Winner of the 2016 Campus Patent Strategy Universiade
Cho Soo-bin (Department of Materials Science, ERICA Campus, 4th year)
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University students can choose from a variety of off-campus activities to widen their perspectives or gain more experience in relation to their majors. One of them involves participating in various contests, which can push oneself to realize one’s potentials and abilities. Cho Soo-bin (Department of Materials Science, ERICA Campus, 4th year), who won the Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy prize from the 2016 Campus Strategy Universiade, shared her story regarding the contest and her dream.
An idea that shone amidst the other 3500
According to its official website, Campus Patent Strategy Universiade is a contest that aims to foster a professional workforce with practical patent knowledge for various corporates. Being the 9th Universiade running, it was co-hosted by the Korean Intellectual Property Office, and the National Academy of Engineering of Korea. It was also sponsored by major corporations including Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motors, and Posco. Participants are undergraduates and graduates, but the ratio of graduate participants is normally higher, as the contest requires a deep level of knowledge related to patents.
The contest roughly consists of paper examinations and presentations. There are largely two parts to the contest- prior art research and patent strategy. Both sections require students to submit their answers on paper. The due date was early June and late August respectively.
Cho had participated in the contest for the third time this year. Last year, she won a prize of 6 million won with two other team members for the patent strategy section. Having accumulated more knowledge, this year, she applied to both sections and won 500,000 won and 10 million for prior art research and patent strategy sections respectively. This year, Cho prepared all the answers on her own. “As the required amount of research was larger than last year, I had to form stricter plans to prepare for the answers needed,” said Cho.
Investing more than 10 hours a day
The part to which Cho won the Minister of Trade Industry and Energy prize required her to choose one subject among those suggested by the Universiade, and to analyze existing domestic and foreign patents regarding the field. Then, a detailed report has to be written about promising research subjects, as well as the ways to obtain a new propitious patent. “I chose the question on display technology, which I was both interested and confident about doing. It was the subject I chose last year as well,” said Cho.
Display technology is one of the greatest fields of interest among corporations nowadays, as the rising trend of smart, self-driving cars’ main technology is the display. “I focused more on the software display than the hardware. I thought it would be more convenient for drivers to have their information displayed on their car window, so I suggested the specific technology and the way to obtain a patent for it,” said Cho.
The progress of writing the answers for the questions was very challenging from its start. The implicative language of patents made the question itself complex to understand. After analyzing the questions, Cho pondered about the intent behind the questions. Cho thought it was necessary to refer to the examiners (sponsoring corporates) to satisfy them. As a result she studied more than 300 corporate-related articles and 5000 skills enrolled in patenting.
The arduous process allowed Cho to successfully set the direction of the idea report she submitted as her answer. “Among a total of 167 pages of answers, I had to do all the research preparation by myself. It took me a lot of time to make powerpoints, which I am less proficient at. I had no option but to spend more than 10 hours a day for the contest,” said Cho.
A step closer to her dream
The contest rewards its winners well. One of the noticeable privileges is that winners are called to the sponsored corporates’ job interviews. In addition, winners can get involved in a community called Young Intellectual Property Leader (YIPL), which is composed of winners of past contests. “YIPL let its members have a quality time meeting up with CEOs and experts from corporates. I think such experiences are valuable as they cannot easily be done within school,” said Cho.
One of the biggest reasons Cho chose this contest is because it is highly relevant to her dream- becoming a patent attorney. “I wanted to check for myself whether I am right for the job. Even though the work was hard and difficult, I enjoyed the progress of analyzing patents and writing reports about it. It made me feel that I am a step closer to my dream,” said Cho.
Cho is currently on a leave of absence as she is studying for the patent attorney state examination. It was tough juggling the contest and the exam studies simultaneously. From now on, she will be focusing more on preparing for the exam to secure her future.
Yun Ji-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Moon Ha-na
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