An invention can be protected by the patent system ruled by the Korean Patent Law (hereinafter, KPL). In the KPL, "invention" is defined as a highly advanced creative result of technical ideas utilizing the laws of nature.
1. Filing an Application
Documents Required

(a) an application stating the name and address of the inventor and the applicant (including the name of a representative, if the applicant is a juristic person), the date of submission, the title of the invention, and priority data (if the right of priority is claimed);
(b) a specification setting forth the following matters: the title of the invention; a brief description of drawings (if any); a detailed description of the invention; and claim(s);
(c) drawing(s), if any;
(d) an abstract;
(e) if the right of priority is claimed, the priority document which is a certified copy of the priority application together with its Korean translation; and
(f) a power of attorney, if necessary.
2. Formality Examination
When a patent application is submitted to KIPO, it is checked to ensure that all requirements necessary to accord the application a filing date have been satisfied.
3. Laying open of Publication for Public Inspection
Applications that have not yet been published will be automatically laid-open in the official gazette called "Patent Laid-open Gazette" after 18 months from the filing date in the Republic of Korea or, if the right of priority is claimed from an earlier foreign filing, from the priority date.
4. Substantial Examination
A patent application will be taken up for examination only if a request for examination is made either by the applicant or by any interested party within 5 years from the filing date of the application.
5. Rejection
If the examiner finds a ground for rejection of a patent application, a notice of preliminary rejection will be issued; and the applicant will be given an opportunity to submit a response to the preliminary rejection within a time limit designated by the examiner. Such time limit is extendable upon the request for an extension by the applicant.


In responding to the preliminary rejection, the applicant may file an argument with or without an amendment to the specification and/or claims. If the examiner determines that the argument is without merit and the ground for rejection has not been overcome, he will issue a notice of final rejection of the patent application.
6. Registration
When a patent applicant receives a notice of decision to grant a patent he should pay, as a registration fee, the first 3 years' annuities within 3 months from the date of receipt of such notice.
7. Appeal and Trial
The applicant may lodge an appeal against the examiner's final rejection within 30 days from the date of receipt of the notice of final rejection. Any party which doubts the validity of a right may request a trial for invalidation of patent.
Besides the patent system, your petty inventions can be protected as the utility model registration ruled by the Korean Utility Model Law (hereinafter, the KUML). The petty invention, called "device" under the KUML, is defined as a creative result of technical ideas utilizing the laws of nature and, as you know from its definition, a lower standard of inventiveness under the KUML is required, compared with the patent system.
COMPARISION WITH THE PATENT SYSTEM

1. The subject matter to be protected under the KUML is an industrially applicable device that relates to the shape or structure of an article or a combination of articles.

2. In the application of the utility model, drawing(s) is(are) essential documents and the invention must be described with reference to drawing(s).
The term of the Patent: 20 years from the filing date
The term of the Utility model: 10 years from the filing date