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Procedures for Obtaining a Patent in Korea

(1) Filing
(2) Application Number
(3) Publication of Unexamined Application
(4) Request for Examination
(5) Notification of Reasons for Refusal
(6) Final rejection
(7) Grant a Patent
(8) Publication of Patent Gazzette

(1) Preferential Examination
(2) Korea- Japan and USA Patent Examination Highway
(3) Amendment
(4) Divisional Application
(5) Conversion Application
(6) Change of ownership, Assignment
(7) Difference between Patent and Utility Model Applications
(8) Official Fees  

 

Procedures for Obtaining a Patent in Korea

(1) Filing

(1) To enter a PCT application into the Korean national phase, applicant must file a application and Korean translation of PCT specification, claims and drawings within 31 months from the earliest priority date claim: The required documents are download from WIPO website, however, we need some document as follow;

1. Any amendments under PCT article 19(1) and/or 34(2); and
2. IB/306 form, if any.

If any amendment to the international application has been added with the International Bureau of WIPO or with the International Preliminary Examining Authority during the international phase, a Korean translation of the amendment should also be submitted at the time of entering into the national phase in the Republic of Korea.

(2) To file a Korean patent application based on the Paris Conventions, please provide:

1. A copy of the specification, claims, drawings and abstract;
2. The full name and address of each inventor;
3. The full name and address of each applicant;
4. The filing date of each priority application;
5. The application number of each priority application; and
6. The priority documents (these must be filed within 16 months from the priority date).

A power of attorney are required for filing an application.

Under the Korean Patent Acts, a Power of Attorney signed by an applicant should be submitted at the same time of filing an application or the late filing fee of US$ 80.00 will be additionally incurred.

Therefore, please send us the Power of Attorney or the General Power of Attorney by fax or e-mail if it is prepared before due date. And please send the original by airmail later.

If a General Power of Attorney is filed and registered at KIPO, you need not file another Power of Attorney any more since the General Power of Attorney can be cited for all application having the same applicant in future. Therefore, we recommend using the General Power of Attorney.

You can download our forms of the General Power of Attorney and an individual Power of Attorney for your use from this website.

 
(2) Application Number

After filing a patent application, a patent application number is assigned as soon as the application is filed.  

 
(3) Publication of Unexamined Application
The application is laid open to public inspection after 18 months from the date of filing, or if the right of priority is claimed from an earlier foreign filing, from the priority date. We will provide a copy of publication for you.  
 
(4) Request for Examination

A patent application will be taken up for examination only if a request for examination is made either by the applicant or by any interested party within 5 years from the filing date of the application. If no request for examination is made within this five-year period, the patent application is deemed to have been withdrawn. Once a request for examination has been duly filed, it cannot be withdrawn. A patent application is taken up for examination in the order of filing the request for examination thereof.

After filing a Request for examination, an application is usually examined after 14-17months from the date of filing a Request for Examination. If the examiner finds no reasons for refusal in the application, the application will be granted a patent. If the examiner finds reasons for refusal, a Notification of Reasons for Refusal (official action) will be issued.  

 
(5) Notification of Reasons for Refusal

If you receive a Notification of Reasons for Refusal, it is necessary to file a response to the office action within 2 months from the forwarding date of the notice.  

 
(6) Final rejection

If you receive a Final Rejection, it is necessary to file an Appeal within 30 days from the forwarding date of the notice. After filing an Appeal, it is necessary to file an Amendment within 30 days from the date of filing an Appeal. Thereafter, it is necessary to file an Appeal Brief within approximately two months from the date of filing an Amendment. 

 
(7) Grant a Patent

The annuity fees for the 1st to 3rd years must be paid within 90 days from the forwarding date of the Notice of Allowance as a registration fee upon issuance.

After paying the registration fee and a patent is registered at the Korean Patent Office, the Certificate of Patent is issued.

The fourth year annuity must be paid during the third year or prior thereto from the date of registration.  

 
(8) Publication of Patent Gazzette

After registration, a Patent Publication is issued as it appeared in the Official Gazette.

Even after a patent is registered, any person may file an invalidation trial request at anytime if it has a flaw, even after expiration of the patent term.  

 
(1) Preferential Examination

When the Commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office recognizes that a person, other than the applicant, is commercially and industrially working the invention claimed in a patent application after the laying-open of the application or with respect to a patent application which the commissioner deems it necessary to settle urgently and which is prescribed by Presidential Decree to be examined before the laying-open of the application, he may direct the examiner to examine the application in preference to other patent applications. (Patent Law, Article 61, as revised as of February 3, 2001.)

