North Korea’s leading university recently set up an intellectual property organization designed to file and protect copyright for brands and companies, Kim Il Sung University announced on its official website in mid-April.
The Ryongnamsan (Ryongnam Mountain) Organization for Copyrighted Works is now in charge of “patent and copyright licensing agency business” at the university, the announcement read. The institution is named after Mt. Ryongnam, where Kim Il Sung University is located.
The university said on April 13 that the organization “manages various forms of works created by professors, teachers, Ph.D. candidates and students in a comprehensive and unified manner.”
Kim Il Sung University said there are six major objectives of the newly-established institution, and the first goal was to develop ideas into product concepts.
“The first aim is to promote creative activities of creators and developers by commercializing various forms of creative works and boosting the distribution and utilization [of the products],” the university said in a written statement.
In what could be linked to North Korea’s burgeoning consumer goods, technology, and financial services sectors, the organization will be responsible for registering copyright and issuing registration certificates “in cooperation with relevant national institutions.”
All the copyrighted works created at the university will be registered as the intangible property of Kim Il Sung University.
The aim of the registration is to “protect intellectual property rights of the university” and “to protect the legitimate rights and interests of university, creators and developers by preventing all the possible infringement of rights – which can happen in the process of distributing and using copyrighted works – in advance as well as enabling to solve a problem peacefully.”
Through the foundation of the institution, the university also plans to promote “joint research and development, consignment development, co-publication” with “universities and scientific research institutes at the other countries.”
Organizing activities to raise awareness of the importance of intellectual property is another objective of the new organization.
“[The organization] establishes a scientific way to smoothly implement the strategic management of intellectual property and makes the creation, distribution, usage of the copyrighted works vigorous by providing various information services and consulting activities,” the website revealed.
The institution also plans to carry out projects to “introduce and promote” the university’s development “using various communication means.”
An investigation into the university’s intellectual capital and development potential, as well as drafts of various regulations for the management of intellectual property, will be carried out.
The administration has registered many designs, including the trademarks of the Pyongyang Hosiery Factory and the Wonsan Shoes Factory at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of United Nations (UN).
The outlet reported that “18,000 industrial designs were created for over 400 objects” over the last past years.
Pyongyang joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1974, and the Geneva Act (1999) of the Hague Agreement, which regulates international patents, entered into force on September 13 2016 in the DPRK.
But North Korea only registered six patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and six trademarks in 2015. Kim Il Sung University is the only one listed as a PCT top applicant, but it published only one in 2015.
By contrast South Korea was fourth in global patent filings in 2015, registering 14,564 patents and 947 trademarks in 2015.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Uriminzokkiri, Kim Il Sung University
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