On January 19, 2021, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced the new Patent Examination Guidelines for inventions in the field of the new digital industry. These Patent Examination Guidelines include standards for determining patentability, drafting requirements for a specification and various examples for convergence technology inventions with respect to the five core areas of the new digital industry: artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), plants, biotechnology and medicine.
Specifically, for inventions in the field of AI, the Patent Examination Guidelines provides the drafting requirements for the specification and the criteria for granting patents for each type of AI inventions and relevant examples.
For inventions in the field of IoT, to avoid unreasonably applying the existing standards for manufacturing industry-based inventions to Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-based inventions, the standards for the ICT-based inventions were revised to sufficiently consider the characteristics and effects of each IoT field of the invention.
In the field of plant industry, the Patent Examination Guidelines provides the criteria for granting patents for plant inventions prepared genome editing or CRISPR technology and relevant examples. For example, in the case where crops modified by using CRISPR gene scissor technology are disclosed, different crops modified by the same technology are acknowledged to be patentable if a new effect is obtained in the different crops.
For inventions in the field of biotechnologies, the standard for granting patents for in silico analysis or new drugs developed using computer program or AI, which has been unclear, was supplemented.
The KIPO further announced that other than the five core areas above, it will discover additional new digital industries with high potential for future growth, such as autonomous driving, intelligent robots, and cosmetics, and provide standards customized to the needs of the companies.