Article 61 (Preferential Examination)

The Commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office may direct the examiner to examine one application in preference over another if the former falls under any of the following subparagraphs:

1. Where a person other than the applicant is commercially and industrially working the invention claimed in a patent application after the laying-open of the application; or
2. Where the Commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office deems it necessary to urgently process a patent application as prescribed by the Presidential Decree.

If an applicant files the Request for preferential examination, the KIPO decides whether the application is or not commercially or industrially working within about 2 months. If yes, the application will be examined within about 4 months from the requested date. If the application does not have any rejection, it will be registered by a payment of the registration and annuity fees.

 
(2) Korea- Japan and USA Patent Examination Highway

• Concept
- Where a patent application is filed in both countries A and B and the patent application is decided as being patentable in country A, the corresponding application is promptly examined in country B by using the results of examination conducted in country A. (The application is earlier examined but the examination is not restricted by the results of examination conducted in the other country.)

• Matters of Enforcement of Korea-Japan and USA Patent Examination Highway
- When the claims of the application filed in the Republic of Korea are the same as the claims of that filed in Japan or USA and the applicant submits the following documents attached to the results of examination conducted in either country, the application is preferentially or earlier examined in the both countries: . Claims decided to be patentable by KIPO, JPO or USA, together with translation thereof . Notification relating to examination issued by KIPO, JPO or JPO, together with translation thereof . Prior art cited in the Notification relating to examination . Descriptive table of corresponding relationship between the patentable claims of the Korean application and the claims of the Japanese application

• Advantages
- The examination processing period is shortened (Upon use of the Highway, the first examination processing period is 3 months) - The applicant is entitled to request an preferential examination or an early examination by submitting minimum documentary evidence - The KIPO improves the quality of examination by mutually using the examination results between both countries of the Republic of Korea and Japan.  

 
(3) Amendment

1) An amendment to specification, claims and drawings may be filed at any time before a first office action is issued.

2) An amendment may be filed within two months from the date of the Notification of Reasons for Refusal.

3) An amendment may be filed within 30 days from the filing date of a Demand for Appeal. A Demand for Appeal may be filed within 30 days from the date of the Notification of Decision of Refusal.

4) In case of entering Korean national phase of PCT application, it is impossible to file an amendment after completing entry into the Japanese national phase until the deadline, within 31 months from the first filing date.

5) When adding new claims, those claims must be supported by the disclosure of the application. New matter cannot be added. After first Office Action, the amendment is very restricted to narrowing of the claim scope.  

 
(4) Divisional Application

1) A divisional application may be filed i) at any time before a first office action is issued; ii) within 2 months from the date of the Notification of Reasons for Refusal; or iii) within 30 days from the filing date of a Demand for Appeal,

2) A request for examination for a divisional application must be filed for further prosecution. The deadline for filing a request for examination is 5 years form the filing date of the original application. If a divisional application is filed after the time period for filing a request for examination of the original application has elapsed, a request for examination must be filed within thirty days after filing the divisional application.  

 
(5) Conversion Application

1) A conversion application, patent application –utility model application may be filed at any time before registration.

2) In the case of Final Rejection, it is possible to file it within 30 days from the receiving date of Final Rejection. The term can be extended more.

3) A request for examination for a conversion application must be filed for further prosecution. The deadline for filing a request for examination is 5 years form the filing date of the original application. If a conversion application is filed after the time period for filing a request for examination of the original application has elapsed, a request for examination must be filed within thirty days after filing the conversion application.  

 
(6) Change of ownership, Assignment
To record a change in ownership, required documents are as follows:

1) Power of Attorney of Assignee / Assignor
2) Assignment (Deed of assignment of patent)
3) Nationality /Individual Certificate of Assignor

Nationality /Individual Certificate of Assignor should be notarized.

 
(7) Difference between Patent and Utility Model Applications
A. Term of Duration

The term of a patent right is 20 years from the filing date of the patent application and the term of a utility model right is 10 years from the date of its establishment.

B. Subject Matter

A patent can protect the product, process, and the apparatus invention. However, a U.M. is limited to only structural inventions such as the product and the apparatus. Method inventions cannot be protected by a U.M. application. Accordingly, the difference between the documents required for a patent application and those required for a U.M. application is that in the case of a U.M. application, the submission of drawings is compulsory.

C. Inventive Step and Novelty Requirements

Korean Act provides that patents must have a high degree of inventiveness, the level of inventiveness required of a utility model is not as high as that for a patent. However, the novelty requirement for U.M. is completely the same as the novelty requirement for a patent.

D. Substantial Examination

A substantive examination for the patent may be requested within 5years from the filing date, while a substantive examination for the utility model may be requested within 3years from the filing date.  

 
(8) Official Fees
See "Schedule of Fees"