South Korea IP Overview

In Republic of Korea, also known as the South Korea, there are two major aspects related to the intellectual property right: one is industrial property including patent rights and trademark rights, and the other is copyright. The country promulgated the Trademark Act in 1949, and the Patent Act and Industrial Design Protection Act in 1961.

After joining the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has paid significant attention to IP legislations and amendments. In 1979, South Korea joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and became a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Afterwards, the country joined the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 1984 and Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the purposes of Patent Procedure in 1988. Moreover, the KIPO became a unit of the international index and an international preliminary examination.
Framework Act on Intellectual Property was enacted in 2011 in South Korea, and most of main IP laws enacted by the Legislature were amended in 2013, including Copyright Act, Trademark Act, Patent Act, Utility Model Act, Industrial Design Protection Act, Patent Attorney Act, and Invention Promotion Act.
In 2013, the concept of creative economy, which was then developed to the idea of an IP-based creative economy, was selected by the Korean government as the preferred national economic development strategy. An action plan on this has been made accordingly including education initiatives for students, technology companies’ capacity building support, extension global IP cooperation, improvement of the examination system and the like.
On January 1, 2017, the amendments to the Korean Civil Procedure Law and the Organic Law of the Court came into effect, and some cases of intellectual property infringement in Korea will be subject to unified jurisdiction.

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