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Korea: Comprehensive amendment of the North Korean Invention Law

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) recently enacted a comprehensive revision of its Invention Law which regulates IP rights for technical inventions such as patent rights, inventor's rights and utility models. The Law was enacted in 1998 and subsequently amended several times, the last time (before the current revision) in December 2014.

Some of the most important new provisions are as follows:

  • Filing language: Filing in any language possible, translation into Korean within 3 months from filing (before: Korean translation required on the day of filing);
  • priority documents: in case of claiming priority, copy of earlier application to be submitted only upon request of IP Authority (before: submission compulsory within 3 months from filing);
  • terms of protection: patents: 15 years from filing plus additional 5 years upon request and fee payment; utility models: 10 years from filing;
  • new regulations for the deposit of microorganisms;
  • stipulation of acts to meet the requirement to exploit an invention: these acts include producing, using, selling and importing the patented invention.

(The law requires the patentee to exploit his/her invention within a period of 3 years from grant, otherwise the IP authority may grant a compulsory license to use the invention to a third party).  

The new law can be accessed in both Korean and English on WIPO's Country Profile on the DPRK, section "National IP laws and regulations".


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