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The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) shortened the patent examination processing period to ten (10) months (News Letter No. 261)



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1. The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) shortened the patent examination processing period to ten (10) months

KIPO shortened the patent examination processing period from the current fifteen (15) months to ten (10) months by 2015.

KIPO reported the President on a ‘2013’s operational plan’. The three (3) priority projects to carry forward as presented are as follows: △ an innovation of a system to support the creation of intellectual property (IP) rights △ a pulling of creative economy activities by protecting IP rights and training human resources and △ a strengthening of IP using capabilities of local and medium/small companies.

KIPO will sharply shorten the patent examination processing period form the current 14.8 months to 10 months by 2015 and the trademark examination processing period from 8.9 months to 3 months. The design examination processing period will be shortened from 8.8 months to 5 months and the trial period will be shortened from 9 months to 7 months.

Further, KIPO will carry forward to introduce a concentration system of patent litigation jurisdiction and a patent attorney system for co-litigation, to strengthen the control of on/off line fake products and to expand foreign IP centers.

In addition, IP star companies will be increased to 1,500 by 2017 and the mutual developing cooperative project of large, medium and small companies by sharing IP abilities will be expanded.

2. You will directly file a three dimensional (3D) design application

- As the format of filing a 3D design application expands, the convenience of filing the application increases

KIPO announced that they improved the format for filing a 3D design application, making it easy for an individual and medium/small company to directly file the application from March 4, 2013.

Previously, a 3D design application could be filed in the format of DWG, DWF, 3DS or IGES only. However, now the computer system has been improved and is inexpensive in cost and simple in function, making it possible to file 3D design applications in 3DM format most used by individuals like students.

As a result of a KIPO’s analysis of a 3D design application trend for the latest three (3) years, the number of the 3D design applications sharply increased from 791 in 2010 when the 3D design application system was first introduced, 1,588 in 2011 and 2,345 in 2012.

Since this 3D design application system was introduced, there was no need to make the six (6) two dimensional drawings, making it possible to file the application using only 3D drawings. Therefore, the number of the applications directly filed by individuals and medium/small companies, without the need for hiring patent attorneys, was higher by two (2) or more times, compared to the number of general design applications. (55% was the percentage of 3D design applications as directly filed and 25% was the percentage of general design applications.)

3. The procedures for a Korean company to early obtain a patent in the USA and European regions are simplified

- KIPO strengthens the cooperation for patent examination work with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and European Patent Office (EPO)

According to KIPO, from this year ① the improved patent prosecution highway (PPH) has been operated in a patent application filed with USPTO by a Korean applicant and ② the duty of submitting an examination document(s) has been exempted in a patent application filed with EPO by a Korean applicant. The relevant procedures among KIPO, USPTO and EPO have been simplified and the cooperation for examination work have been strengthened so that the Korean applicants (companies) can more simply and fast obtain patent registrations in the USA and Europe.

① PPH 2.0 is operated regarding a US patent application filed by a Korean applicant.

Meanwhile, USPTO operated PPH to the applications filed by Korean applicants. However, since January 29, 2013, USPTO has operated a converted PPH 2.0 greatly simplifying the requirements of requesting PPH and the necessary documents, for the convenience of the applicants.

Regardless the advantages of the PPH system, Korean applicants filing applications with USPTO considered the required documents to be submitted as being burdensome and the PPH requirements and procedures as being difficult. So, there were many problems in using the system.

To solve these problems, USPTO improved the PPH system based on the agreement with KIPO and the improved PPH 2.0 version has been in operation from this year. When a Korean applicant requests preferential examination with USPTO, the procedures of using the PPH system become easy and the required documents for submission are reduced according to the PPH 2.0 version.

② Strengthening of examination cooperation between KIPO and EPO: when a Korean applicant files a patent application with EPO, the duty to submit certain document(s) is partially exempted and the search for the prior art is jointly conducted.

EPO decided to apply R141(2) of the European Patent Convention (EPC) to the applications filed by Korean applicants from April 1, 2013.

Previously, when a Korean applicant files a patent application with EPO, claiming the priority on a Korean patent application, the applicant should submit a copy of a KIPO’s examination result(s) [under EPC R141(1)]. However, from April 1, 2013 the Korean applicant has been exempted from the duty of submitting the document under EPC R141(2).

4. KIPO publishes a patent strategy blueprint for promising future technologies

- There is published a final report for a patent viewpoint of promising future technologies in the three (3) industrial fields such as bio technology, mobile telecommunication technology and robotics.

KIPO announced that they announced the final report on the ten (10) selected promising future technologies in three (3) industrial fields, bio, robot and mobile telecommunication, with the participation of the R&D departments of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) and the Korea Communications Commission (KCC).

This final report consists of an ‘IP strategy report’ and a ‘comprehensive report’. The IP strategy report includes patent application trends of major leading companies by 100 candidate promising technologies, and R&D strategies of patent viewpoints, etc. The comprehensive report includes macroscopic patent trends by industrial fields, promising technology evaluating processes and details of the finally evaluated 10 promising future technologies.

Previously, since the governmental and civil R&D solution plans were mainly made by experts’ subjective evaluation methods, there was something needed considering the original and core patents. However, the shortcomings of the R&D plans are expected to be considerably supplemented through the report based on the data analyzing the objective global patent database.  


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