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Q1. How long is the term of protection for Korean patents?
In Korea, when a patent is filed on or after 1 July 1996, the patent protection term is 20 years from the date of filing. With regards to the annual maintenance fee, the payment for the first three years must be made within 3 months from receipt of the Notice of Allowance together with the grant fee.
Q2. What are the filing requirements in Korea?
Korean is the official language for patent registration in Korea. The applicants have an option of filing in English, however, its translated Korean version must be submitted within 14 months from the earliest priority date.
In order to obtain the filing date, the applicant must submit a complete specification, claims and/or drawings (if any) while filing the patent application.
In case the application claims a priority, the applicant should furnish a copy of the Priority Document within 16 months from the date of filing the application of which priority is claimed.
Submission of the priority document stands exempted if the priority is claimed by an application filed in Japan, EPO, or other countries which agreed with Korea to exchange the priority document through Digital Access System.
Other required documents include a scanned copy of the Power of Attorney. In case of late submission of this document, the corresponding late submission surcharge is paid.
Q3. How to examine a Korean patent application?
In Korea, patent applications are examined substantively and formally. The request for the former can be made within 3 years from the date of filing a patent application in Korea. However, the above condition stands valid only if the application is filed on or after March 1, 2017. If not, the examination request can be filed within 5 years when the application was filed on or before February 28, 2017. A request for expedited examination can be made under PPH.