The Korea Patent Attorney Association announced on Sept. 27 that Japan is still surpassing South Korea in terms of patent competitiveness related to fluorine polyimide, photoresist and hydrogen fluoride, which are subject to Japan’s export restrictions currently in effect. This means Japanese companies can file patent lawsuits against South Korean companies even if the latter succeed in replacing imports from Japan.
According to the association, the ratio of overseas patent applications to domestic patent applications is 40 percent for South Korea and 53 percent for Japan when it comes to fluorine polyimide for display manufacturing. In addition, the number of overseas application destinations is 2.4 for South Korea and 3.6 for Japan. South Korea has 112 fluorine polyimide-related patents, including 38 of the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology, 12 of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and 11 of Yonsei University, yet none of those is currently registered in Japan.
“Domestic patent application without overseas application means a low technological level or the lack of awareness of overseas patent application,” the association explained, adding, “Some research institutes are merely coming up with unprofitable patents without specific patent strategy.”
Likewise, Japanese companies and research institutes currently own 64 percent of domestic patents related to photoresist for use in semiconductor substrate production whereas the ratio stands at 27 percent for their South Korean counterparts. In Japan, Japanese companies and research institutes and their South Korean counterparts own 85 percent and 3.7 percent of the same patents, respectively. The number of Japan’s photoresist patent applications in South Korea is 17 times that of South Korea’s photoresist patent applications in Japan.
As for hydrogen fluoride-related patents, Japan owns 46 percent, followed by the United States (25 percent) and South Korea (8 percent). Japanese companies currently account for more than 70 percent of the global hydrogen fluoride market. Under the circumstances, South Korean companies have relied upon Japanese suppliers for more than 95 percent of the high-purity hydrogen fluoride they use.
“Japan is far superior to South Korea in patent quality and quantity alike,” the association went on to say, adding, “More efforts are needed for more competitiveness based on patent analysis and design around.”