English-language Patent Filing System in Korea Approved by Supreme Court

The Korean Supreme Court has, recently, issued a statement calling for the establishment of an English-language “international justice department” within the Patent Court.  The purpose is to encourage more patent cases to be filed in Korea.

The Court released a statement that note the move is designed to better support foreign investment and legal accessibility to the court by foreigners.  Under the new proposed system, which may be implemented as early as February 2016, testimonial and documentary evidence may be submitted in English. Once introduced, Korea would be the first country in East Asia to offer an English-language patent filing system.

Korea has signed on to international treaties allowing patent infringement and other type of cases to be filed in member countries.  Opening up the possibility of handling patent cases in the English language would, according to the Supreme Court,  encourage more companies and individuals to file in Korea.  I am doubtful, but support this move by the Supreme Court.

One major issue is that Korea is not considered a neutral venue by many foreign companies for matters that may damage the business of chaebols (Korean conglomerates). Thus, we doubt that we will see, anytime soon, a significant increase in patent filings or disputes handled in Korea.

What do you think?
Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty.

Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw. Sean’s profile may be found at: Sean C. Hayes

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