The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has announced that revised Intellectual Property laws will enter into effect on 1 July 2001. Various changes having an impact on the prosecution of patent and design applications are discussed below:

Patent Law: Priority rights: Priority can be amended or added up to 16 months from the priority date. It will not be necessary to submit a certified priority document for priority applications filed in certain designated States. Amendments: Voluntary amendment can now be applied for ?before transmittal of allowance of grant of a patent? or ?before transmittal of the first official action (preliminary rejection)?. Previously the term for amendment was 5 months from the application/priority date. The scope of permissible amendments has also been changed. Amendments are now permissible provided that new matter is not added to the specification or drawings (previously, provided that the ?gist was not changed?). The extent of amendment after a final official action or final rejection will be limited to narrowing the scope of claims, correcting typographical errors, or clarifying ambiguous descriptions.

Design Law: Miscellaneous changes include: extension of the opposition period after publication of unexamined design application; adoption of a new novelty system; exclusion of functional designs from the scope of protection of design rights; and a prohibition against division of design applications for a set of articles.