December 1, 2011

Important Changes in Korean Patent Act

Dr. Ilan Cohn, Senior Partner
Dr. Ilan Cohn

Senior Partner

Reinhold Cohn & Partners

The US and South Korea are parties to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that was recently approved by the legislative bodies of the two countries. In line with some of its obligations under the FTA, South Korea has introduced some important changes in its Patent Act, which will come into effect in the near future.

One of the important changes is the introduction of provisions similar to the patent term adjustment under the US Patent Law, whereby a patentee will be compensated for delays in the grant of the patent. Specifically, the patentee may be entitled to extend the term of his patent for prosecution delays, because of which the patent will issue later than 4 years from filing or 3 years from request for examination.

Another change relates to the grace period for filing a patent application following publication of the invention. A grace period permits to file a patent application within a defined period of time (the “grace period“) after publication of the invention, without such a publication negating novelty from the subsequently filed patent application relating to the same invention. So far the Korean Patent Act provided a 6-month grace period and this period will now be extended to 12 months, similarly as in the USA.

Other changes relate to validity of patents and patent litigation.

This article is provided for general information only. It is not intended as legal advice or opinion and cannot be relied upon as such. Advice on specific matters may be provided by our group’s attorneys.

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