What’s new in Asia?

In this column we keep you up to date on important trends in patent information from Asia and beyond. We cover recent patent law amendments, new features in search tools and other hot topics from this dynamic region. In today's issue we will focus on Malaysia, South Korea, and China.

Malaysia: major amendment to patent legislation around the corner

In December 2021, the Malaysian parliament passed the Patents (Amendment) Act 2021, which stipulates comprehensive revisions to Malaysian patent legislation. Before entering into force, the draft still needs approval by the head of state.

Some of the key changes that are relevant for patent information users include the following:

  • Introduction of a post-grant opposition system to challenge granted patents. Interested parties can file requests within six months from the publication of the granted patent. The outcome of this procedure may be appealed at the court within one month from receiving the patent authority's decision.
  • Publication of applications in the IP Online Journal (gazette) 18 months after filing/priority. Up to now, only granted patents have been published (kind code "A1"). Under the new regulations, the publication of the application will include bibliographic information (filing date and number, applicant names, titles, etc.) but not the complete specification with description and claims.
  • Introduction of a third-party observation system. Third parties will be able to submit comments on pending applications within three months from the publication of the application (against payment of a fee).

You can access the IP Online Journal on the webpages of the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO). Bibliographic data on Malaysian documents are also available via the EPO's Espacenet.

South Korea: new regulations concerning appeal procedures against rejections

The Korean Patent Office (KIPO) announced new features in IP Laws to be introduced in 2022. Some of the most important ones with regard to patents and utility models are related to appeal proceedings against a rejection:

  • The period for filing an appeal against a rejection decision will be extended from 30 days to 3 months.
  • There will be a new option to "rescue" single claims even after a rejection. In appeal proceedings up to now, applications were always rejected in their entirety - even where only single claims were not deemed allowable. However, the amended regulations will allow applicants to file a separate application for any claims that were still considered admissible after the appeal.

Both regulations will enter into force as of 20 April 2022. For further information, please refer to KIPO's press release of 3 January 2022 (in Korean only).

You can access legal event data from Korea - including data on appeal proceedings - in either the EPO's search tools such as Espacenet or KIPO's KIPRIS search system.

Asian Patent Keyvisual 1
Fig. 1: Accessing information on appeal proceedings in KIPRIS (example)
(here: appeal against rejection dismissed)

China: China to join the Hague Convention for international design applications

From 5 May onwards, applicants may extend international design applications under the Hague System to the People's Republic of China. The Hague System allows applicants to obtain design protection based on a single application in up to 94 jurisdictions worldwide.

In China, designs are also called "patents" ("design patents"). You can access information on Chinese design patents via the online gazette of the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA). A step-by-step guide is available on the EPO's website on Asian patent information.

Asian Patent Keyvisual 2

 Asian Patent Keyvisual 3

(Click to enlarge)

Fig. 2: The EPO's collection of guides for Chinese search tools, including a guide on accessing Chinese design patents

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