South Korea updates

Employment & Immigration

Greater reforms for promoting work-life balance
  • South Korea
  • 06 November 2019

Significant changes to the Gender Equality Employment and Work-Life Balance Support Act, including changes to employees' rights to paternity leave and reduced working hours for child and family care, recently came into effect. Employers are strongly advised to review their existing practices and policies to ensure compliance with the act's latest amendments. Workplace disruptions are expected due to the increased benefits.


Intellectual Property

Contributed by NAM & NAM
Patent Court takes issue with ex officio examination of trial request validity
  • South Korea
  • 25 January 2021

If an invention subject to confirmation is identical to a later-registered patent, a request for a scope confirmation trial will be considered improper as this could result in the later-registered patent's validity being denied without it being subject to an invalidity trial. However, the Patent Court recently ruled that if the IP Trial and Appeal Board ex officio dismisses a scope confirmation trial for this reason but fails to give the parties an opportunity to submit an opinion, such decision would be a procedural violation.

KIPO measures to prevent online counterfeits
  • South Korea
  • 18 January 2021

According to a Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) press release, the number of reports concerning online counterfeits has increased by 204.4% year-on-year following the increase in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, KIPO has devised a number of measures to more effectively combat the rapidly increasing online distribution of counterfeit products while minimising damage to consumers.

Doctrine of equivalents: recent developments
  • South Korea
  • 11 January 2021

According to the doctrine of equivalents, even when an accused invention includes a modified element in contrast with the elements in the patented claim, if they are practically equivalent, the accused invention infringes the patented invention. Despite court rulings which make it possible for patents to be protected according to the real value of the invention, there is arguably increased uncertainty about the possibility for equivalent infringement.

Relying on KIPO to combat infringement
  • South Korea
  • 16 November 2020

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) operates a special judicial police (SJP) unit under which officials belonging to the KIPO can take charge of criminal cases relating to the infringement of IP rights. Over the past decade, the SJP has handled approximately 45,000 cases, close to 3,500 criminal charges have been made and approximately 12 million counterfeit products have been confiscated.

Treble damages now available for trademark and design infringement
  • South Korea
  • 09 November 2020

Recent amendments to the Trademark Act and the Design Protection Act have added support for treble damages in certain infringement scenarios. These amendments follow similar changes to the Patent Act and the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act relating to wilful patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation which came into effect in July 2019. This article examines the amendments in detail.


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