Procedures for Getting a Patent (Utility Model is the same)

After a patent application is filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), a patent right is granted through various steps. The Korean system is characterized by:
(i) First-to-File Rule;
(ii) Publication of Unexamined Application; and
(iii) Request for Examination
The procedure for registering a utility model is the same as that of a patent except some time limits.

The KIPO will only examine the patentability of an invention when a substantive examination is properly requested within 5 years from the date of the application or the filing date of the PCT application (3 years in the case of a utility model application). If no request for the substantive examination is made within this five-year period (3 years in the case of a utility model application), the patent application is deemed to have been withdrawn. Currently, it takes about 18 to 24 months for an application to be examined once a request has been made. However, in case of filing a request for the accelerated examination, you can get a patent within 3-6 months.

If, during the examination, the Examiner finds any reasons to reject the application, an Office Action (OA) will be issued inviting the applicant to state any opinions. The applicant may lodge an appeal if the refusal decision from the Examiner stands thereafter. When the OA is notified to you, we provide a response draft (e.g., amendment and/or arguments) to overcome it. So you can reduce the response time and the cost of a patent as much as possible.

When receiving a notice of decision to grant a patent, the applicant should pay the first 3 years' annuities within 3 months from the date of receipt of such notice as a registration fee. If the applicant fails to pay the registration fee within the three-month period, the registration can still be made by paying twice the usual fee within 6 months after the expiration of the three-month period. Therefore, if the registration fee is not paid within 9 months from the date of receipt of a notice of decision to grant a patent, the patent application will be deemed to have been abandoned.

The term of a patent right is 20 years from the filing date, however, in the case of pharmaceutical medicine inventions, the applicant may request an extension beyond 20 years in order to recoup time spent in testing.

In order to maintain the patent right, a patentee should pay, on a yearly or collectively basis, a patent fee as an annual fee for one year from the fourth year based on the date falling under the registration date. There is a late payment period for 6 months with an additional fee, and if the patent fee is not paid within the late payment period, the patent right will be abandoned. To reduce the patent fee, you can submit a claim waiver prior to or concurrent payment of the patent fee. If you need more detailed information with respect to the patent fee, please click the KIPO’s Fees and Payments.