Kakao, SK Telecom sign MOU on AI, ESG funds and IP rights

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Kakao, SK Telecom sign MOU on AI, ESG funds and IP rights

Yeo Min-soo, Co-CEO of Kakao, left, and Ryu Young-sang, head of the mobile network operations division of SK Telecom, exchange a fist bump after signing a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on developing artificial intelligence (AI) technology, creating environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds and sharing intellectual property rights as part of efforts to contribute to society at Kakao's office in Pangyo, Gyeonggi. [KAKAO]

Yeo Min-soo, Co-CEO of Kakao, left, and Ryu Young-sang, head of the mobile network operations division of SK Telecom, exchange a fist bump after signing a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on developing artificial intelligence (AI) technology, creating environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds and sharing intellectual property rights as part of efforts to contribute to society at Kakao's office in Pangyo, Gyeonggi. [KAKAO]

 
Kakao and SK Telecom announced a partnership to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technology, create environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds and share intellectual property rights with small-sized companies and start-ups.  
 
The tech giant and the major mobile carrier said Sunday that they agreed on sharing data to develop AI technology in all sectors including infrastructure, data and language models.
 
The AI technology will be made available to academia, as well as start-ups in the future, in an attempt to help their further development. 
 
The two companies will also cooperate to create ESG funds to assist some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups who have been contributing to society. 
 
The ESG fund will likely be managed by Kakao Ventures, Kakao’s venture capital unit.  
 
Kakao and SK Telecom also promised to share their intellectual property rights and make them available to SMEs and venture start-ups.
 
As a participant of a patent-sharing program run by Korea Invention Promotion Association and the Korea Institute for the Advancement of Technology, SK Telecom has made its 2,597 patents available to other smaller companies over the past five years. Among them, 130 were transferred for free. 
 
Kakao and SK Telecom also vowed to minimize disputes regarding intellectual property rights and build an intellectual property pool in future business sectors such as AI, platforms and media.
 
In late 2019, the two companies formed a strategic partnership and exchanged 300 billion won ($264 million) worth of shares, seeking to collaborate in Korea’s ICT ecosystem. The two companies formed an AI research and development body with Samsung Electronics in December and promised to come up with AI technology that can be utilized in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.  
 
The technology will allow users to realize the level of virus infection risk at a certain location and suggest alternative routes. It is expected to be open to the public within the first half of the year.  
 
“I believe it’s very meaningful that the two big technology companies share their core assets related to AI, ESG and intellectual property rights and actually open those up to society,” said Yeo Min-soo, co-CEO of Kakao. “Using our ICT technology, we will try hard to contribute to the [country's] industrial development, as well as solve ongoing environmental and social problems.”  
 
BY CHEA SARAH   [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
 
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