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  • Jeff619
  • Expert Waygook

    • 816

    • May 26, 2011, 08:12:52 am
Korean FTC to check foreign firms for patent abuses
« on: August 30, 2012, 03:40:53 pm »
I expected something like this after the Apple/Samsung decision last week.  I figured at the very least the K government would somehow get revenge against Apple.  They can't say the timing is a coincidence.
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2012/08/258_118566.html

By Kim Tae-jong

The nation’s anti-trust watchdog said Wednesday that it will beef up the monitoring of multinational corporations to keep them from abusing their patents here amid growing intellectual property feuds between local and international companies.

The move comes at a sensitive time ― just days after Samsung Electronics suffered a setback in its patent dispute with Apple.

“We have launched an investigation into unfair practices regarding patents,” an official from the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said. “Nothing specific has been found yet, but we will take a legal step against any irregularities.”

He said there are an increasing number of cases where multinational corporations abuse their intellectual rights, especially in fields such as information technology, medicine and machinery as local firms are vulnerable to patent lawsuits in those fields.

According to the Korea Intellectual Property Protection Association, the number of international patent lawsuits involving Korean firms has increased by over 80 percent from 154 in 2009 to 278 last year.

Patent lawsuits are increasing as domestic firms depend heavily on exports and many local firms produce patented products through licensing.

The FTC also plans to look into aggressive and allegedly unfair patent lawsuits filed by some multinational firms as a way to hinder the advance of Korean businesses in their markets or to profiteer by requesting too high licensing fees.

“The reason (behind the investigation) is that multinational firms have reportedly enforced their patents in an unfair manner through discriminative royalties policies, tie-in sales and unfair conditions in licensing contracts,” the official said.

In fact, Apple is being investigated by the FTC for forcing application developers to use Apple’s payment system when they register their products in its app store.

The FTC has also investigated Google for its alleged tie-in sales of a search engine program when it sells the Android operation system for mobile phones.

In the pharmaceutical sector, multinational firms have enjoyed even greater dominant positions as local firms heavily rely on the sales of generic drugs.

“The amount of royalties paid to multinational firms is huge. It is necessary to control unfair practices regarding patents. The FTC will also look into whether local conglomerates use unfair practices against small- and medium-sized firms regarding their patents,” the FTC official said.

According to recent data, local firms pay around 10 trillion won annually as patent fees to global firms.

But multinational firms criticized the FTC’s probe, arguing it is a political move.

“In a strict sense, it is much easier to infringe patents than to abuse patents,” an official from one firm said, who declined to be named. “I think the FTC’s probe is politically motivated because Samsung Electronics lost a crucial patent battle against Apple.”
 
e3dward@koreatimes


  • GoCyclones
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1020

    • February 01, 2012, 10:34:54 am
    • Central Seoul
Re: Korean FTC to check foreign firms for patent abuses
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 03:48:17 pm »
Face-saving at its finest.

Witch hunt in progress.


  • Jeff619
  • Expert Waygook

    • 816

    • May 26, 2011, 08:12:52 am
Re: Korean FTC to check foreign firms for patent abuses
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2012, 09:04:20 am »
Just read this http://jalopnik.com/5938587/does-the-billionaire-ceo-of-samsung-own-a-stolen-15-million-ferrari this morning.  My wife thinks it's being put in the news now because of the feud.  I don't know about that but it is a pretty interesting story.


  • confusedsafferinkorea
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5733

    • October 08, 2010, 01:02:32 pm
    • Zhubei, Hsinchu County, Taiwan (not part of China)
    more
Re: Korean FTC to check foreign firms for patent abuses
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2012, 12:32:25 pm »
Just read this http://jalopnik.com/5938587/does-the-billionaire-ceo-of-samsung-own-a-stolen-15-million-ferrari this morning.  My wife thinks it's being put in the news now because of the feud.  I don't know about that but it is a pretty interesting story.

In the quoted article, the writer says it would be difficult to recover the car from one of the most powerful men in Korea. It is interesting to note the response of a local to the Samsung/Apple saga, the response in the newspaper was that 'Apple has messed with the Korean Godfather'.  It has some scary connotations since in this article they refer to his' checkered' past and the fact that he received a Presidential pardon.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


Re: Korean FTC to check foreign firms for patent abuses
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2012, 01:59:47 pm »
I actually encounter several blatant appropriations of copyrighted mascots and logos  on a daily basis in Korea. There's a pencil cup on my desk right now featuring a black and white beagle that is a blatant rip off of Snoopy. The other day I bought a cleaning product featuring 'Mr. Homestar', who looks exactly like Mr Clean, earring and all... but with hair.

And then there's also the whole phenomenon of K-pop, The Good The Bad and The Weird, etc.

There's being spiteful, and then there's just being stupid. Koreans have never had even the slightest modicum of respect for international copyright laws. I was actually on Samsung's side in this, but now I'm not so sure...
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 02:01:39 pm by hilarity ensues »


  • Munwon
  • Veteran

    • 117

    • February 23, 2011, 09:55:36 pm
    • pusan
Re: Korean FTC to check foreign firms for patent abuses
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2012, 02:55:26 pm »
This is just sour grapes. I don't even really understand the nationalism behind a multinational company like Samsung. Which has 30-40% of its shareholders outside S.Korea. Heck, lots of parts in an Iphone are made in S.Korea.


  • Jeff619
  • Expert Waygook

    • 816

    • May 26, 2011, 08:12:52 am
Re: Korean FTC to check foreign firms for patent abuses
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2012, 03:14:52 pm »
Yes, Hilarity.  We've all seen countless infringements here in Korea.  I think most of them are pretty harmless.  For example, in Suwon you can see love motels using BMW, Lexus and even Manchester United logos.  I'm guessing the motel with Man U will probably be changing their logo now that Park Ji Sung is gone, but anyway.  I was really surpised, though, to see some slippers in Lotte Mart called North Pole.  If you guessed the logo looked exactly like the North Face logo, you would be correct.  I see that as a more serious abuse of copyright infringement because it's being sold in a major nationwide store.

The original article quoted someone as saying the foreign multinationals were charging unfair fees for using their patented ideas.  I would like to see some clarification on this because I don't know what would be unfair about the fees.  Technically, if I have a technology I can charge a billion dollars and it wouldn't be unfair.  Sure, no one would buy it and they have that right to walk away.

As Munwon said, this is just sour grapes.  If Korea really wanted to protect firms for copyright infringements they would be investigating Korean companies as that is where most of it is happening.  It certainly isn't foreign firms stealing from the Koreans.  But, this really isn't about keeping things fair.