A bill to revise the Korean Patent Act was passed in the Korean Congress on 29 April 2014. Below is a summary of the revisions, which will come in to effect on 1 January 2015.

1. Changes to the requirements for securing an effective filing date of a Korean Patent Application

Currently, an applicant must submit a regular format specification, claims, and drawings (if any), when filing a Korean patent application in order to secure an effective filing date.

From 1 January 2015, an applicant can file a thesis or publication disclosing an invention to secure an effective filing date. This can be filed in English or Korean.

However, a  specification, claims and drawings, if any, must be submitted within fourteen (14) months from the earliest priority date.

2. Requirement for filing language

According to the current Patent Act, only applications filed in Korean will be allowed.

According to the revised Patent Act, an applicant can submit the specification, claims and drawings in English to secure an effective filing date. However, a Korean translation of the specification, claims and drawings must be submitted within fourteen (14) months from the earliest priority date.

3. Extension of time provisions

According to the current Patent Act, a Korean translation of the specification, claims and drawings of a PCT application must be filed within thirty-one (31) months from the earliest priority date.

From 1 January 2015, an extension of one (1) month is available on request. So if an extension is requested, a Korean translation of the specification, claims and drawings of a PCT application can be filed within thirty-two (32) months from the earliest priority date, with payment of the one month extension fee.

4. Amending Korean Patent Applications Filed in Foreign Language

Under the current Patent Act, amendments to the specification and claims of a Korean national phase application can be made within the scope of a Korean translation of a corresponding PCT application. Thus, an error in the translation of the corresponding PCT application cannot be corrected.

According to the revised Patent Act, an applicant is allowed to correct a translation error found in the Korean translation of a PCT application entering into the Korean national phase or in a Korean translation of a Korean patent application filed in a foreign language.