Substantive examination on the patent application is generally conducted by the KIPO between 12 to 18 months from the filing date of Request for Examination. However, for an accelerated examination of the patent application, the applicant can file a Request for Accelerated Examination for patent applications falling under the specific categories defined by the Korean Patent Act. In order to file a Request for Accelerated Examination of the patent application, the applicant must submit the supporting documents evidencing the subject application’s eligibility for the accelerated examination and pay the additional examination fees. If the patent application is determined to meet the requirements for an accelerated examination, substantive examination on such an application is conducted usually within 3 to 6 months from the filing date of the Request for Accelerated Examination.
The patent applications eligible for the accelerated examination are in the following circumstances:
(a) The invention described in the patent application is in actual use by a third party without authorization by the applicant;
(b) The invention described in the patent application is currently in use or is in preparation of use by the applicant;
(c) The invention in the patent applications is directly related to electronic transaction, electronic money, electronic payment, security, and authentication technology;
(d) If the applicant files a request for the prior art search to the specialized search institute designated by the KIPO at his/her own expense; or
(e) Through the Patent Prosecution Highway (“PPH”): Examination on the Korean patent application can be accelerated based upon the PCT-PPH or the examination results obtained from other countries. As of 2014, the countries (or Intellectual Property Offices) agreed on utilization of the PPH with the KIPO are as follows: Japan, United States, Denmark, United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Finland, Germany, Spain, China, Mexico, Singapore, Hungary, Austria, European Patent Office (“EPO”), Australia, Iceland, Israel, Sweden, Norway, and Portugal.