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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Mai 31, 2017 (Newsletter Issue 10/17)
South Korea
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Design Protection Act Amended

Several amendments to the Design Protection Act were published on March 21, 2017. The amendments will come into effect on September 22, 2017.

Important changes are the following:

- Grace period for design applications extended
The amended act extends the six-month grace period to one year. The amendment also replaces the text "when filing a response to an office action issued by KIPO" with "until KIPO issues a final decision whether to grant a design registration". As such, an applicant will be able to claim the grace period at any time while the application is pending.

- Proof of priority eased
Under the existing act, in order to claim priority an application must include drawings that are substantially identical to the drawings in the foreign priority application and a copy of the priority application certified by the foreign government.
Under the amended act, KIPO will accept certain other documents to confirm the details of the foreign priority application.

- Increased penalties
Several fines will be increased such as the fine for perjury by a witness, expert witness or interpreter under oath before the Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board (IPTAB), the fine for falsely indicating that a design has been registered or applied and the fine for fraudulently obtaining a design registration or an IPTAB decision related to a design.