Korean patent court officials get ethical

The IPKat is ever so impressed with the Korean Patent Court. He has just read, courtesy of the JoonAng Daily, that the court has just issued a code of ethics as a part of measures to become a corruption-free agency. According to the article, in relevant part:
"The Patent Court posted the six tenets on its official website on Wednesday, after the court’s 17 judges and 50 employees held meetings on the subject on Dec. 29 last year.

Judge Kang Kyeong-tae said the idea of a declaration emerged as the court officials shared opinions on reducing corruption and irregularities in the agency in order to restore public trust.

“The public’s confidence in the judiciary is still low, despite the fact that it marked the 60th anniversary of its foundation last year [Non-sequitur here? Why should the 60th anniversary induce public confidence?]. Without the people’s trust, the very existence of the judiciary is at stake,” Kang said.


The Patent Court’s statement ... was significant for the detail it went into on the measures that would be taken to heighten the agency’s ethical standards.

For one, the officials pledged that they would not financially exploit court property for personal gain [selling the furniture on eBay, perhaps?].

They also declared that their family members share some responsibility in maintaining the organization’s moral integrity, adding that “spouses and other family members should not receive money, gifts or real estate” ... [did this really happen? If so, no wonder that public confidence wasn't running high].

The statement also said officials should not act on a supervisor’s request when they think it would provide anyone with an unfair advantage [what happens if all the officials refuse to carry out the request? Does this mean that the supervisor has to do the dastardly deed himself?].

Officials should also avoid taking on tasks they would find difficult to perform fairly because they deal with someone related to them, the statement said.

They also agreed not to give special favors to people who share regional, academic or blood relations in carrying out their duties [Academic relations? Hypothetical aunts?].

“We believe it is vital to tell the public of our intentions. We will strictly implement what’s on the statement,” said Park Guk-soo, the chief judge of the court.

“We will inform the officials about the declaration during the regular monthly meeting. We will also offer regular ethics education sessions for new judges and workers.”
The IPKat welcomes every move towards the adoption of an improved standard of ethics.  Merpel, however, wonders why the word "bribe" doesn't seem to appear anywhere ...

Cats and corruption here and here
Korean patent court officials get ethical Korean patent court officials get ethical Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, January 12, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. Jeremy, I'm very grateful for this view into the Korean way of things. I have two questions: 1)Any idea what were the Guidelines for court officials in the 60 years up to now? Is this stuff going to confuse them, I wonder, because it's all so new. 2) Do the new Guidelines also apply to the "Supervisers".

    Meanwhile, two words come to mind. The first is Window and the second begins with a D.

  2. At a guess, the purpose of the non-seq is to highlight the fact that a system that inspires no confidence after 60 years is perhaps more worrying than one that has yet to secure confidence after, say, 6 months when the public are still evaluating it and wondering whether it will work in the long run.

  3. As for "academic relations" I can immediately think of 3 European countries where this is a strong factor in the social fabric, in one case up to and including questionable activities. South Korea is not alone here but it is on the other hand praiseworthy that they accept the reality of a situation.


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