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Formality Examination
When a patent application is submitted to KIPO, it is checked to ensure that all requirements necessary to accord the application a filing date have been satisfied. Under the Article 11(1) of the Enforcement Regulation of the Patent Act, in any of the following instances the application will be returned to the submitter without any application number being assigned thereto and will be treated as if it had never been submitted:
where the kind of the application is not clear;
where the name or address of a person (or juristic person) who is initiating the application procedure (i.e. the applicant) is not described;
where the application is not written in Korean;
where the application is not accompanied by the specification (including detailed description of the invention) or drawings (only for utility applications) ; or
where the application is submitted, by a person who has no address or place of business in the Republic of Korea, without using an agent in the Republic of Korea.
Once the application has satisfied the requirements, KIPO assigns an application number and examines as to whether or not other formal requirements under the Patent Act have been met. If KIPO discovers that a document or information is missing, such as power of attorney or the name of the representative of the juristic person, it will issue a notice of amendment requesting the applicant to supplement the missing data, within a specified time limit. The applicant may obtain an extension of the designated time period.

If the applicant does not comply with such a request within the designated or extended period, the patent application will be nullified and then considered as having never been filed.
Request for examination
A patent application will be taken up for examination only if a request for examination is made either by the applicant or by an interested party within 5 years (3 years in the case of a utility model application) from the filing date of the application. If no request for 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five-year period (3 years in the case of a utility model application), the patent application is deemed to have been withdrawn. Once a request for examination has been duly filed, it cannot be withdrawn. A patent application is taken up for examination in the order of filing the request for examination thereof.
Laying open of Publication for Public Inspection
Applications that have not yet been published will be automatically laid-open in the official gazette called "Patent Laid-open Gazette" after 18 months from the filing date in the Republic of Korea or, if the right of priority is claimed from an earlier foreign filing, from the priority date.

The laid-open publication may be made, upon the request of the applicant, prior to the eighteen month period. This will provide an earlier protection to a patent application which is being infringed upon.

Once a patent application has been laid-open, any documents relating to the application are made available for public inspection. Any person may submit information relevant to the patentability of the invention concerned together with any supporting evidence to the commissioner of KIPO (information can be provided before a patent application is laid-open).

The Patent Act offers a special legal effect upon a laid-open patent application: under Article 65(1), if the applicant sends a warning letter to an alleged infringer after his application has been laid-open, any subsequent computation of a reasonable amount of compensation will be reckoned from the date when the infringer receives the warning letter. The right to claim compensation cannot be exercised before the relevant patent right is registered.
Substantial Examination
For a patent to be registered under the Patent Law, it should meet the following requirements;
(a) It should fall under the definition of invention under the Patent Act
(b) It should have Novelty, Industrial Applicability, and Inventive Step
(c) It should not fall into any of the patent categories unable to be registered as prescribed in Article 32 of Patent Act.
Read more about Korean Patent here :
Korean Patent System
What is a Korean Patent?
Information on Korean Patent Applications
Korean Patent Examination System
PCT National Phase Entry into Korea
Application Procedure for Patents in Korea
Filing Requirements
Refusal and Appeal
Application Procedure for Utility Models in Korea
Filing Requirements
Registration and Technical Evaluation
Application Procedure for Layout Designs in Korea
Filing Requirements
Effect of Layout Designs Rights
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