The Patent Act has been amended in 2004 with the purpose of accelerating patent examination procedures, improving utility model protection, and assuring equitable remunerations for employees’ inventions. In particular, measures include: – for accelerating examination procedures: Registration of Searching Organizations, Registration of Data Processing Organizations, Use of Prior-Art Search Report in demanding examination by patent applicants, Publication of Official Patent Gazette over the Internet, Inclusion of Refundable Fees. – to encourage more frequent use of utility model registration: Abolition of Pre-registration examination and sharp decline of utility model applications, Filing of patent application based on utility model registration made possible, utility model duration extended to 10 years from filing, scope of correction of utility model application expanded. For the improvement of the Service Invention Provisions: Service invention provisions established in the Patent Act, Transfer of the “Rights to obtain patents” in service inventions, new guidelines to entitle employees to an equitable remuneration for their service inventions.
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