South Korea Tries To Patent Military Uniforms To Prevent North Korean's Dressing Like Them

from the that'll-stop-them dept

Two years ago, we wrote about how the Finnish military was accusing the Russians of infringing on their camouflage intellectual property. The Finns had apparently registered the camouflage as a design right, and the Russians were copying it. Perhaps building on that idea, it appears that the South Korean military is now trying to patent the camouflage design of its new uniforms, with the idea being (again) to prevent others (the North Koreans, for example) from copying the uniforms in order to confuse South Korean soldiers. I'm not quite sure how South Korean patent law works, or how it's even possible to patent such a thing there, but if the goal really is to prevent nefarious enemy soldiers from dressing up in South Korean uniforms, you'd have to imagine it's not going to be effective. After all, if we're talking about an army invading or infiltrating, one imagines that they wouldn't have much concern about how they're also infringing on the patent. In the meantime, I'm curious if anyone can explain the "incentive" provided to the South Korean military by this potential patent. Is anyone really suggesting that such a uniform would not have been designed without the protection of a patent?


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    So will they declare war on them for infringement? Talk about fighting a war for a worthy cause.

    Didn't we joke about starting an IP based war on techdirt a long time ago? Looks like it's becoming reality. An infringement war.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 9:39am

    "Is anyone really suggesting that such a uniform would not have been designed without the protection of a patent?"

    Yes, because governments don't care about the lives of their solders and designing stuff costs money. Do you think a govt will design this if its only purpose was to help save the lives of its solders?

     

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      Irving, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 9:47am

      Re:

      "Yes, because governments don't care about the lives of their solders"

      Are you kidding? Do you know how much a soldier costs?!

       

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        Ron Rezendes (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 10:17am

        Re: Re:

        The logistical problem here is that the government knows it's cheaper to bury them than pay for their retirement and care after service. This is obviously a sad day (Veteran's Day) to even have to point this disturbing truth out.

         

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    Joe Seoul, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    Huh

    As we all know, the nation of North Korea has a great deal of respect for their southern neighbor's intellectual property laws!

    I see this idea in general as a great way to ensure that another nation, in times of war, will not produce highly accurate replicas of enemy uniforms for hostile purposes. I mean, imagine the lawsuit!

     

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    interval (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 10:09am

    Well, it is the Korean Penninsula...

    These are the same people who believe leaving a fan on in a room can kill you;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death

     

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    Yogi, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Excuses?

    So now we're running out of excuses for war? Perhaps this is because all previous excuses have been copyrighted...

     

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    kyle clements (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 10:18am

    add on

    this might make sense as an add-on charge.

    For example, when entering the US, a friend of mine who was an international student had to fill out a form with such questions as:

    Are you affiliated with any terrorist groups?
    ___yes
    ___no

    Were you a member of the Nazi party between 1932 - 1945?
    ___yes
    ___no

    Have you ever illegally smuggled an infant across international boarders?
    ___yes
    ___no

    These questions might seem insanely stupid at first; but if it turns out that they are in the states for some nefarious purpose, they can tack on an "entered the country illegally" charge.

    So, while the law itself might be useless, if the South catches a North Korean on their side, they might not have enough to get him for spying, but they can get him for infringement.

     

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      Bruce Ediger (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 3:49pm

      Re: add on

      I wondered if this sort of thing wasn't the purpose of copyrighting/patenting uniforms: "Those evil, sub-human X.Y's! Not only have they performed Evil Act X, but they've also downloaded child porn *and* stolen our ideas!"

      Sort of like how every high profile criminal now has a "19 Images of Child Pornography" charge in addition to the drugs, drug paraphenalia, illegal firearms, contraband cigarettes and armor piercing bullets changes.

       

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    Overcast (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Are they going to sue North Korea if they ignore this? lol

     

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    PRMan, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Really?

