMEs and individuals arrived at 6.0 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, indicating that they became more active in securing patents when they branch out to overseas markets. Colleges recorded 8.4 percent of total applications for the past five years but the number of overseas applications increased by 9.3 percent a year, showing that they had a bigger interest in overseas patent applications.
By company, Samsung Electronics (9,232 applications) topped the list, followed by LG Electronics (8,527), LG Chem (4,581), LG Innotek (1,105) and POSCO (890). Among them, an increase in applications by LG Chem was 14.3 percent, far higher than large Korean companies’ average annual application growth rate of 8.6 percent.
By technological segments, the number of overseas applications ranked in the following order -- digital communication (11.4 percent), electrical machinery (8.4 percent), computer technology (6.7 percent) and medical technology (5.5 percent).