8.2.1 Korean Intellectual Property Office and the Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board
The KIPO is under the management of the Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy and is responsible for handling administrative affairs regarding patents, utility models, designs and trademarks and conducting examinations and trials thereon.4 It also revises laws and establishes policies relating to industrial property rights. The KIPO was initially established as the Patent Bureau on May 23, 1949, and was renamed the KIPO on March 12, 1977, along with the launch of the Tribunal and the Appellate Tribunal under its management. Subsequently, in March 1998, the Tribunal and the Appellate Tribunal were integrated into the Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board (IPTAB).
The IPTAB is a special administrative appeals institution established to address disputes over the creation, change, extinguishment and scope confirmation of industrial property rights (i.e., patents, utility models, designs and trademarks). It is largely responsible for trials against rejections of applications, trials to invalidate registrations and trials to confirm the scope of rights. As will be discussed later in Section 18.104.22.168, administrative appeal procedures were simplified into a single-step process with the establishment of the Patent Court and as the Tribunal and Appellate Tribunal were integrated into the newly installed IPTAB. The IPTAB has three divisions: Appeals boards, a Litigation division and a Trial Policy division. The Appeals boards handle various trials and appeals related to the rejection of applications, the invalidation and cancellation of registrations, corrections, and the confirmation of the scope of industrial property rights granted in connection with patents, utility models, designs and trademarks. Consisting of a panel of three administrative judges, each board is in charge of a specific area. The Litigation division represents the Commissioner of the KIPO in revocation suits in the Patent Court. The Trial Policy division oversees general affairs relating to the operation of the IPTAB.