    I would think all they have to do is keep the 7 guys at the border from seeing it. It's not as if anyone in North Korea actually gets to see the outside world...

     

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    megameanie (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 10:50am

    Your days are numbered

    I'm currently seeking a Patent on life and as soon as I get it, should be any day now, you guys ARE ALL SCREWED! Oh yeah.

     

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    scarr (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    Maybe

    Maybe South Korea thinks their lawyers are more threatening than their military.

     

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    Megore, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Oh man all this time we could of won wars by patenting our enemies weapons and ammunition and then they wouldn't be able to use them :P

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Blazing Kimchee

    Reminds me that line in Blazing Saddles when Slim Pickens and his invading army encounter an empty toll booth in the middle of the desert. He says, "Somebody's got to go back and get a sh*tload of dimes"

     

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    Megore, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Oh man all this time we could of won wars by patenting our enemies weapons and ammunition and then they wouldn't be able to use them :P

     

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    Eugene (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    This is hilarious logic. I'd love to see the kind of country that this would actually trip up.

    Enemy Brass: Okay, the plan is to infiltrate their base by dressing our soldiers in similar uniforms.
    Enemy Lawyer: I'm afraid we can't do that. They have a patent on their uniform design.
    Enemy Brass: Damn! Back to the drawing board then. Unless...perhaps we could license it for a couple days? What's the procedure for that?

     

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    SLK8ne, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    Welcome to Warner Bros...East

    Holy sheep dip Batgirl! Who's running that country? Pinky and the Brain????

    Come to think of it I always wondered what Pinky and Brain did after they were canceled. Now we know the rest of the story!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 1:12pm

      Re: Welcome to Warner Bros...East

      The patenting of a uniform might seem unusual or ridiculous right now, but one just needs to look at the example of the Japanese Coast Guard and their ultimate camouflage to understand why it is necessary. If only someone had patented the uniforms they were wearing in this video, it might have been prevented.

       

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        Bruce Ediger (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 3:54pm

        Re: Re: Welcome to Warner Bros...East

        That video appears to confirm the "Pinky and The Brain are Running A Country" hypothesis, but since it's the Japanese Coast Guard, maybe they're not in charge in S. Korea.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

    Well, obviously! (or not.....)

    Surely patenting cammo wouldn't pass the obviousness test for patent either? It's not like there aren't already 1200 similar designs or something. Unless they've come up with a new zany DPM (dispersed pattern material) pattern that actually hypnotises the viewer or something.. now THAT would be cool!

    Hmm Helmetism? Is that "Jedi" for the teens?

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    Arenít You Glad ...

    ... you live in a free country, where such abuses of the law cannot happen?

     

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    Transbot9, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Fun Fact

    The US military has a patent on the camouflage they use

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 6:58pm

    Patents are supposed to encourage people to give away their secrets. So by getting this patent they are giving away military secrets.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2010 @ 8:37pm

    Anytime I see a link to againstmonopoly I know I am about to be treated to an entertaining FUD. Of course, once again I was entertained.

    I know it is wishful thinking, but perhaps someday the site might actually present an article that does not peg its bias tachometer past redline.

     

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    Yeebok (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 12:29am

    Sorry if it's been mentioned before but the plural for North Koreans doesn't actually require the apostrophe (not possessive, not a contraction) ;)

     

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    ReallyEvilCanine (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 2:41am

    There is a logic to this

    China is DPRK's largest producer and trading partner. If South Korea holds a patent on something it makes it much easier for China to refuse to manufacture those copycat uniforms, pointing to the need to respect the patents of its other trading partners who provide them substantially more income.

     

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    Colin Samuels (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    At least we have our euphemism for the next go-around.

    The first Korean War was euphemistically referred-to as a "police action"; the next one can be the "patent enforcement hearing". Perhaps even "Police Action in Korea II: The Patent Enforcement Hearing (Sponsored by Hyundai and Presented in Samsung 3D)"?

     

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