Cho & Partners

WTR Research

The WTR 1000 focuses exclusively on trademark practice and has firmly established itself as the definitive 'go-to' resource for those seeking world-class legal trademark expertise.

Gold - Firms: enforcement and litigation

Gold - Firms: prosecution and strategy

Established in 2002 by Tae-Yeon Cho and Ik-Hyun Seo, Cho and Partners has become one of the most prominent trademark boutiques in the country. It occupies a well-deserved spot in the gold tier for both prosecution and enforcement. Though moderate in size, the outfit tackles some of the most significant trademark matters in the country and gains full confidence from foreign clientele and Fortune 500 companies – it assisted Red Bull in a trademark dispute before Supreme Court with great success. With more than 30 years’ experience in IP litigations, Cho skillfully utilises his in-depth knowledge of trademarks, which has led to multiple victories before the courts. One source asserted that: “His knowledge and analytic skills in this field, I think, is the best in South Korea.” Having previously practised in the United States, Seo is often sought by multinationals to provide advice and strategy on complex matters and is entrusted with various enforcement actions by Apple. “He has great insights into the needs and objectives of US business clients, including the high-tech industry and is a creative and tenacious analyst and problem solver and has helped us protect our key brands in important and challenging cases over the years.” An indispensable member of the team, Kathryn Lee manages day-to-day enforcement matters for Apple, Hasbro, Intel and Crocs, among many others.

Firm Profile

Cho & Partners was established in 2002 by Tae-Yeon Cho and Ik-Hyun Seo, who left a large firm environment to create a more focused, efficient and responsive practice. Based on the reputation and capabilities of its founding members, as well as the established trust and loyalty of their clients, the firm was immediately active in representing multinational clients. These clients are among the most recognised names and leaders in various business sectors, including software and technology, retail, luxury goods and fashion and energy.

Since its establishment, Cho & Partners has continued to grow – a result of the firm’s uncompromising emphasis on maintaining the highest levels of service, professionalism and integrity. This philosophy has been essential in developing and servicing the firm’s prestigious list of clients, whose needs are sophisticated and whose matters have a global impact.

Cho & Partners is proud of its approach of nurturing close personal relationships with its clients; this is the foundation of the firm’s ability to know its clients and thus serve their needs more effectively and efficiently.

Areas of practice

Cho & Partners has a strong and diverse practice in all aspects of intellectual property. It is active in both domestic and international prosecution practice for trademarks and patents, as well as related disputes and administrative proceedings. In addition to prosecution matters, the firm and its members have become particularly well known for their capabilities in the areas of litigation, anti-counterfeiting and internet-related matters.

In the area of anti-counterfeiting and enforcement, Cho & Partners has developed a strong reputation for its effective and creative programmes in combating many difficult problems in South Korea. The firm represents many brand owners and manages some of the most active anti-counterfeiting and trademark enforcement programmes in the country.

Cho & Partners is also active in domain name disputes, successfully reclaiming domain name registrations from cybersquatters for trademark owners. Mr Cho is an executive member of the Internet Address Dispute Resolution Committee, the government body that administers Korean domain name disputes. In addition, Mr Seo serves as a panellist for WIPO with respect to global top-level domain name disputes.

In the area of litigation, Cho & Partners has successfully obtained a number of landmark decisions for its clients and is at the forefront of new developments in South Korea. For instance, in 2009 the firm filed a legal action against the largest online retail platform in Korea for the sale of counterfeits, which was the first such case to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. In 2013 the firm successfully used market survey evidence (still a relatively new practice in Korea) and obtained a decision acknowledging the appearance of a bag from a famous luxury brand as trade dress – a claim which has been acknowledged only very rarely by Korean courts.

Recognition 

Cho & Partners has been recognised as South Korea’s 2019 Trademark Firm of the Year by IAM and World Trademark Review. It was also the winner of BIP ASIA – Managing Intellectual Property’s Case of the Year – North Asia in 2013; winner of South Korea’s 2011 Firm of the Year for Trademarks by Asia IP; and winner of South Korea’s 2009 Firm of the Year for Intellectual Property by Asian Counsel Awards (Pacific Business Press).

Cho & Partners is consistently recognised among the top firms for IP categories by World Trademark Review, Legal 500, Chambers, Asia Law & Practice, PLC, Asia IP and Managing Intellectual Property.

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