December 11, 2020

Heads of KIPO, CNIPA and JPO join hands for ASEAN cooperation

- KIPO, CNIPA and JPO agreed on trilateral cooperation and cooperation with ASEAN during 20th TRIPO Heads Meeting -

ㅁ The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO; Commissioner Yong Rae Kim) hosted the 20th Trilateral Intellectual Property Offices (TRIPO) Heads Meeting among the KIPO, China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and Japan Patent Office (JPO) via video conference, which took place at the InterContinental Seoul COEX (Gangnam-gu, Seoul) on December 1st at 4 pm.

ㅁ The three offices have been in cooperative relationships since 2001, with a goal of sharing information on intellectual property (IP) examination and harmonizing IP systems. Since then, the TRIPO Heads Meeting has been held every year, and this year marks its 20th meeting.

ㅇThe three offices have been holding expert meetings for each of six cooperation fields (e.g., patent and informatization) in the past 20 years, striving to bolster IP protection level to ensure that applicants acquire intellectual property rights (IPRs) in a prompt manner and that the acquired IPRs be well protected.

ㅇ As a result, the proportion of patent applications filed in three countries jumped from about 40% of the global patent filings in 2001 to about 60% over the twenty years. In the same period, the proportion of trademark applications jumped from about 20% to about 60%. In essence, the three countries have grown to become the world's largest IP economic bloc.

ㅁ In commemoration of the 20-year long cooperation, the three offices agreed to set a cooperative vision for the next 10 years with focuses on the following action plans, and to officially adopt this vision when Korea-China-Japan Summit is held in the future.

ㅇFirst, the three offices jointly respond to new challenges such as digital transformation trend and Covid-19 pandemic, and improve their IP examination systems and practices to help create and protect innovative technologies.

ㅇSecond, the three offices promote the technological development and innovative growth of three countries by improving the accessibility and applicability of patent-related information held by each country.

ㅇThird, the three offices contribute to bridging the gap in the IP field between the three countries and ASEAN by promoting IP cooperation.

ㅁ This year's meeting was particularly more meaningful as it marked the first occasion that Heads of TRIPO met to discuss ASEAN cooperation after the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on November 15, 2020 to which the three countries are participating.

ㅇ The RCEP contains 83 IP-related provisions. In order for ASEAN countries to enforce these provisions, it is essential for them to go through extensive reforms of their IP laws. However, it takes an excessive amount of time and efforts for ASEAN countries to reform their laws as they lack in IP infrastructure.

ㅇ In consideration of such circumstances, the three offices agreed to go forward with the plan of IP cooperation among TRIPO and ASEAN in order to provide support and assistance to ASEAN countries in reforming their IP laws and introducing new IP systems and policies. The three offices agreed to work out details of the plan through the working-level discussion.

ㅁ Commissioner Yong Rae Kim the KIPO viewed this meeting as “the first ever TRIPO Heads Meeting where the three offices discussed in detail what the three countries will do for mutual growth with ASEAN countries.” Commissioner Kim added, “Through cooperation and competition among the three offices, we will strive to make Asia the most IP-friendly and innovative ecosystem in the world.”