A recent post discussed the unduly restrictive eligibility requirements for the Korean Intellectual Property Office’s s (KIPO) expedited examination program for green tech patent applications.
While the KIPO “super speed” program boasts examination results in just one month, many important clean tech categories are not eligible for the fast track.
Rather, the vast majority of clean technologies are eligible only if the invention has “received financial support or certification from the government.”
These include renewables such as solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, wave energy, biofuels, energy storage technologies such as advanced batteries, as well as carbon capture and storage technologies, LED lighting, and personal transportion technologies such as hybrid cars and plug-in hybrids.
I asked Terry Kang, a Korean patent attorney and Partner at the Kasan IP & Law Firm in Seoul, how an applicant could get certified pursuant to the KIPO fast track program requirements.
Kang contacted the KIAT Green Certification Institution, which is responsible for green certification in Korea, and inquired whether a non-Korean company can get certified.
Kang relayed the response to me as follows:
As an answer to my question, I was told that only if [a] foreign company has a branch office which is a separate entity in Korea, that branch office can apply for the “Green Certification.”
So the certification path is a dead end for most green tech patent applicants, and I would guess only a tiny fraction of applicants have received funding from the Korean government.
That leaves the KIPO “super speed” program inaccessible for international clean tech companies seeking green patent protection in Korea.