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  • Design Protection for User Interface Images

    According to the Korean Design Protection Law, designs such as icons displayed on a screen of a computer, mobile phone, or PDA can also be exclusively protected. In other words, when a user interface image design, for example, figures displayed on display units such as liquid crystal displays of various products, is temporarily implemented on a product, the product with the user interface image acquires a design registration under the Design Protection Law, and accordingly, the design registrant can exercise an exclusive right for the design. In this case, the title of the product may be "Computer Monitor with User Interface Image," "Mobile Phone with Graphics User Interface (GUI)," "Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) Displaying Icons," etc.

  • Major revisions to Patent/Utility Model Law as of July 1, 2007

    (1) The requirement of Article 42, Paragraph 3 of the Korean Patent Law regarding the drafting of the Detailed Description of an Invention has been eased. In the past, the Detailed Description had to include sections for the objectives, structures, and effects of the invention. According to the revised law, however, an invention can be protected without the need to separately state the objectives, structures, and effects thereof.

    (2) A provision for late filing of the claims of a specification has been newly established (Article 42, Paragraph 5 of the Korean Patent Law). In the past, the claims had to be included in an application upon filing of the application. In the revised law, however, the claims may be omitted when filing the application and be submitted within one and a half years from the filing date of the application.

  • Key Points for Translating Foreign Specifications into Korean

    Since the Korean language has a quite different structure from other languages such as English, Chinese, German, French, etc., the translation of a foreign specification into Korean should be carefully performed. Occasionally, Office Actions are issued due to translation errors, and in some cases, such translations errors cannot be corrected. This problem appears because of not only the translation skills of Korean agents but also the specific technical details of a foreign application. Therefore, foreign specifications provided to Korean agents should include as many short sentences as possible in order to reduce the translation time and minimize the occurrence of translation errors.

  • Interpretation of Means-Plus-Function Claims in Korea

    According to a decision of the Supreme Court, the protection scope of an invention is limited to the embodiments clearly specified in the detailed description and drawings when means-plus-function features are exceptionally allowed. [Decision No. 2005 Heu7354, appeal to the Supreme Court]

  • Application Drafting

    When the specification of an application refers to contents of other applications (i.e., published applications), even if the specification includes a statement that "the contents of other applications are assumed to be included in the specification of the present application," it is not considered from this statement that the contents of other applications are incorporated in the specification of the present application.

  • Scope of Amendment

    Basic rule: an amendment is allowed within the subject matter of the specification or drawings originally attached to the application. In other words, new matter cannot be added by an amendment.


    (1) Since the Abstract is not part of the specification or drawings, it does not belong to the originally attached specification or drawings on which a determination regarding the addition or non-addition of a new matter is based.

    (2) When an amendment to complete an incomplete invention is made, the amendment is considered as an addition of new matter.

    (3) When informalities or unclear statements are corrected, an amendment sufficiently considered not to depart from the subject matter of the originally attached specification or drawings is not an addition of a new matter.

    (4) When the correct statement from among at least two conflicting statements in the specification or drawings is obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of the subject matter of the originally attached specification or drawings, an amendment made to match the wrong statement with the right statement is not an addition of new matter.

    (5) When an amendment to the Detailed Description of the Invention according to the subject matter described in the drawings or claims is obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art, the amendment is not an addition of new matter.

    (6) When an amendment to change a numerical range, an amendment to change a component of the invention from a generic component to a species, an amendment to the drawings, an amendment to add an embodiment, and an amendment to add or change objectives or effects of the invention are not obvious from the subject matter of the specification or drawings originally attached to the application, these amendments correspond to addition of new matter.

  • Judicial Precedents on Damage Injunctions even in Export Actions

    The plaintiff, that is, the owner of a patent for a photoconductive drum for laser printers, has produced and supplied photoconductive drums to laser printer manufacturers. Accordingly, laser printers and cartridges having these patented products manufactured by the plaintiff have been produced and sold not only domestically but also overseas. However, the defendant has worked the plaintiff's invention and produced and sold photoconductive drums in Korea and even exported them to the U.S.A., and thus infringed the patent right of the plaintiff. The infringing product of the defendant has the same technical features as the patented product of the plaintiff and is completely compatible with the patented product of the plaintiff. This resulted in direct infringing of the defendant and indirect infringement through cartridges including the patented products of the plaintiff sold on the domestic and U.S.A. markets. Therefore, even though the infringing products of the defendant were not approved by respective laser printer manufacturers and even though some of the defendant's products were exported to the U.S.A., it has been found that the plaintiff has likely suffered damages due to the defendant's actions. That is, it is considered that the plaintiff suffered damages in proportion to the gains generated by the infringing actions of the defendant, and the appellate court did not err in determining that the entire amount of the gains of the defendant was the amount of damages incurred by the plaintiff. (Summary of Decision No. 2006 Da1831 as of October 12, 2006, appeal to the Supreme Court)