Worldwide: South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey: Design Law Updates

Significant recent changes to the local design laws in the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey, are discussed below. Each of these may help design owners expand the range of protectable designs and of available design protections.

South Korea—Broadened Scope of Designs Eligible for Registration

The Korean Intellectual Property Office recently amended its examination guidelines for registered designs, making it easier to meet the design "creativity" eligibility requirement. Effective January 1 2017, these guidelines require examiners to base any rejections citing lack of creativity on substantial evidence, and not on mere contentions that the design at issue comprises recognized geometric shapes or other assertedly minimalist shapes or patterns. This evidence could comprise cited prior art designs or evidence that the design reflects ways of expression that are common in the particular design field.

These changes follow analogous changes in 2016 to allow registration of computer screen icons and other digital graphics projected onto a fixed surface. As in the U.S., a design registration in South Korea can only issue for an actual article of manufacture or portion thereof, so the portion of the article where the icon is displayed must be identified in the application drawings.

With these changes, the recent trend in the Republic of Korea is to expand the range of registrable designs. Clients seeking international design registrations for new and novel designs, especially for digital graphics, should consider whether these changes can help enhance their international design filing strategies.

NOTE---Just prior to publication of our newsletter, we learned that additional amendments to the Design Protection Act in the Republic of Korea were published in March and will be effective in September. Probably the most significant amendment extends the grace period to file after a public disclosure of the design from six months to one year. Moreover, the grace period exception can now be invoked at any time during pendency of the application, instead of only up to the time a response to the first action is filed. This amendment will make design filings in Korea more accessible and will help temper the effect of public disclosures of the design that are only discovered after the application has been examined.

Taiwan—Grace Period for Filing Expanded

Design registrations in Taiwan were largely subject to an "absolute novelty" standard whereby any prior public disclosure of the design before filing destroyed novelty unless the disclosure fit within narrow exceptions. These exceptions were: Printed publications disclosing the design, display of the design at a Government-recognized exhibition, or a disclosure without the applicant's consent. Moreover, even if one of these exceptions applied, the grace period permitted for filing was only six months from the first disclosure date.

Recent amendments to the Patent Act effective for applications filed after May 1, 2017 extend this grace period to twelve months. Moreover, the range of public disclosures covered by the grace period are expanded to include disclosures that are "against the intent of the applicant." These include disclosures resulting from a misunderstanding or negligence. Circumstances when the above apply include confidential disclosure to someone whom the applicant believes is required to keep it secret, or when the applicant's employees or agents inadvertently disclose the design to the public. But the grace-period exception would not apply in the case of a prior published design application, as the applicant's intent in filing the application without deferring publication would be presumed.

These changes help to excuse inadvertent public disclosures that otherwise would destroy the novelty of a design application, recognizing that oftentimes applicants are large companies with numerous potential sources from which information about a new design can be unwittingly disclosed. Moreover, the increase of the term to twelve months affords applicants more time to discover and address any prior inadvertent disclosures.

The new amendments move the law in Taiwan closer to other more expansive grace-period exceptions in other countries. But clients should nonetheless be mindful that any prior public disclosure could destroy the novelty of a registered design, making a significant source of design protection unavailable. Close consultation with counsel to streamline design development and filing as early as possible before disclosure are crucial to avoid loss of registration opportunities.

Turkey—Unregistered Design Right Enacted

Taking note of unregistered design rights recognized elsewhere (such as the European Union), Turkey amended its Intellectual Property Code as of January 10, 2017 to recognize similar enforceable unregistered rights for new product designs that are first introduced in Turkey. The term of protection is three years from first public disclosure.
The enactment of an unregistered right is welcome news, especially given Turkey's large export-oriented textile and leather industry. However, the right is subject to many of the same strict requirements and burdens of proof applicable to unregistered design rights in Europe. Often, proving ownership and development of the design as well as priority, and avoiding any prior art challenges, prove to be too daunting for many European design owners. Moreover, the scope of rights granted are typically quite narrow so, on the whole, only infringements featuring identical copies will be actionable. As a result, in most cases a showing of intentional copying will be required based either on direct evidence of bad faith or by establishing that the infringer had ample opportunity to encounter the protected design.

Of course, Turkey also has a well-developed design registration system. However, despite its limitations and hurdles, unregistered design rights (which can co-exist in Turkey with design registrations) provide a ready enforcement tool that can be asserted promptly. This can be very helpful to shore up protections in industries where designs change constantly and where many designs are copied almost immediately after launch.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.