Similar to most jurisdictions in Asia, substantive examination does not start automatically in South Korea, but only after a formal request. This request can be filed by the applicant or a third party within three years of the filing date. If no request is filed during this period, the application is deemed withdrawn.
When monitoring the legal status of a pending application, it is therefore important to regularly check whether the request for examination has been filed. A reliable way to do this is with the EPO's Global Dossier - updated daily, it allows you to see whether a request for examination has been processed and officially designated as "accepted" by the Korean Patent Office (KIPO).
Is there an even faster way to access information on examination requests?
While it usually takes a few days from the time the KIPO receives a new request to when it is processed, you can view information on examination requests immediately from the date of receipt in KIPO's public search system KIPRIS (look in the Administrative section for status "On receiving" - Fig. 1). Once the request has been processed by KIPO and officially registered, the status changes from "On receiving" to "Accepted" usually about three to five days later (Fig. 2). Only then will the information also be made available in Global Dossier (the date of receipt of the document is shown, not when it was made available - Fig. 3). Note that the date shown in the first column is always the receipt date of the document, not the date it was added to the Global Dossier (Fig. 3).
The KIPO process is similar for other requests or notifications from applicants, such as written amendments or statements of opinion.
So if time is of the essence and you need the latest update on the legal status of a South Korean document fast, it's advisable to use KIPRIS.
Fig. 1: legal event data in KIPRIS from 17 November 2022 - "On receiving" status (click to enlarge)
Fig. 2: legal event data in KIPRIS from 22 November 2022 – status changed to "Accepted" (click to enlarge)
Fig. 3: related information in Global Dossier - updated on 22 November but showing receipt date of 16 November (click to enlarge)
To help you in your daily work with South Korean patent data, the EPO provides various guides with step-by-step instructions on how to access essential information such as legal event data in KIPRIS.