We are Korean patent attorneys and a attorney-at law in APLUS INT'L PATENT & LAW FIRM in Seoul, South Korea. APLUS was established in 1990, formerly named JM PARK INT'L PATENT &LAW FIRM, and changed its name to APLUS INT'L PATENT & LAW FIRM in 2014. APLUS specializes in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Electric, Electronic, Semiconductor, Telecommunication, Internet, Business Method and E-Commerce related inventions
for foreign clients. APLUS's intellectual property practice is the work of patent attorneys specialized in patent, trademark, industrial design, and related intellectual property matters. APLUS provides a full range of services related to intellectual property such as representation in litigation, patent and trademark prosecution and alternative dispute resolution, business transactions and counselling. APLUS promises
SECOND TO NONE service to FOREIGN CLIENTS who want to have their inventions protected in Korea and ST is FIT TO SERVE you.
* Firm's professional area
(1) Biochemistry, Biology and
Chemistry Patent Expert
(2) Electric, Electronic,
Business Method, E-Commerce, Internet,
Software, Computer Other Electronic related Patent
1. Patent Applications
2. Novelty Services
3. Validity Services
4. Infringement Services
5. Patent Watches
6. Patent Licensing
7. Related Intellectual Property Services
Patent application services are provided by patent attorneys with biochemistry,
electronic and industrial engineering degree. When pursuing patent
protection you need someone who understands your technology. We can fit this
need and you will be satisfied with our service.
Patent searches are conducted and opinions rendered to determine the
patentability of your invention. Novelty searching assists you in making a well
informed decision when deciding whether to pursue patent protection for your
Validity searches and opinions are used to determine a patents validity with
respect to prior art. Validity searching requires a unique understanding
of the technology searched. Areas that were searched by the examiner during the
application process as well as related areas that were not searched, must be
reviewed. Finding classes which are relevant to a patent and were not searched
previously requires more than a rudimentary understanding of the technology and
the patent process. Other art such as publications should be searched as well.
This is when you need a technical attorney who understands your technology to
help find the needle in the haystack. When accused of infringement, the first
step is to test the validity of the patent. Should prior art (patents,
publications etc.) be found that render the patent invalid then the patent is
unenforceable. The unique focus on biochemistry and biology, software computer
and internet patents is why APLUS is sought out to perform validity searches
Infringement searches and opinions are conducted to determine if someone is
infringing your patent or if you are infringing anothers. Legal opinions can be
useful to help determine whether or not your infringing, when being accused of
Keep an eye on competitor's patents as they issue. If you would like to be
updated about certain patents, industries, or companies, each week as the
patents are issued, we suggest patent watches. Patent watch examples: Patents
issued with specific inventors, Patents assigned to certain companies, Patents
in the same class as your own inventions or research, Patents which may be
claiming the same subject matter and many more possibilities exist. We will
always work with you to meet your needs
Patent licensing agreements are provided, exclusive, non-exclusive licenses,
assignments, both simple and complex.
(1) Comprehensive Assistance Most individuals do not know what is protectable,
and which means of protection is best. Guidance and a complete individual or
company review is provided.
(2) Software Copyright.
Software copyright registration is provided. Counseling with regard to
copyright issues such as: ownership, exclusive rights of the copyrighted work,
works for hire, licensing, and various other copyright issues.
(3) Licensing/ Assignments/ Contracts.
Licensing and assignments for patents, copyrights, and other software,
computer, and internet related technologies is provided. Counseling
on web site development contracts, database access agreements, and other
related issues is also provided.
Trademark and servicemark registration services are provided. Obtaining
trademark or servicemark registration for your domain name is also provided.
A hi-tech area such as
Biochemistry Biology & Chemistry, Telecommunication Semiconductor
Business-Method E-Commerce Internet Software Computer & Electronics demands
a greater understanding of the technology involved. The firm's focus on hi-tech
area means that we keep abreast of the latest legal and technical hi-tech
1.What can be patented?
