2022 Korea - Highlight of the Changes in IP system & Trend in Statistics
According to the statistical trends in intellectual property announced by the KIPO in March 2021, the cumulative number of applications for patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks was 84,692, which was a 3.5% decrease compared to the same period of the previous year, and particularly in February, a 4.9% decrease was seen compared to the same period of the previous year, while the number of registrations was 52,865, which was a 0.3% decrease compared to the same period of the previous year, and particularly in February, the number of registrations was 26,133, which was a 2.4% increase compared to the same period of the previous year. Meanwhile, the number of requests for examination was 31,437, which was a 7.3% decrease compared to the same period of the previous year, and the number of appeals was 1,113, which was a 6.9% increase compared to the same period of the previous year.
While the numbers of applications for utility models, designs and trademarks decreased by 20.2%, 17.8%, and 2.7%, respectively, the number of applications for patents was 33,375, which was a 0.3% increase.
Artificial intelligence semiconductor technology is divided into first-generation semiconductors using a central processing unit (CPU) that sequentially processes complex calculations, and a graphics processing unit (GPU) that processes simple calculations in parallel, second-generation semiconductors employing a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) that is a programmable integrated circuit semiconductor, and an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that is an integrated circuit designed for a specific purpose and is mainly called an application-specific integrated circuit, and third-generation semiconductors employing a neuromorphic circuit imitating neuron and synapse shapes.
According to the patent trends in the US, the world’s largest market, Korea is competing with China, Japan, and Taiwan for second place in the first and second generations of artificial intelligence semiconductors, while in the third-generation neuromorphic field, its number of applications accounts for 18%. This confirms that Korea is far ahead of Japan, Taiwan and China, which accounted for 4%, 2%, and 0%, respectively.
Examining the major patent applicants in the artificial intelligence semiconductor field, in which the number of applications increased by nearly 400% in three years from 1,371 to 6,758 between 2016 and 2019, existing major competitors such as Intel, IBM, NVIDIA and Samsung Electronics occupy the top positions in all fields.
Examining the number of patent applications counted from 2000 to 2021, it was found that in the first-generation AI semiconductor field, Intel filed 824 applications, IBM filed 244 applications, Nvidia filed 208 applications, Samsung Electronics filed 153 applications, and Microsoft filed 126 applications, in the second-generation field, Intel filed 178 applications, Samsung Electronics filed 116 applications, IBM filed 88 applications, Microsoft filed 85 applications, and Micron filed 50 applications, and in the third generation field, IBM filed 222 applications, Samsung Electronics filed 79 applications, Intel filed 46 applications, HRL filed 40 applications, and SK Hynix filed 38 applications.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office cited the opinion of Professor Oh, Cheol at the Economic Tracking Institute, that the relatively rapid progress of the 3rd-generation neuromorphic semiconductors of the Korean companies, in which the Korean companies are likely to lead technological innovation, have attracted attention, who stated that he would “actively establish a patent examination policy that can contribute to the improvement of the competitiveness of the artificial intelligence semiconductor industry” based on the results of the analysis.