The Korean Patent Office has shortened the average pendency period for patents from about 15 months in 2012 to currently only 10 months, calculated from the request for examination to the first office action. As a result of this reduction, a number of Korean patents are granted much faster than before. According to recent statistics from KIPO (available in Korean only), almost 40% of all patent applications are granted even before the publication of the application, i.e. earlier than 18 months from filing or earliest priority. In other words: the publication of the granted patent ("B1 document") will take place before the publication of the application ("A document").
In such cases, the corresponding A document will not be published anymore, which means that there will only exist a "B1" publication. This is important to note, especially for users who are monitoring new Korean applications: It is highly recommended not to limit the search only to publications of applications ("A documents"), as this limitation would result in gaps in the Korean prior art retrieved.