[Exclusive] Naver ignores former employees’ compensation request for patent

Oct 26, 2022, 09:30 am

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Naver headquarter in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province./ Source: Yonhap

AsiaToday reporter Lee Seung-wook 

It was belatedly confirmed that two former Naver employees have been in a legal battle worth 400 million won, demanding compensation for patents they had invented in connection with the duties in 2008. The former employees chose a legal dispute against the internet giant to seek their legitimate rights. However, they were angered by Naver’s inappropriate attitude.

It was last Wednesday that I had a contact with former Naver employee Kim Ki-hyeon (assumed name). The day before, I visited Kim’s home and left a business card. During a phone call with the reporter, Kim cautiously opened his mouth, saying, “I hope the legal fight is not known to my family because they might be concerned.”

However, the next day, he showed a strong will in a meeting with the reporter, saying he would continue the lawsuit against Naver until the end. “On the surface, Naver appears to be an innovative company, but the reality I experienced was different.”

Kim worked at Naver’s Online Economic Research Lab from 2008 to 2009. Kim was hired after working at a private economic research institute. The online economic research lab was a kind of ‘corporate planning’ department that seeks the future growth engine of Naver. 

In November 2020, Kim and his colleagues filed a lawsuit against Naver for duty invention compensation worth 400 million won, about 200 million won per person. The purpose was asking for ‘fair compensation’ for patents they invented while working for Naver.

According to the current Invention Promotion Act, duty inventions refer to the results of inventions made by former and current employees, corporate executives, and public officials in connection with their duties. The duty invention compensation system is highly recommended at the government level in that it enhances the competitive of the company and also improves the work motivation and job satisfaction of employees.

The duty invention for which Kim and others have claimed compensation from Naver is the ‘Category Dynamic Adjustment Method and System’ filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office in October 2008. The duty invention, a business model patent, aims to dynamically adjust the search filter configuration of an online shopping mall website in response to changes in market conditions, and the main goal is to utilize the data generated by user’s search activity. It is a method of sorting the selected items in the highest order of preference in consideration of the user’s search criteria. 

Kim, the main inventor, said, “When searching for products in the existing online malls, administrators took the method of editing, which was difficult to reflect the properties of rapidly changing trends. With the corresponding patent, we have overcome the existing problems by allowing administers to edit the search filter by reflecting the data.”

The former Naver employees that filed a lawsuit for compensation for job duties were angered by Naver’s response. Kim asked Naver several times about the compensation process for job inventions. However, he said he received absurd response from Naver. 

In October 2010, Kim received an email from Naver’s side in charge of patents. It wrote, “We do not explain the basic patent principles or the contents of our services to inquiries from outsiders. We would like to explain it as clearly as possible so that you do not waste time and money since you were a former employee.”

Kim said he was very hesitant at first to start a lawsuit, but change his mind after receiving the threatening email from Naver.

Meanwhile, this paper wanted to hear about the job invention lawsuit, but Naver did not respond.

#Naver #duty invention #lawsuit 
Copyright by Asiatoday