31 Month time limit - The deadline for entering the National Phase is 31 months from the earliest priority date (as opposed to the standard 30).
Korean translation - A Korean translation of the application must be submitted at the time of filing. This also applies when filing amendments.
Substantive Examination deadline - The deadline for submitting a request for substantive examination for a patent is 3 years from the date of International filing. Please also note that Utility Model application in Korea is subject to substantive examination and the request filing deadline is 3 years as well.
First-to-file system - Korea has adopted the first-to-file system, which means that if two parties apply to file a patent for the same invention, it is the first party to file that will be granted the patent. Therefore it's important to keep your idea secret until you file a patent.
Application requirements - To enter the National Phase an application must be submitted to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). An application consists of (must be in Korean):
Translated patent specifications (no extension possible)
Original figures at the time of international filing
An official application form (prepared by us)
Power of Attorney (original and not a copy. May be submitted up to 4 months after National Phase entry, conditional upon payment of late fees.)
Translated amendments (if filed at the international stage)
Publication - The KIPO will publish the content of an application in the Patent Office Gazette within 18 months of the filing date.
What is a Substantive Examination?
The examination will be carried out by the examiners of the KIPO, who will decide whether or not the claimed invention should be patented. An examination will check whether the application fulfill the requirements prescribed by law, i.e., whether or not there are any reasons for refusal.
When is a Substantive Examination carried out?
A Substantive Examination is only carried out by the KIPO when requested by the applicant and involves an additional fee.
If a request has not been filed within 3 years of the international filing, the application is regarded as withdrawn.
How can I make sure the KIPO will approve my patent?
The patent must meet certain criteria to be granted.
Whether the claimed invention is based on a technical idea which uses a law of nature.
Whether it has any industrial applicability.
Whether the technical idea existed before the filing of the current application.
Whether the claimed invention could have been easily arrived at by a person skilled in the art.
Whether the applicant is the first-to-file.
Whether the claimed invention is liable to contravene public order and morality.
Whether the descriptions in the specification conform exactly to the requirements for patentability.
Can I appeal a refusal?
If your application is refused you will receive a notification of preliminary rejection. You are entitled to submit either a written argument claiming that the invention differs from the prior art to which the Notification of Preliminary Rejection refers, or make changes in your application that address the reasons for rejection.
If my patent application is successful
If there are no reasons for your application to be refused, you will be granted a patent.
Provided the fees are paid within three months (or 9 months at the penalty rate) of receiving notice that the application has been successful, the patent will be officially registered and assigned a patent number. A certificate of patent will be sent to you.
After registration the patent will be published in the Patent Registration Gazette, an online resource for researching existing applications.
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