YOU ME Merges its practice with Pankorea Int'l Patent & Law Office
The merger of YOU ME Patent & Law Firm and Pankorea Int'l Patent & Law Office took place on April 1, 2004. After hammering out details of the agreement and successfully completed the transitional phase, Won-Ho Kim of YOU ME and Woo-Hoon Chung of Pankorea met once again to have the signing ceremony celebrating the successful conclusion of the merger.
Pankorea is an IP boutique firm, established in 1970 by Woo-Hoon Chung. This firm's clients have primarily included Japanese and European companies needing reliable IP agents to prosecute their Korean IP applications. Having more than thirty years of experience in the IP field is a highly regarded asset in Korea, where industrialization took place as late as the 1960's. Woo-Hoon spent a significant number of years at the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) as an examiner before establishing Pankorea, and as a result of this merger, YOU ME has gained valuable experience and know-how that would have taken years to acquire without such a merger. Woo-Hoon is now a partner of YOU ME, and continues to oversee management of clients' portfolios.
This merger is somewhat reflective of what Korea's first generation IP firms have been facing recently, particularly for firms that were established in the 60's and 70's but did not benefit from the government's recent allowing of IP firms to gain corporate entity status, from the previous policy of only allowing sole proprietorships. Hence, the continuity of existence of such firms and the transition from founding partner to second-generation management has not been easy to achieve.
When a question regarding afterthoughts regarding the merger was asked of Woo-Hoon, however, he stated that he was very thankful to the clients of Pankorea for trusting his decision to merge with YOU ME. The transparency of YOU ME's system and its practice of raising quality patent attorneys from its ranks to partner status gave him the confidence that his clients are in good hands. In fact, he said that if he had to do it all over again, YOU ME would still be his firm of choice.
As a result of the merger, attorneys and technical staffs from both Pankorea and YOU ME are united as one family, and have moved to a new office at the Seolim building located in the heart of Korea and Seoul's IP district, Kangnam.
(Photo: Won-Ho Kim (left) and Woo-Hoon Chung (right) formally signing the merger agreement. Both are from same hometown, Jincheon, of Choongchung province.)
Merger between YOU ME and Mutual IP Law Office
YOU ME Patent & Law Firm and Mutual IP Law Office consolidated their practices on August 1, 2004. YOU ME and Mutual were well known for their strong ties in the IP industry, and had been contemplating this merger for some time. After determining that it would beneficial for both firms and their clients to have the merger, representing attorneys of both firms met on July 22 of this year to sign the merger agreement.
Mutual IP Law Office, which was previously known as the Law Office of Suh-Il Kim, was established in 1960 and has long represented Japanese and U.S. companies in Korea with expertise second to none.
Jong-Gil Park, who is the representing partner of Mutual, had similar afterthoughts on the merger as did Woo-Hoon Chung of Pankorea with respect to the continuity of his firm's existence. His overall positiveness has been borne out, however, and in his words, "The electronic database and management system is one of the most appealing features of YOU ME that prompted me to make the decision to consolidate with them. Their professionalism is paramount."
In fact, even prior to the official merger, Mutual had adopted and was running YOU ME's electronic database and management system to manage its case files. As a result, rearranging and docketing case files after the merger was smooth sailing. This tool also allows clients' portfolios to be monitored very accurately, so that ample notice is always given for all important deadlines.
YOU ME's merger with Pankorea and Mutual has increased the number of people working in the new YOU ME to 220, which currently includes more than 50 patent and Trademark attorneys and three foreign legal counsel.
(Photo: Jong-Gil Park (left) and Manho Song (right) having a meeting in YOU ME's new office at the Seolim building.)
New Office Building for YOU ME
YOU ME has moved to a long-awaited new office location. The new office is conveniently located across the street from its previous location at the Teheran Building. Just as the previous one, this new office has easy access to public transportation at the heart of Korea IP town in Kangnam. YOU ME has the 10th to 14th floors of the Seolim building, with enough space for 250 people. For the first time in four years, all members of YOU ME's family are joined under one roof.
(Photo : Seolim building from Teheran Street)
YOU ME sets up a new server with tremendous memory capacity
As the KIPO began accepting electronic filing not long ago, and as all communications to and from the KIPO are now available in electronic format, YOU ME has taken the opportunity to create a comprehensive electronic database and portfolio management system that provides answers to the problems of conventional paper files. As a result, YOU ME's systems professionals have developed an electronic file management system that fully stores all documents and correspondence for each case file, thereby creating an electronic file analogous to a paper file but that can be accessed instantly and that uses the least amount of office space. Of course, in order to maintain electronic files for all cases, a server with large capacity such as the newly acquired server was necessary, and it is projected that the recently acquired server with its more than one trillion bytes of storage will provide sufficient memory space at least until the year 2010.
As this electronic case file management system helps to reduce overhead costs, and the savings can be passed on to clients, such system is a necessary tool in order to help YOU ME maintain its competitive edge.
As a result of having this electronic system, new ways of sending, receiving, and docketing documents to and from the KIPO are constantly being developed, allowing automatic docketing of IP publications, monitoring of companies' IP activities in real time, as well as offering our clients on-line access to certain important aspects of their IP portfolios.
Publication and Seminar on IP Protection Guide Manual for the Enterprises to enter the Chinese Market on Oct. 2004
YOU ME has published IP Protection Manual for the Enterprises to enter the Chinese Market with a request of Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA). Based on its contents, Mr. Manho Song, one of our managing partners, presented a seminar on "IP Protection in China" for enterprises which have plans to advance the Chinese market on October, 2004.
Mr. Manho Song and Mr. Wonseok Oh has directed the ongoing research of the Chinese IP rights system within our company and has provided expert advice and/or seminar regarding the IP protection issues in China for a long time. The publication is a good example of such expertise and research production.