HOME 〉Procedures in Korea 〉Utility Model
Over View
The flowchart shows an outline of procedure under utility model system of Korea
After a utility model application is filed with KIPO, a utility model right is granted through various steps

The Korean utility model system is characterized by :
 
01 First-to-File Rule;
02 Examination on Basic Requirements for Quick Registration
03 Request for Technical Evaluation
04 Decision of Revocation or Maintenance through Technical Evaluation

Filing an Application
01 Applicant
Either the deviser of an device or his or her assignee can file a utility model application for the device with KIPO. The applicant may be either a natural person or a juristic person.
02 Documents Required
A person who desires to obtain a utility model must submit to the commissioner of KIPO the following documents:
 
an application stating the name and address of the deviser and the applicant(including the name of a representative, if the applicant is a juristic person), the date of submission, the title of the device, and priority date(if the right of priority is claimed):
a specification setting forth the following matters:
the title of the device: a brief description of drawings(if any): a detailed description of the device: and claim(s):
drawing(s),
an abstract:
if the right of priority is claimed, the priority document which is a certified copy of the priority application together with its Korean translation: and
a power of attorney, if necessary.
03 Claim of Priority
In order to enjoy the priority right, an application should be filed with KIPO within 1 year from the earliest filing date of the priority application. The priority document above mentioned may be submitted within one year and four months from the priority date. If the priority document is not submitted within that period of time, the claim of priority will become null and void.

Formality Examination
When utility model application is submitted to KIPO, it is checked that all requirements necessary to accord the application a filing date have been satisfied, Under the Article 7(1) of the Enforcement Regulation of Utility Model Law, in any of the following instances the application will be returned to the submitter without any application number being assigned there to and will be treated as if it had never been submitted:
 
01 the kind of the application is not clear;
02 the name or address of a person(or juristic person) who is initiating the procedure is not described;
03 the application is not written in Korean;
04 Where the application is not accompanied by the specification/claims or drawings
05 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 formality requirements under Utility Model Law have been met, if KIPO discovers that a document or information is missing, such as a power of attorney or the name of the representative of a juristic person, it will issue a notice of amendment requesting the applicant to supplement the missing data, within the specified time limit. The applicant may obtain an extension of the designated time period.

If the applicant does not comply with such a request with in the designated or any extended period, application will be nullified and then considered as having never been filled.


Basic Requirements Examination
Because there is no substantive examination concerning novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability under the non-examination system, there will be examination of the basic requirements to avoid and eliminate minimum irrational elements in the application before registration.

At the stage of examination of basic requirements the following items are examined
 
01 Where the device is not related to the shape or structure of an article or a combination of articles
02 Unregistrable Devices
ㆍ Devices which are identical or similar to the notional flay or decorations
ㆍ Devices liable to contravene public order or morality or to injure the public
    health
03 Drafting of claims
04 Unity of utility model application
05 Whether the essential parts of the description or drawings has been included in the application or whether the description is evidently unclear

Basic Requirements Examination is done in each procedural step.


Registration
The examiner shall request registration of the utility model application promptly of no lacks concerning the basic requirements can be found, but not before two month from the filing date. The reason for that is the same as in the case for the invalidation procedure.
 
Technical Evaluation
Technical evaluation is different from the substantive examination in patent. Because the subject matter is already registered in the system before technical evaluation, technical evaluation can be requested for each claim while request of the substantive examination should be requested for all claims.

Therefore the examiner shall only make registration maintenance decision or registration revocation decision for those claims which are requested.

If technical evaluation is requested not for all claims and there are reasons of revocation for a part of claims, only those claims are revoked. And for those claims where there is no reason of revocation, registration maintenance decision is made by the examiner. Each claim which is requested must technically evaluated, in case of registration revocation decision the reasons shall be written as for the case of ruling of refusal.

Technical evaluation can be requested by the applicant, owner, exclusive licensee, non-exclusive licensee, interested party and examiner of the KIPO.

Technical evaluation can be requested by the applicant, owner, exclusive licensee, non-exclusive licensee, interested party and examiner of the KIPO.

Technical evaluation can be requested at any time after the filing date. Even if the term of utility model right has expired, technical evaluation can be requested when a interest of request exists.
- Requested for registration maintenance decision.
For a utility model to be received maintenance decision of registration.
It should not fall into any of the categories prescribed in Article 25(1) of the utility model law
- Registration revocation decision

If the Examiner finds a ground for revocation of a registration utility model, a notice of preliminary revocation shall be issued; and the applicant will be given an opportunity to submit a response to the preliminary revocation with a time limit designated by the examiner, Such time limit is extendable upon the request for an extension by the applicant.

In responding to the preliminary revocation the applicant may file an argument with an correction to the specification and/or claims. If the examiner determines that the argument is without merit and the ground for revocation has not been overcome, he or she will issue a notice of revocation of registration utility model.
 

A dual application
The applicant who has first filed a patent application has the opportunity to file for the same technical feature an utility model application and establish a right for it without abandoning the patent application. On the other hand, the applicant who has first filed utility model application and wishes to prolong the term of duration of right has the opportunity to file a patent application and at the same execute his right based on the utility model.

The applicant must be the same as the applicant of the original application. The decision whether the both applicants are identical follows the usual procedure for similar cases.

Dual application can be filed at the following dates. First, it can be filed at the filing date of the patent application. Second, after filing the patent application and before the reception of decision to grant a patent or within 30 days from the date of reception of ruling of refusal. And finally, within 1 year from the date of registration of the utility model application dual application can be filed.
But if the original application is an international patent application, the following special provisions will be applied to the application.
 
01 Dual application is possible if fees prescribed in article 82(1) of patent law is paid and the translation prescribed in article 201(1) of patent law is submitted.
02 Dual application is possible after the decision that the international patent application has turned to be a patent application prescribed in article 214 of patent law.

- Non-admittance of Double patenting

It shall be noted that double patenting of patent and utility model is not allowed under the dual application system. Therefore when the utility model is firstly registered(after about 3 months) and then the patent is granted, the applicant must abandon the utility model in order to register the patent or abandon the patent and maintain the registered utility model.

Double patenting is a reason for opposition procedure or trial of invalidation but not for registration cancellation decision by technical evaluation. This is because the reason for registration cancellation decision by technical evaluation is restricted to the reasons for registration requirement at filing(with the exception of matters concerning right capacity).

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