Software protection in South Korea

David D. Ahn DavidAhn at chollian.dacom.co.kr
Tue Dec 16 21:13:07 EST 1997

   South Korea will expand the scope of patentable subject matter
regarding computer software related inventions, starting from January 1,
1998. Korea Industrial Property Office has decided to revise the
Examiner's manual on computer software related invention to reflect a
constant demand for patent protection on computer software.

   (1) Patent will issue to computer software stored on a
computer-readable medium to provide practical protection of the
software. Under the revised manual, patent will issue to software
related programs expressed in terms of computer readable medium as well
as the software related program expressed in terms of method and
apparatus which are already accepted as proper statutory subject matter.

      The new manual provides examples of proper claim of which the
subject matter is computer-readable medium.
(i)  Computer-readable medium comprising a program for executing step A,
step B, step C, ... in a computer.
(ii)  Computer-readable medium comprising a program for operating means
A, means B, means C, ... in a computer.
(iii)  Computer-readable medium comprising a program for performing
function A, function B, function C, ... in a computer.
(iv)  Computer-readable medium comprising data with structure A,
structure B, structure C, ....
     However, drafting the claim in accordance to the above examples
will not necessarily mean that the invention will regarded as a proper
statutory subject matter.

    (2) Compared to the current Examiner's manual which considers mostly
whether the software related invention utilizes "rules of nature" to
confirm if the invention falls under the statutory subject matter, the
revised Examiner's manual considers Enablement, or industrial
applicability of the invention as a significant point to be considered.

     This revised Examiner's manual will apply only to patent
application made after January 1, 1998. Therefore, any software related
patent filed before January 1, 1998 will not be subject to the new

David D. Ahn

Patent Attorney

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