Only "inventions" are patentable. An invention must be new, useful and involve an inventive step compared to the closest prior art. A new and unobvious product, process or apparatus will generally be patentable; a new, unobvious improvement to an existing
product, process, apparatus also can be patented. However, particular attention should be paid to the certain fields: computer software and living matter. Computer software itself is not regarded as invention insofar as they are claimed as such. Instead, machines, processes of manufacture or control processes controlled by a computer program may be patented. For the inventions relating to the living
matters, sometimes their deposit with specified depository institute before filing the application is required.
2.What cannot be patented?
Most types of subject matter are potentially patentable, although some areas are excluded. Such areas include medical treatment procedures practised on the human body, marketing or business plans, teaching methods, hair dressing, playing musical instruments, etc.
However, materials and instruments used in these arts may be patentable. Besides, if the invention is harmful to the public health or contrary to public order or morality, a patent shall not be granted.
3. Who can apply for a patent?
The right to apply for a patent belongs initially to the inventor(s), although there are exceptions. If an inventor sells the rights to an invention to another party, then that party may apply for the patent. If an invention is made during the course of an inventor's employment, the employer may automatically
acquire the right to apply for the patent, although not always. If an inventor dies or is incapacitated, the right to apply may vest in the inventor's executor, administrator or other representative.
4. May I always exploit my own invention when I got a patent?
Not always. A patent does not necessarily entitle the patent owner to make, use or sell the patented invention; it only allows the patent owner to prevent others from doing so. To make, to use or to sell one's own invention may infringe another patent. For example, if an invention
is an improvement to a prior invention, making the improved product may infringe a patent for the original product. Infringement searches can be conducted to investigate this possibility.
5. What application is deserved grant of patent when two or more applications to the same invention are filed?
If two or more parties apply to patent the same invention, Korean Industrial Property Office (KIPO) will award only one patent. That is to say, patent will be awarded to whichever party files the first patent application, regardless of who made
the invention first. It is therefore important not to delay filing a patent application.
6. Is it necessary to conduct prior art search before filing a patent application?
When time permits, it is always wise to conduct a search before applying for a patent. If the invention has been disclosed, anywhere in the world, in a previous patent or publication, then the invention may not be patentable. The purpose of a search is to determine whether
such patents or publications exist. Since the cost of a search usually is far less than the cost of a patent application, a search enables an inventor to spend a relatively small amount of money before deciding whether to spend a larger amount on a patent application. Worldwide searches are impractical in the light of cost and time, so a limited search is usually made in only one or several few counties.
A search is not mandatory. If you prefer, you may skip the search and file a patent application immediately. Some inventors have no time to do a search, because they need to file quickly, due to an approaching deadline. Computer database searches can also be used quickly and relatively inexpensively. A search also has disadvantages. The search itself costs money, and if your invention is patentable, the total cost of obtaining the
patent will be slightly greater with the search than without it.
NO search will "guarantee" the patentability of any invention. The object of conducting search is to make a reasonable assessment of the prospects for obtaining worthwhile patent protection. Search results are also useful in preparing a patent application.
7. What is the prosecution of a patent application through to the grant of a patent?
Most patent offices employ technically trained Examiners who scrutinize patent applications for novelty, inventive step and compliance with formal requirements. Particular attention is given to the wording of the claims. More often than not, Examiners raise rejections
that are usually answered by amendment of the application, argument, or both. Sometimes, Examiners' rejections are fatal to the patent application, but appeal procedure is available. If the Examiner does not ultimately found any reason for the rejection, it is allowed and a patent grant fee must be paid. Grant of the patent usually follows within about 2-3 months after the payment of the grant fee. When the patent
is published in the official gazette, any party can raise an opposition against the patent in a predetermined period of time, e. g., three months in Korea.
It usually takes two or more years after filing to prosecute an application through to the grant of a patent, although it varies depending on the technical field.
8. May I disclose the invention before I apply patent for it?
It is best to keep your invention strictly confidential, at least until you file a patent application. If your invention is disclosed in any publication in anywhere in the world, and more than six months passes, the invention is no longer patentable. If you file a patent application
after your invention is disclosed, this fact should be stated in the application at the time of filing and the relevant document should be submitted within 30 days from the filing date.
