Enterprises will benefit from a new intellectual property (IP) cooperation between Singapore and the Republic of Korea (ROK). This partnership will allow innovative enterprises swifter access to markets in both countries. The ROK was Singapore’s eighth largest trading partner last year with total of $39.4 billion bilateral trade, while Singapore was the sixth largest foreign investor in the ROK in 2018. The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) also recorded a 47% increase in patent applications originating from ROK in 2019.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster greater cooperation in bridging the innovation ecosystems of both countries was signed between Mr. Park Wonjoo, Commissioner of Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and Mr Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS. Both countries will support each other in commercialising ideas, IP, and intangible assets (IA) into products and services, and promote growth in industries such as technologies in medicine, artificial intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IOT).
Under this partnership, Korean enterprises will be able to tap on IPOS’s patent search and examination expertise to conduct international searches under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Korean enterprises can also rely on a PCT report from IPOS, an International Searching Authority (ISA), to accelerate their patent grant in other countries. IPOS will also provide KIPO with deep technical expertise and its bilingual abilities to conduct prior art searches. This will allow enterprises to determine if an application meets criteria for patentability. Given the exponential growth in number of Chinese publications in the recent years, Korean enterprises keen to enter into the Chinese market can now choose IPOS as an ISA to gain early insights into relevant prior art in the Chinese language.
Mr. Park Wonjoo said: “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding holds great significance and fascination for many Korean applicants, as it gives them another reliable and attractive choice for selecting PCT ISA. IPOS has a host of highly capable and linguistically competent examiners who are skilled at retrieving research and patent literatures published in English and Chinese. Korean applicants choosing IPOS as their ISA will be able to enjoy quality services of IPOS.”
Mr Daren Tang said: “IPOS and KIPO have enjoyed a warm long-standing relationship, with a common vision of using IP to drive innovation. This MoU will bring both agencies even closer together and create opportunities for Korean enterprises, which are renowned globally for their cutting-edge technology and innovation, to tap on IPOS’s deep technical expertise and ability to conduct patent searches in both English and Chinese. It will also enhance Singapore’s attractiveness as a base for Korean innovators to access regional markets and beyond.”
The ROK ranks as the world’s 12th largest economy with a gross domestic product of $1.62 trillion. It received more than 19,000 international patent applications under the PCT in 2019, with the number of patent filings originating from the ROK doubling between 2017 and 2019.
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is a government agency under the Ministry of Law. Our mission is to use our intellectual property (IP) expertise and networks to drive Singapore’s future growth, and build Singapore into a hub where innovative enterprises use IP and intangible assets to grow. More information on IPOS can be found at www.ipos.gov.sg.
 The PCT system, an international patent filing system administered by WIPO, assists businesses and inventors to seek patent protection among the 153 Contracting States through a single international patent application. The search and examination of PCT applications can only be conducted by appointed International Authorities known as ISAs and IPEAs.
 To conduct prior art search means to source for information indicating earlier patent claims of originality.
 According to WIPO Statistics Database (Mar 2020), China received a record 1.54 million applications in 2018, 11.6% up from 2017. This accounted or 46.4 percent of the world’s total.
 Source: Korea Annual GDP Report 2019
 According to WIPO Statistics Database (Mar 2020), Korea received 19,085 PCT applications in 2019, 12.8% up from 2018.