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Major Intellectual Property Systems to be Revised in 2018

(1) Expansion of objects for patent priority examination

In order to support the patent advancement of companies in the 4th Industrial Revolution field, the examination period is shortened from the previous 16.4 months to 5.7 months by including 7 major industries* in the objects for priority examinations of patent applications (to be implemented in the first half of 2018)

* AI, IoT, 3D printing, autonomous navigation, big data, cloud, intelligent robots

(2) Expansion of objects for design priority examination

The examination period is shortened from the previous 5 months to 2 months by including design applications using 4th Industrial Revolution technology such as artificial intelligence in the objects for priority examination (to be implemented in January of 2018)

(3) Expansion of reduction in annual registration fee

The annual registration fee reduction is increased from 30% to 50% for patents, utility models and designs for small and medium-sized businesses, and the reduction period is expanded from being from the 9th year to covering the entire duration of right (scheduled to be implemented in April of 2018)

* (Currently) establishment registration fee (1st to 3rd year): 70%; 4th ~ 9th year annual registration fee: 30%

(Revised) establishment registration fee (1st to 3rd year): 70%; 4th ~ expiration date annual registration fee: 50%

(4) Promotion of start-up patent voucher business

A patent voucher (in the range of 500~2000 million won) is being provided for start-up companies so that they can choose their desired IP service* in a timely manner and receive support (to be implemented in February 2018)

* Making domestic and international IP rights, patent research and analysis, patent technology valuation, technology transfer (licensing), etc.

(5) Reward system for growth in volume of patents

If the annual application fee (including the examination fee) and the initial registration fee which are paid by SMEs and individuals to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) exceed a standard amount, a fixed rate is being provided as an incentive based on the volume of fees (differentiated from 10% to 50%) and can be used when paying other fees (scheduled to be implemented in April of 2018)

(6) Providing patent prior art search results before examination

Implementing a pilot program which provides prior art search results to applicants of small and medium-sized venture companies who have difficulty in conducting prior art searches before examination due to lack of professional manpower (to be implemented in January 2018)

(7) Simplifying procedures for canceling some designated goods

In the case of abandoning some designated goods together with establishing registration of a trademark right, the procedure is simplified by requiring only stating the purpose on a payment statement, without submission of an additional abandonment form (to be implemented in January 2018)

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