The Korean Intellectual Property Office has put out a useful guide to recent Korea Trademark Act amendments. Below is a summary of amendments effective as of April 20, 2022:
Extension of Trial Request Period. The time to request a trial against an amendment rejection or a final rejection has been extended from 30 days to three months.
Petition for Restoration of Trademarks. The grounds to restore trademark rights that have been extinguished due to invalidity of trademark procedures and non-payment of registration have been relaxed. Specifically, a trademark owner can now seek restoration for “justifiable reasons.” This is defined as emergency situations where the applicant cannot undertake trademark procedures due to hospitalization or COVID-19.
Priority claims in divided applications. For the first time, when dividing applications with a priority claim, the date of priority of the resulting applications will be automatically recognized. This rule applies only to domestic applications.
Ex-officio reexamination. If an examiner identifies obvious grounds to refuse an application for which registration is granted before its trademark right is established, the decision to register may be cancelled and the application reexamined.
There are additional amendments to the Trademark Act that will take effect February 4, 2023. These include:
Partial Refusal to register. If the refusal to register is limited to certain goods or services only, then the application will be granted as to the remaining goods or services.
Reexamination. In limited circumstances, a reexamination will be permitted after a registration rejection. This is where the reasons for rejection can be readily overcome. An example would be a conforming amendment of designated goods.