New precedent: commission finds patent invalid for the first time

The Trade Commission recently dismissed its investigation of unfair trade practices after finding that the asserted patent was invalid (KTC Case 4-1-2010-12).

Precision System Science Co, Ltd petitioned the commission to investigate the export of allegedly infringing products by Bioneer Corp. However, the commission ruled in favour of Bioneer Corp after finding that the patent asserted by Precision System lacked inventiveness and could not be enforced.

In the past, the commission has denied investigations after the asserted patents have been invalidated by the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). However, through this case the commission has now taken the position that it has the authority to decide questions of patent validity on its own, even before any KIPO or judicial decisions have been rendered.

Commission investigations are sometimes preferred over court actions since they are generally faster and can uncover evidence of infringement. However, in the past they have often been limited or delayed, especially when there were questions of patent validity. With this decision, the commission now appears to be taking the position that it is empowered to decide issues of patent validity on its own, thereby increasing the breadth of the issues that it can consider in its investigations.


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