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IP POLICIES IN KOREA
Three-Track Patent Examination
The three-Track patent examination system was launched on October 1, 2008.
It enables customers to select an examination track that suits their patent strategy.
They can choose an accelerated, regular, or customer-deferred examination. The accelerated track helps customers acquire patent rights expeditiously
so that they can secure an exclusive position in the market.
The customer-deferred track, on the other hand, gives customers ample time to prepare for the commercialization of the invention.
Three-Track Patent Trial System
In KIPO's former preferential patent trial system, some cases took priority over general cases. However, in November 2008, KIPO adopted
a three-track patent trial system, which consists of a super-accelerated track, an accelerated track, and a regular track.
A super-accelerated trial proceeds as follows: As soon as both parties apply for a super-accelerated trial, KIPO begins an oral hearing
within a month of the expiry date for submitting a written reply; a trial decision is then made within two months of the oral hearing.
Thus, all parties are informed of the trial decision within four months of requesting the trial. An accelerated trial generally takes six months,
and a regular trial takes about nine months.
Two-Track Trademark / Design Examination
On April 1, 2009, KIPO implemented a preferential examination system for applicants who require earlier trademark or design rights.
Applicants can now choose one of two tracks: a general examination (conducted on a first come, first served basis) or a preferential
examination (which is given priority over a general examination).
This is how the preferential examination system works. When an applicant asks for a preferential examination of a trademark or a design application,
KIPO has 10 days to decide whether a preferential examination will be conducted. Once KIPO decides to conduct a preferential examination, the examination
will begin within 45 days. Generally, the applicant receives the results of the first examination within two months of requesting the preferential examination.
The preferential system is especially useful for applicants who wish to push ahead with their business or promptly resolve a dispute after filing.
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