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Korea: From 5 to 3 years: KIPO to reduce period for filing examination request

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The Korean Patent Office (KIPO) announced a comprehensive revision of the patent law which will be submitted to the National Assembly during the next months and expected to enter into force in 2016 or 2017.

One of the most important provisions is a planned reduction of the period for filing the request for examination from currently five years from filing date to three years from filing date. In this way, the provisions would be similar to Japan (three years from filing date) and China (three years from filing date or, if applicable, from priority date).

Another provision is a so called "ex officio re-examination" by the patent examiner. This stipulation refers to the period from the decision to grant by the examiner and the payment of the first annual fees by the applicant.

Under the current law, it is not possible for the examiner to take influence in the granting procedure any more after the decision to grant.  According to the revised law, however, the examiner may revoke his original decision to grant if he discovers any reason for rejection and start a re-examination of the application ex officio.

Some further provisions of this law revision include the following:

  • prior notice to the patentee in an invalidation trial before the trial decision to give the applicant the chance to submit amendments/opinions
  • in case of a joint ownership of a patent/utility model: permission for one owner to transfer his/her share individually even without consent of the others
  • new provisions for filing requests for correction trials in case an invalidation trial is still pending
  • procedure for misappropriated applications: patent/utility model may be transferred to rightful owner (until now: rightful owner had to file a request for invalidation first)
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