IP Newsletter | Fall 2017
Amendments to the Design Protection Act
Several amendments to the Design Protection Act ("DPA") went into effect on September 22, 2017 as follows.
1. Grace Period for Design Applications Extended to One Year
Under the previous DPA, a design would not be deemed to lose novelty over an identical or similar design as long as the application for the design was filed within six months from the date when the identical or similar design was first laid-open. To take advantage of this grace period under the previous DPA, the applicant had to claim the novelty grace period when filing (i) the application (documentation of the previous disclosure can be submitted within 30 days from the application date), (ii) a response to an office action issued by the Korean Intellectual Property Office ("KIPO"), (iii) a response to an opposition filed by a third party, or (iv) a response to an invalidation action filed by a third party.
The amended DPA extends the six month grace period to one year. The amendment also replaced (ii) "when filing a response to an office action issued by KIPO" with (ii) "up until KIPO issues a final decision whether to grant a design registration" (so an applicant can now claim the grace period at any time while the application is still pending).
2. Proof of Priority Will Be Eased
Under the DPA, in order to claim priority, an application must include drawings substantially identical to the drawings in the foreign priority application, and a copy of the priority application certified by the foreign government would also need to be submitted.
The amended DPA allows applicants to submit other documents as confirmation of the details of the foreign priority application. The amendment is designed to eventually allow applicants to use the WIPO Digital Access Service to submit priority documents (the Service allows priority documents to be securely exchanged between IP offices directly), though KIPO has yet to announce detailed guidelines regarding this process, including the list of available countries.
3. Penalties Increased for Various Offenses
The maximum fine for perjury by a witness, expert witness or interpreter under oath before the Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board ("IPTAB") has been increased from KRW 10,000,000 (approximately USD 9,000) to KRW 50,000,000 (approximately USD 45,000).
The maximum fine for falsely indicating that a design has been registered or applied for has been increased from KRW 20,000,000 (approximately USD 18,000) to KRW 30,000,000 (approximately USD 27,000).
The maximum fine for fraudulently obtaining a design registration or an IPTAB decision related to a design has been increased from KRW 20,000,000 (approximately USD 18,000) to KRW 30,000,000 (approximately USD 27,000).
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