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Title NK Brief, January 25, 2018 Date 2018.01.30
Attach 180125_NK Brief_No1-4_(Patents, joint conference, KJU visits factory).pdf
□ Patent registration soars in North Korea
While public interest in patent registration is growing in North Korea, the Pyongyang IP Center (PIPC) has emerged as a pioneer among the agencies that provide services for patent applications, the Japan-based Choson Sinbo reported from Pyongyang on January 22.

The center was first established as the Pyongyang Patent and Trademark Agency in 1982 and renamed as the PIPC in 2004.

North Korea joined the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1974 and signed the Patent Cooperation Treaty in 1980. Two years later, the PIPC became the first agency in North Korea to specialize in patent and trademark services.

Reportedly, the workload of the Pyongyang Intellectual Resource Exchange Center has been increasing every year. The increased interest in patent registration is due to a policy that requires factories and enterprises to creatively manage their business activities—having the actual right to manage based on the socialist ownership of the means of production under the ‘responsibile management system of socialist enterprises’.

One of the important tasks for them is to develop new products by technological innovation. Factories and enterprises must focus their efforts on producing goods that may represent their production units and would not suffer by comparison with any other product in the market. To develop proprietary indices that are not found in other production units, they have to find technical solutions on their own. Such efforts have led to accomplishments in technological innovation as well as to their continued interest in patent registration and the pursuit of patents.

In 2014, an exhibition hall for intellectual products was built in Pyongyang. Managed by the State Invention Office, the exhibition hall displays various inventions, patents, and scientific and technological achievements, and other intellectual products, which are highly valued and widely circulated in the country. The hall also promotes the diffusion, exchange, and distribution of new technologies through the exhibitions.

As the role of science and technology grows more important in North Korea, inventors are emerging not only from the specialized scientific research institutes but also from the factories and enterprises themselves.

□ North Korea holds a joint conference of the government, political parties, and social organizations
In relation to what Chairman Kim Jong-un has stated on inter-Korean relations in his 2018 New Year’s address, North Korea held a joint conference of the government, political parties, and social organizations and issued an appeal for the suspension of the US-ROK joint military exercises.

“The joint conference of the government, political parties, and social organizations was held in Pyongyang on January 24 to carry out the tasks of reunifying the fatherland Comrade Kim Jong Un has presented in his New Year’s address this year,” the Korean Central News Agency (KNCA) reported on January 25. The joint conference was opened with a report by Yang Hyong-sop, vice president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), and followed by remarks by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland; Kim Yong-dae, chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Social Democratic Party; and Pak Chol-min, chairman of the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League. “The discussants stated that they would first create a peaceful environment in the Korean peninsula this year,” the KCNA added. Furthermore, they emphasized that “the South Korean authorities should stop the joint war exercises with the United States for good and put away all acts of dragging in the US nuclear and strategic assets and invasion forces into South Korea.”

The conference participants issued an appeal to South Korea: “Today, at the time when the door to inter-Korean dialogue is opening up and the two Koreas are about to have serious discussions on the important national issues, there is absolutely no reason why the monstrous US nuclear and strategic assets and invasion forces should remain in South Korea.” In addition, they argued that all Koreans must make greater efforts to push forward the struggle “to permanently terminate a wide range of treacherous schemes of nuclear war exercises to invade North Korea by the warmongers at home and abroad.”

In addition, the participants pointed out that this year marks the 70th anniversary of a historic meeting (that took place in 1948), which was attended by representatives of political parties and social organizations from South and North Korea. “We will hold the joint national events with political parties and social organizations and individuals from home and abroad on the anniversaries of inter-Korean declarations and the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of national independence, and let the world know of the Korean people’s aspiration for self-reliant reunification,” they pledged.

This may imply that North Korea will promote the joint inter-Korea celebration of such events such as the anniversary of national independence on August 15 and the inter-Korean summit declarations of June 15th and October 4th.

□ Kim Jong-un visits the Pyongyang Pharmaceutical Factory
Accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol-ju, Chairman Kim Jong-un visited the Pyongyang Pharmaceutical Factory, the KCNA said on January 25.

This is the third field guidance tour Kim has made this year. Earlier this month he visited the State Academy of Sciences (on January 12) and the Pyongyang Teacher Training College (on January 17). Notably, he has not made a public appearance in the military sector since the test-launch of the Hwasong-15 missile on November 27, 2017.

Going around the factory’s materials packaging workshops as well as the production lines for Western and Koryo (traditional) medicines, Kim inspected the conditions of the facilities and instructed the workers to upgrade the factory (i.e., further modernized the plant). The Pyongyang Pharmaceutical Factory was established in June 1948, North Korea’s first pharmaceutical factory.

During his visit Kim also called for the modernization of the Hungnam Pharmaceutical Factory, which is located in the City of Hamhung.

Accompanying Chairman Kim in his field guidance were vice-chairman Pak Thae-song, department director Choe Tong-myong, and vice department director Jo Yong-won of the WPK Central Committee.