Robot Patents and the 2018 Winter Olympics

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Today marks the opening day of the Winter Olympics 2018 which is taking place in PyeongChang in South Korea. There have already been news worthy stories surrounding this event, including Norway’s mistaken order of 15,000 eggs when they intended to order just 1,500 due to a Google Translate error. This is before the first medal has been awarded!

One headline that has created anticipation is ‘Meet the Robots of the 2018 Olympics’[1]. Robots are still a sci-fi dream for most countries, with their use restricted to factories and still being largely tested. However, in South Korea ‘social’ robots who interact, communicate with and aide humans are much more visible.

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), since 2013 social robot patent applications have risen more than 20 percent annually with the figure rising to 75 percent in the last two years. In terms of their skills, the applications for robots capable of more complex action has risen to 49 percent from 32 percent, whilst applications for robots that are capable of simple repetitive work has dropped to 31 percent from 61 percent[2].

The use of robots in the 2018 Winter Olympics was already seen as a ‘humanoid’ robot carried the Olympic torch and even cut through a wall to show its abilities before passing the torch to the next runner. Throughout the next few weeks of the Olympics, there will be a robot ski competition to be held on the sidelines with entries from local universities and tech firms, artificial intelligence (AI) powered translation robots, cleaning and service robots and even schools of robotic fish in aquariums in the International Broadcast Center. Whatever happens in the stadiums and on the slopes, the robots will showcase South Korea’s forward thinking use of technology and AI.

Share your Olympic patent stories by using our hashtag #RWSOlympics! Who are you rooting for this year?



[1] The Smithsonian, 2018

[2] The Korea Herald, 2017

Friday Foreign Filing Roundup

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Good morning, readers. Memorial Day always marks the unofficial beginning of summer here in New York and we couldn’t be happier to put the long, cold, and snowy winter behind us.  Please take a look at the latest updates in foreign patent filing for the week of May 19th:

  • In recent patent troll news, legislation protecting companies against non-practicing entities was killed on Wednesday in the Senate. 
  • In a surprising turn of events, Apple and Samsung are giving truce talks another shot in an effort to settle their legal differences outside of the courtroom.
  • South Korea will now participate in donating funds to protect intellectual property. Korea will participate in funding many of the leading projects that are undertaken by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • inovia news: The inovia team got back from Hong Kong last week from INTA’s 2014 Annual Meeting. Read more about the trip here.  

Have a great weekend! Meet us back here next week for more updates.  Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter @inoviaIP.