(a) Initiation of Examination
Unlike a patent or utility model application, a request for examination of a design application is not required for the initiation of SUBSTANTIVE examination. Design applications are automatically taken up for examination in the order of the filing date thereof. It generally takes about one year or so to complete the examination from the filing date. A request for expedited examination may be made once the design application has been laid-open upon to public inspection the request of the applicant and upon showing that it is presently being infringed.
(b) Requirement for Registration
To be registerable under the Design Act, a design should be meet the following requirements;
i) It should fall under the definition of a design given in the Design Act ; A design which is eligible for protection under the Design Act is defined as "the shape, pattern, color or any combination thereof in an article which produces an aesthetic impression on the sense of sight. Therefore, to be protected under the Design Act, a design should be embodied on an article. The term "article" is generally considered as a tangible, movable and independent thing.
ii) Industrial applicability ; the designs should be mass-produced in an industrial method.
iii) Novelty ; the designs should not be identical or similar to the design which was publicly known or worked or published within or outside the Republic of Korea before the application for design registration.
iv) Creativity ; the design should be a design which could not have been easily created by a person having an ordinary skill inthe relevant field from the shape, pattern, color or a combination thereof which was widely known in the Republic of Korea.
v) Furthermore, it should not be any of the unregistrable designs provided in Article 6 of the Design Act, such as designs which disturb the public order or good morals and a design which is identical with or similar to the flag, emblem of nation or public organizations.
Even if a design was published or known or worked by the applicant himself prior to the filing date of the designa pplication therefor, it is deemed to be novel provided that the design application is filed within 6 months after the disclosure was made.
Any person who desire to have his design be presumed novel must submit a written statement to that effect to KIPO at the time of filing the design application. Any document substantiating such statement should be also submitted within 30 days from the filing date