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11 San Diego International Law Journal 441 (Spring 2010)


The purpose of this paper will be to examine Korean patent policy as exemplified by its patent legislation and the activities of Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). Part II will take a brief look at the rationale underpinning Korea's confidence in the power of the patent system to stimulate economic growth. Part III of the paper will look at the Korean Patent Act as an example of strong, comprehensive patent legislation that fully complies with international standards and responds well to the perceived needs of patent applicants. In order to provide a basis of comparison, reference will be made wherever applicable to similar or divergent provisions in the United States Patent Act. Part III will examine one of the highlights of Korean patent legislation, the Korean Invention Promotion Act, which focuses national attention on the promotion of patentable technology and provides a system of compensation for employee inventors. Part IV of the paper will turn to the activities of KIPO and its sister agencies. Part V will examine the impact that Korean patent policy has had on Korean economic growth as well as on Korea's place in the world patent community. It will posit that the Korean recipe for success--the main ingredients of which are a strong law, an active patent office with a broad mandate, and a commitment to using the patent system to build capacity--is a transferable one, and it will therefore suggest that Korean policy may be well suited to serve as a model for other emerging countries wishing to use patents to promote economic development.