If you are interested in foreign patents, be aware that the rules in most foreign countries are more strict and you must file foreign application within six months from the disclosure date in Korea irrespective of claiming convention
priority. In the U. S., one year grace period instead of six months is permitted and the public disclosure is less strictly allowed
9. What happens if my patent application is rejected?
You should keep in mind that a rejection is normal. The Examiner fully expects that you will respond and rebut the rejection. The Official Action sets a deadline for response, usually two months, though this deadline may be extended by up to two more months (for the domestic applicant) or three more months(for
the foreign applicant), by payment of a government fee. If the Examiner rejects the application because of prior art, it may be possible to amend the claims to restrict its scope to overcome the rejection. Sometimes, the Examiner makes an error in interpreting a prior patent, or misunderstands the invention. In these cases, it may be enough simply to explain the error to the Examiner in
Also, keep in mind that the Examiner is trained to analyze the words of the claims, because it is the claims that determine the scope of the patent. If the claims are reasonably broad (as they will be if the patent attorney is doing a good job), the Examiner is more likely to find prior art which contains the features recited in the claims.
10. Why should my company build a patent portfolio if my company does not want to sue others for infringement?
One reason is patent cross-licensing. Competitors often take a license under each other's patents to avoid litigation between them, especially if each has a respectable portfolio. Another reason is to dissuade others from suing you for fear of counter
suits. A third reason is to publish your company's developments to prevent other companies from later obtaining patents for those developments. A final reason is insurance for the future in case of changes in goals or marketplace.
11. Can I enforce a Korean patent in other countries?
No. Korean patents are only valid in Korea. To obtain patent rights in foreign countries, you must apply for patents in those countries. Choosing the countries in which to seek patents depends on many circumstances, including where your competitors may manufacture and sell. The only foreign activity that Korean Patent Law covers is when
a company manufactures a product in a foreign country using a manufacture process covered by a Korean patent and attempts to import that product into Korea, to use or sell that product in Korea.
Foreign patent application should be filed before the invention is made publicly available anywhere. In most countries, for a patent to be valid, the application must have been filed before the particulars were publicly
disclosed and/or disclosed in a printed document or publication anywhere in the world. You can enjoy the benefit of the filing date of earlier application in one country by filing application in other foreign countries within one year from the earlier filing date with claiming Paris convention priority.
12. Are all patent applications subject to substantive examination?
No. Only patent applications for which substantive examination is request in written are subject to substantive examination. The examination request should be made during five years from the filing date (international filing date for the PCT applications). If the request
is not made by the due date, the application shall be deemed to be withdrawn. The request can be made either by the applicant or by third party.
13. Is dependent development a defense to patent infringement?
No. Independent development does not negate patent infringement. In case of copyright law, independent creation is a complete defense to infringement. Copying is not an element of patent infringement, which is one of the reasons patent protection is so powerful. An accused
infringer may, however, use lack of knowledge of a patent to avoid a charge of willful infringement and criminal punishment.
14. After filing a patent application, can I modify it to reflect changes or improvements made after the filing?
Although some minor changes may be made to the application as originally filed, the law prohibits adding new matter.
Time when applicant can make amendments to the application is restricted: within 15 months form the filing date or priority date; at
the time of filing of request for examination; when responding to the office action; within 30 days from the date of demand for trial against a decision of refusal; and submitting a written answer to the opposition.
If the amendment contains new matter, a new additional application may be filed for the new matter and the invention disclosed in the application as originally filed, via domestic priority
system as described below.
15. When I can use domestic priority system?
Applicant for earlier patent application(s) can apply for additional new application by adding to or partially changing the invention within one year from the earlier filing date while enjoying the benefit of the earlier filing date. It is called 'domestic priority system' compared to 'convention priority
system'.Domestic priority system may be used when changes to the earlier application contains new matter, or to add any supplemental data to chemistry or pharmaceutical invention applications, or to combine several species invention' applications to a generic invention application.
16. May I prohibit third party from making, using or selling my invention before I get a patent for my invention?
No. You can prohibit others from making, using or selling your invention only after you got a patent for your invention. But the Korean Patent Act provides a provisional protection for a laid-open published application, which enables you can
recover a compensation amounting to license royalty of the patented invention, if granted. For this makes possible, you should notice the third party that you apply for patent for your invention and that the application is laid-open published.
