Filing a patent infringement lawsuit in South Korea requires plaintiffs to submit an application with the Central District Court in Seoul & four district courts in Daejeon, Daegu, Busan & Gwangju. The responsibility for the settlement of IP disputes in South Korea lies with specialized courts & their branches located throughout the country.
Resolving Disputes in the Republic of Korea: Applicable Law & Venue
When it comes to IP dispute resolution in the Republic of Korea, choosing an applicable law & venue depends on the location of defendants & a country where a violation occurred. Irrespective of those two factors, plaintiffs can submit an application to the Seoul-based Central Court requesting that their case be heard there. Proving a patent infringement requires patent holders to provide evidence at the time a lawsuit is filed.
Cases involving an infringement of patent rights are normally reviewed by a panel composed of 3 adjudicators. The court in Seoul has some twenty experts assisting adjudicators in rendering decisions.
Republic of Korea: Violation of Patent Rights
Even if no violation is detected, it may still be established by using the DOE (the Doctrine of Equivalents). South Korean courts apply the DOE to establish:
- if processes or products violating a patent holder’s rights possess features which are identical to those contained in a patent application;
- if processes or products whose description is contained in a patent application are different from those that allegedly violate a patent holder’s rights.
Pursuant to South Korean legislation, copyright infringement is referred to as an act of creating, selling, or importing products that can be used exclusively for patented products. Individuals using inventions without knowing that they’re patented (i.e. being unaware of patent registration in the Republic of Korea), are entitled to get a non-exclusive patent license in the Republic of Korea.
On average, it can take up to a year and a half to settle a patent dispute in the Republic of Korea.
Patent holders (or holders exclusive licenses) are entitled to monetary compensation if it’s proven that they’re sustaining financial losses due to the violation of their patent rights. Courts can also award fines for violation of patent rights or exclusive licenses, thus enhancing the effectiveness of patent protection in the Republic of Korea.
IP Dispute Resolution in the Republic of Korea: ADR
The two most popular forms of ADR in the Republic of Korea include arbitration & mediation. The main body responsible for handling disputes related to the infringement of TM, patent & design rights in the rEpublic of Korea is the KIPO (Korean IP Office).
The Commercial Arbitration Council handles trade-related disputes (domestic & international ones) & disputes involving violation of patent rights. If their rights are violated, patentees can also submit an application to the KTC (Korean Trade Commission).
When it comes to disputes involving imports/exports of goods, patent holders can file a claim with the KTC. The KTC is empowered to impose sanctions, fines or bans on parties involved in non-fair trade deals or import of counterfeit goods.
Seeking to resolve an IP dispute in the Republic of Korea? Need advice on IP protection in the Republic of Korea? Why not contact IQ Decision UK?