Examiner Exchange Program (Joint Prior Art Search Program)Back


The Examiner Exchange Program (Joint Prior Art Search Program) is applied to patent applications commonly filed to two countries. Participating examiners analyze the results of examinations and prior art searches, compare examination practices and share examination know-how. Examiners also visit the counterpart to experience its examination system and practices, to improve their understanding of the patent system and to benchmark the strengths of those systems.


The program aims to improve the examination quality of participating offices and build a foundation for the collaborative use of examination results in the future.

As of today, Korea has implemented a series of examiner exchange programs (joint prior art search programs) with Japan(18th), China(16th), Germany(10th), Taiwan(3rd), and France(1st). The program was temporarily suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed in the second half of 2022.

Current status of the Examiner Exchange Program

(Province of China)
2000 H01J - - - -
2001 C07C - - - -
2002 H01L - - - -
2003 B60L, F02D A61K - - -
2004 G06F, H01M H04B - - -
2005 A61F, H01L, S B23B, C08L,C08G, G02F, G06F - - -
2006 B25J, H01L F24C, B60R,H01L, H01R G09G, G06F - -
2007 E04C, H04N Korea-China evaluation
meeting of the joint prior
art search program
H01L, G02F - -
2008 A61K, D06F F25B, H04B,L,Q F01M, C08G - -
2009 G09G 3/36, H02K, H01M 8 A61N, H01L F25D 23, C12Q 1,
H01L 33, H04B 7/26
- -
2010 H05B 33, G06F 3,
H05K 3, H04N 5
F02D 3, C12N,
H01R 33, H04W
- -
2011 H01M, H04L B60R, C07D,
H01L, G11C
- -
2012 G03F, G11B H02K, G11B - -
2013 B63B, J, C09K,
H01L, G02F
F04B,C,D, C08F,L H02K, H01L 31,
B60W 30/06, A61K 31
- -
2014 G01R, H01R,
C08L, G06F
G02B, F27B - -
2015 H01M, G06Q,
H01L, H04N
C07D, G06F G01M, H01L,
B60W, B60R
H01L, H01B -
2016 G02F, G07F
F24D, A23L
2017 G06F, A61K, C07F G06Q, G06Q,
A61B, B32B, F16J
A01H, H02J,
C07C, C07D
F16J, B43K, B42F,
A01N, C07C
2018 A61K, H04B, A61B -
2019 G02B, G01H, A61F C09K, G06F,
H04L, C12N
F16L, B60H,
B01D, A61H
A61L, C10M -
2020 - - - - -
2021 - - - - -
2022 - - - - A61K, B60W
2023 - - - A61N, C10M

Major contents

  • Participating offices jointly conduct examinations of the applications commonly filed with the both offices.
  • The examinations’ results are compared and discussed.
  • Examiners visit the counterpart patent office to experience the examination systems and practices.


1) Selection of technology fields having the patent classification(IPC/CPC)
  • The technology fields(IPC/CPC), for which a joint examination is conducted, are selected by the participating offices through prior discussions.
  • The technology fields may be proposed by the participating offices in an alternative way.
  • Eligible examiners are selected in either side according to the technical fields.
2) Selection of eligible applications
  • ※ An eligible application is selected on the following criteria:
  • √ The application must be filed with both offices.
  • √ The applicant must be a national of either side.
  • √ The application is preferably not to be examined in either side.
3) Prior art searches and examinations prior to exchange of examiners
  • Prior art searches under the program are conducted in the same manner as the one for a general application.
    - When performing prior art searches, examiners consider all the reasons for rejection, encompassing lack of unity of invention, insufficient disclosure of the invention, lack of patentability, etc.
4) Discussion of examination results during exchange of examiners
  • Participating examiners compare and discuss the examination results.
  • Examiners are given an opportunity to benchmark search techniques, examination methods, etc. of the counterpart.
  • Last updated 24 April 2023
  • Patent Legal Administration Division