17. May I provide Examiner with any information that the invention lacks novelty and/or inventive step?
Yes. Once the application is laid-open (published before the substantive examination) , any party can submit informations that the invention lacks novelty and/or inventive step together with related evidences. After the examination completes, Examiner
shall advice the submitter whether the informations are used or not for the examination.
18. If my invention relates to biotechnology, should I pay more particular attention than other field inventions? If so, what are they?
Yes. There are two possible cases:
a) If the application contains at least one sequence or partial sequence of at least ten nucleotides or at least four amino acids, applicants are strongly recommended
to observe the standard presentation rules stated in the KIPO's Biotechnology Invention Examination Standards. As of 1 January 1999 (not finalized yet), the representation of such sequences of nucleotide and amino acids will be obligatory.
b) If the invention concerns a microbiological process or the product thereof involving the use or micro-organism which is not available to the public and which cannot be described
in the application in such a manner as to enable the invention to be carried out by a person skilled in the art, the applicant should deposit a culture of the micro-organism in a certain depositary institution not later than the filing date of the application.
In Korea, only those commercially available or depository-deposited cultures of the micro-organism are recognized as being available to the
public. Keep in mind that the fact that the micro-organisms are described in the publication or can be furnished by an individual person is usually not persuade the Examiner of the availability thereof to the public.
19. Advance laid-open publication and Preferential examination.
A Korean application, unless it has been withdrawn or abandoned, is laid-open published as soon as possible after the expiry of a period of eighteen months from the filing date or from the earliest priority date.
However, it may be published earlier upon request in written by the applicant. The applicant may request the advance
laid-open publication for seeking the provisional protection conferred by the laid-open application.
The application for which request for examination has been filed is subject to the substantive examination by priority of the earliest date of requesting examination. The applicant, however, under certain conditions, can file a motion for a preferential examination in which an application is examined
faster than usual.
20. What is Patent Cooperation Treaty ("PCT")?
The PCT provides a simplified procedure enabling Korean citizens or residents to obtain patents in many countries. A single English or Japanese language PCT application may be filed and assessed as to patentability on a preliminary basis, before the applicant has to decide whether to incur the additional cost of proceeding with individual
patent applications in the various foreign countries of interest.
21. What is Patent Cooperation Treaty ("PCT")?
A single English language application can be filed in the European Patent Office ("EPO") designating any or all of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or the United Kingdom. The EPO examines the application
and, if the applicant is successful, grants a European patent. The patent rights must then be perfected in the individual European countries of interest by filing translations, paying national fees, etc.
22. How can trade secrets be protected?
Unlike patent protection, no formal governmental recognition is required to obtain trade secret protection.
Trade secret protection is, in many ways, opposite to patent protection. For example, to obtain a valid patent, the invention must be fully disclosed in a patent application, which becomes
public as part of the patent grant process. However, trade secret protection exists only if the information in question remains secret.
Trade secret protection is inappropriate if routine examination of any apparatus, process or other subject matter embodying the trade secret will reveal the "secret". If a trade secret owner inadvertently allows the "secret" to slip out, then trade secret protection is lost.
Essentially, the law enables a trade secret owner to prevent others from exploiting the secret, if they obtain the secret through fraud, theft or breach of some obligation of confidence which they owe to the trade secret owner.
1. Can I "register" a trademark before I'm ready to use it?
Yes, You may register if somebody is not registered the same or a similar trademark, and your mark satisfies all other requirements. Then, you will have all rights in the trademark, even if somebody subsequently attempts to use it before you are ready to use. However, if you still do not use the mark for
three(3) consecutive years after the registration without any justified reason, any party may request to cancel the trademark by trial.
2. Do I have to register in every Korean Province?
No. there are no provincial trademark registration systems. We have a single, federal, registration system which is exclusively administered by the Korean Industry Property Office.
3. What is the difference between the encircled "R" and the "TM", and may I use these symbols?
No. there are no provincial trademark registration systems. We have a single, federal, registration system which is exclusively administered by the Korean Industry Property Office.
4. How often must a trade mark registration be renewed in Korea?
In Korea, a trade mark registration has an initial life of 10 years from the date of registration and is renewable for further consecutive periods of 10 years thereafter