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Korean IP Environment
(The importance of prior occupation in the Korean technology market )
Korea, one of the poorest nations in 1950’s, has grown to be the world's top 10 economic power and the fourth-largest patent powerhouse as the indices show below. With these remarkable growth, Korea has emerged to be a greatly important country in establishing strategies for the intellectual property rights for many global companies.
In addition, Korea is important as the pilot market of high-tech products and as the pilot territory for protection of the intellectual property rights. Korean consumers are well-known for their sensitiveness in trends and demand for high quality of products. Therefore, Korean market has already gained worldwide fame as a test-bed for new products and technologies, and it has been established as a formula that the products Korean consumers choose will be successful in the world market. For this reason, some multinational companies launch their products and secure patents in the Korean market initially.
The Merits of Patent Application in Korea
Other advantages that overseas companies can enjoy by applying for patent in Korea are quick and high-quality examination.

For over 20 years, the Korean Intellectual Property Office(KIPO) has been employing many R&D experienced examiners, some of whom have engineering doctorate degrees (approximately 45% of total examiners, around 400 in 2011). It has helped KIPO to offer and maintain very high quality in examining patent applications. Also, KIPO’s efforts to speed up the patent examination process has paid off. Now, it only takes in average of 13.3 months to complete patent examination as of year 2013, and in case of accelerated examination, it only takes in average of 2-3 months from filing to results.

Furthermore, South Korea has executed the Patent Prosecution Highway(PPH) with other IP5: the United States, China, Europe, and Japan. In addition to these IP5, it has executed the PPH with Portugal, Israel, Sweden and Spain. Therefore, applying for a patent in Korea also allows global companies to determine the patentability of their technology in other major countries more quickly and more accurately.