Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hwang's Success Rate and Another Technicality

(Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice or proper opinion. I am simply some idiot trying to make sense of things. Please consult proper legal counsel before making any decision.)

I am working on getting english abstracts of Hwang Woo-suk's patents still, but a look over the Korean database yields some interesting information:

A. Mr. Hwang filed for 8 patents in Korea (as PCT's) so far.
B. 4 Have been registered
C. 1 Was withdrawn
D. 1 Was abandoned
E. 2 Were rejected.

Hwang apparently is only suceeding in getting patents half the time. Considering each patent takes tens of thousands to register this is not a good average. No wonder at one time he was crying poverty in his efforts to patent his work. Most of the investment community did not see much good in him pre-Hwang-mania. Perhaps the inability to prove his work patentable half the time was a harbinger of his current problems.
Finally, going back to the Korean Patent Law, there is another important passage I forgot to cite. Article 116 deals with cancelation of a patent due to it not being worked in Korea for two years. Now I am not going to deal with the details, and they are somewhat unimportant (it deals mainly with the compulsatory licencing laws in Korea). The main point of this is if the invention has not been worked in Korea for two years the Korean Intellectual Property Office can extingish the patent ex officio (by its own impetus), or upon request. Assuming Hwang's patents are unworkable, obviously nobody can work them in Korea, and therefore KIPO has the right to extiguish them (however they are not required). 

As I recall, most of the patents above were granted in '03. If somebody wanted to be a bother....


At January 01, 2006 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are you then?
A failed law student in US now working in Korea ?

At January 01, 2006 11:49 AM, Blogger Dram Man said...

Thank you for your comment, it is always nice to know somebody is listening.

I came into this industry on the practical applications side. I used to work marketing and business development for high tech firms in the US and Korea. I that capacity I worked on things like patent pooling, licensing, and technolgy transfer issues.

A wihle ago I pursued a life long dream to open my own resturant in Seoul with my wife. At that time I needed some work to supplement the start-up. As anybody can tell you starting your own business is tough, doubly so in a foreign country perhaps. After looking around, I started working the legal side as a consultant.

Four years later, I no longer have my restaruant or my wife, but I have bulit up much experince in IP law in Korea. After reading quite a few US and European IP blawgs, as well as some of the general blawgs ran by expats here in Korea, I realized I could fill a gap and share my knowelge on the intersection of IP law and business in Korea. If you read my posts, you may note they lean more to toward the business model side than detailed legal analysis.


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