The KIPO announced that they had amended patent examination guidelines for biotechnology to enhance examination quality by reflecting recent technical developments and maintaining coherent examination policy. New guidelines have been put in force in February after amending the examination guidelines for life science in January.
In the field of biotechnology, one of the major technical fields in which we have been seeing rapid developments in 21th century, the needs for amending the guidelines reflecting recent trends have been raised as patent applications and PCT international searches on the field are expected to expand rapidly due to the rapid growth of the field in Korea which has fourth market share in both patent applications and PCT international searches.
Patent examination guidelines for biotechnology, which were made in 1998 and amended 4 times in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2006, will include various cases and examination guidelines on the stateoftheart technology such as patent applications related to chipbased biotechnology, and specific examples to help applicants easily understand the examination guidelines.
Major amendments are as follows:
① Novelty on known genes or proteins which are limited in their functions: novelty is denied when known genes or proteins are claimed in itself even when the invention include novel use of them, and an example of the standard description of specification on the novel use is included.
② Inventive step on polynucleotide section or antisense: general primers, probes or antisenses related to known genes should prove very salient effects to have inventive step.
③ Unity of an invention which claims a plurality of known genes or proteins as markers: it is explicitly stipulated to determine the inventive step considering structural contribution on the identical or similar technical features through the addition of specific examples.
④ Inventive step on the known species which belong to the same kind of other microbes having known utility: examples and explanations are added to determine novelty and obviousness through clear comparison when distinction with known microbes by limiting through applicantprovided names or deposition ids is ambiguous.
In amending the guidelines, the recent patent issues on biotechnology have been timely reflected including lots of specific cases so that the coherence in the patent examination and international search can be maintained and applicants can anticipate the result of examination more specifically, said an official of the KIPO.