Laying open of application
The full contents of an application for a patent including drawings will be laid open in the official patent publication after eighteen (18) months from the filing date (or eighteen months from the priority date if priority is claimed). However, if the application has already been granted, withdrawn, abandoned or invalidated, or ruling of rejection has been established, the applications will be excluded from being laid open.
Also, an application may be laid open prior to eighteen (18) months (early laying open), upon request by the applicant. Early laying open takes about three months from the date of request for early laying open.
Once a patent application is laid open, the applicant may warn any person commercially working the invention of the corresponding patent application to the effect that an application has been filed for the invention.
Request for examination
Of patent applications which have been laid-open, a request for examination has to be filed at filing or within a predetermined time after filing is to be examined. Otherwise, the application shall be deemed to be withdrawn.
Period within which request for examination can be filed:
at the time of filing the application or within five (5) years from the filing date of the Korean application or the filing date of a PCT application
Duration of examination
about two (2) years from the date of filing a request for examination
Expedited examination system
According to Article 61 of the Patent Act, the Commissioner of the KIPO may have a particular category of patent applications examined ahead of other patent applications. A person who desires an expedited examination of his application must submit a written request together with a statement explaining the necessity thereof in detail and any evidence supporting the statement.
The particular categories include
an invention related to the defense industry; useful for controlling environmental pollution; directly relating to promoting exports; and falling within the scope of the business of the Government, a local public entity, or research institutes founded thereby.
When a patent application fails to meet description and/or patentability requirements, a notice of preliminary rejection shall be issued.
Period within which a response to the notice of preliminary rejection can be submitted
Submission shall be made within two (2) months after the issue date of the notice of preliminary rejection. The due date for responding can be extended up to three times for one month each. If needed, an amendment can be submitted with the response.
Submission of Amendment
The amendment must be made within the scope of the description and drawings originally attached to the application, so that it is not deemed to change the subject matter.
When reasons for rejection are not overcome despite the submission of a reply, the examiner shall make a ruling of final rejection.