Protecting Software through Patents
- Newly revised software examination standards to come into force on July 1, 2014 -
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced new revisions to invention examination standards that, starting July 1, will allow for the granting of computer software patents.

These revisions reflect the software industry's desire to safeguard its business interests by protecting various types of software through patents.

Software technology has recently undergone intensive development. It is now fully integrated within the medical and automotive industries, and many of its incarnations-certain mobile applications, for example-have become nearly indispensable.

However, these computer programs were not previously eligible for patent protection. As a result, rejected software patent applications averaged around 600 per year.

New revisions include ▲ renaming the examination standards, ▲ allowing computer programs and other comparable items to be classified as inventions, and ▲ clarifying the requirements for software patentability.

The details of the examination standard revisions are as follows.

① Examination standards titled ˇ°Inventions Related to Computersˇ± are to be renamed ˇ°Inventions Related to Computer Software.ˇ±

② Software that satisfies all requirements will be recognized as product inventions and issued patents in accordance with the Patent Act.

③ Applications, platforms, operating systems, and other types of software that vary in name but are functionally similar to computer programs will be considered patentable.

④ Requirements and standards for granting software patents are to be clearly established in detailed, easy-to-understand terms.

<Obtained from the website of KIPO (http://www.kipo.go.kr/kpo/eng); posted on June 27, 2014>