Understanding the 2024 Korean Patent Law Amendments

As champions of innovation and protectors of intellectual property, it is vital for us to stay informed about the most recent developments in patent law worldwide. Today, we focus on two critical amendments to the Korean Patent Law set to take effect on January 1, 2024, pending legislative review and public opinion gathering.

Upcoming Changes in Korean Patent Law for 2024

Tightening the Rules for Accelerated Examination

What’s Changing?

In Korea, the option to accelerate the examination of patent or utility model applications via a prior art search is being eliminated. Until now, accelerated examination could be requested by presenting results of a prior art search from a specialized institute designated by the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). These specialized institutes are usually separate from the government patent office.

Impact on Foreign Applicants

Despite the change, accelerated examinations can still be requested through the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), ensuring that international applicants won’t be significantly affected. This means that search reports from other jurisdictions will remain valid before the KIPO.

Extended Applicant Delays Factor into
Patent Term Adjustment (PTA)

Current Scenario

In Korea, a patent becomes eligible for PTA if it is issued more than four years after the initial filing or three years after a request for examination, whichever is later. PTA can change the expiration date for the patent as result of delays during examination. However, Applicant delays, like time extensions and response times to office actions can reduce the amount of PTA that is granted.

The new changes add two more types of Applicant delays that may impact PTA:

  • Continued Examination Post Notice of Allowance: The period from the receipt of a Notice of Allowance until the issuance of a new Notice of Allowance. PTA can be reduced by up to six months as a result.
  • Appealing a Final Rejection: The period from receiving a Final Rejection until filing a Notice of Appeal can reduce the PTA by up to five months.

Accordingly, it is critical for Applicant’s to quickly address continuation application and appeals to preserve the maximum possible PTA. Applicants should expedite actions like continued examinations or appeals to Final Rejections to maximize their PTA in light of the new laws.

Wrap-Up and Next Steps

These changes may influence patent filing strategies, particularly for those considering the Korean market. The new amendments are still under review and subject to change following public input. As the rules continue to develop, we will continue to provide updates. By staying informed and responsive, you can better navigate the complexities of intellectual property law and make well-informed decisions for your patent portfolio in Korea.

Discuss Your Patent Needs with a Professional: Speak with our knowledgeable and responsive patent attorneys to understand how these new amendments may impact your intellectual property strategy. We can offer comprehensive protection for your business, regardless of where it is located. Schedule a consultation.