New expedited examination procedure to come into force

A new expedited examination procedure for trademark applications is due to come into force on April 1 2009. The expedited procedure was introduced by the implementing regulations of the Trademark Act, which came into effect on December 31 2008.

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has yet to provide guidelines or regulations concerning the expedited examination procedure. However, based on previous KIPO practice, it is expected that an applicant will be able to request an expedited examination for an application filed before April 1 2009 as long as the application is pending as of April 1.

KIPO has announced that following a request for an expedited examination, it will issue a decision within approximately two months. Considering that it currently takes six to eight months for KIPO to reach a decision, the new system should help to expedite the examination process significantly.

An applicant may request an expedited examination where:  
  • the applicant is using or planning to use the mark in connection with all the goods and/or services covered by the application; or
  • a third party is using the mark at issue without any justification.
Therefore, applicants wishing to benefit from the expedited examination procedure are advised to limit the goods and/or services covered by the application to those for which the mark is or will actually be used. 

Sung-Nam Kim and Gavin Healy, Kim & Chang, Seoul

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