On November 30, 2020, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced that the number of articles for the PSES will be expanded from three to seven as of December 1, 2020.
Designs of products that have short commercial life cycles and are easily imitated, such as clothing, textile piece goods, artificial and natural sheet material, and stationery and office equipment which belong in Locarno Classes 2, 5, and 19, were examined only in terms of filing formalities and the basic creativeness of the designs under the PSES. Such designs were typically granted registration quickly without being examined to determine whether they are similar to prior designs. As of December 1, 2020, designs for foodstuffs, personal belongings, packages and containers for the transport or handling of goods, and articles of adornment which belong in Locarno Classes 1, 3, 9 and 11, are now also examined under the PSES. Currently, the proportion of design applications filed based on the PSES is around 20%. The KIPO expects the proportion to increase to 35% as a result of the expansion of articles.
Expedited examination will now automatically be applied to all applications for designs under Locarno Classes 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 11, and 19, allowing the applications to be granted registration within 10 days from the date on which the applications were filed so long as the filing formalities and basic creativeness requirements are met.
The expansion of articles is expected to help businesses secure design registrations efficiently in Korea.