South Korea to toughen rules against patent trolls

Summary:Patent-related laws will be revised to protect local tech companies the rising number of abusive practices by non-practicing entities.

South Korea will be revising laws to better protect local tech firms from patent trolls, according to the Korea Herald.

Its Fair Trade Commission will come up with stronger measures within the first half of this year, according to its chairman Noh Dae-lae, during a meeting with state-run Korea Development Institute (KDI). This follows in the footsteps of the U.S. Innovation Act devised last year to address similar concerns, which is now pending approval by Senate.

"The importance of regulations against abusive practices concerning patents is increasing as the ICT sector is engaged in fierce technological competition globally," said Noh, in the report. This called for stronger measures and better guidelines governing intellectual property , he added, urging the KDI to collaborate to find ways in doing so.

Patent trolling has increasingly come under the spotlight with tech giants becoming the targets of claims from smaller companies and competition.

Samsung Electronics faced 38 patent lawsuits in 2013, noted Korea Herald, citing data from online community PatentFreedom. It was the third largest target behind Google and Apple with 42 each.

56 percent of patent lawsuits in the U.S. in 2012 were made by patent trolls , according to data by startup Lex Machina. The higher attention paid to this area by regulators reflects concerns over how patent trolling could stifle innovation and ultimately a country's economic activity.

Topics: Patents, Government : Asia, Korea, Legal

About

Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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