South Korea

Samsung knows how to stand out from the crowd, and this is key to building its brand equity

The company has survived ups and downs with relative ease by focusing on its core values of quality and innovation.

Samsung knows how to stand out from the crowd, and this is key to building its brand equity
How intellectual property transformed the e-sports industry: interview with Fnatic’s Andrew Cooke
27 Feb 2020

How intellectual property transformed the e-sports industry: interview with Fnatic’s Andrew Cooke

In a conversation with WTR, Andrew Cooke, general counsel of e-sports team Fnatic, reveals that an entire generation of e-sports athletes are waking up to the power of their IP as brands race to catch up with this rapidly evolving consumer market.

USPTO protest letter passes 80 signatories; KIPO face mask warning; Inter Milan scores win – news digest
11 Feb 2020

USPTO protest letter passes 80 signatories; KIPO face mask warning; Inter Milan scores win – news digest

In our latest round-up, we look at the Benelux IP Office adding its trademark image data to the EUIPO’s TMview platform, Greece being identified as a transit point for counterfeit cosmetics, and much more.

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3 Jun 2020

Supreme Court establishes criteria for application of UCPA’s ‘catch-all’ provision

Recent decisions of the Korean Supreme Court relating to K-pop and golf have shed light on the criteria that right holders must fulfil in order to seek redress under the ‘catch-all’ provision of the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act. Read more

7 Apr 2020

Expedited examination of trademark filings now easier to request

The Korean Intellectual Property Office is now allowing requests for expedited examination as long as the applicant pays for a prior trademark search. It is expected that requests for expedited examination will rise as a result. Read more

1 Apr 2020

Supreme Court holds that first sale doctrine still applies to sales of goods in violation of sales restrictions in licence agreement

In a blow for licensors in South Korea, the Supreme Court has held that a distributor which sold products that it believed to have been lawfully obtained from a trademark licensee was not criminally liable for trademark infringement. Read more

20 Feb 2020

Newly-amended examination guidelines include detailed standards for reviewing secondary meaning

The Korean Intellectual Property Office’s amended trademark examination guidelines, which came into effect on 1 January 2020, provide specific criteria for determining whether a mark has acquired secondary meaning. Read more

Anti-Counterfeiting

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17 Feb 2020

More encouraging news for owners of products with famous shapes: district court recognises distinctive nature of Chanel bags

A recent decision of the Seoul Central District Court in a case involving lookalike Chanel bags should encourage owners of products with famous shapes to consider taking more forceful steps to stop the sales of lookalikes in Korea. Read more

4 Feb 2020

Super Bowl counterfeit crackdown; BTS trademark blocked; Pelton scammer stunt – news digest

In our latest edition, we look at the Cyprus government re-securing a HALLOUMI trademark, another call for unhealthy food plain packaging, the UKIPO’s Cardiff office closing, and much more. Read more

4 Nov 2019

KIPO’s crackdown on Korean copycats and what it means for foreign brands

A Korean government crackdown on alleged copycat brands has seen two businesses have offices shut down, and product seizures in shops operating overseas. WTR consulted Korean practitioners to ascertain how foreign brands need to adapt to stay safe of the campaign. Read more

29 Oct 2019

UKIPO postpones Brexit work, Canada plain packaging and KIPO warns of trademark squatters: news digest

In our latest round-up, we look at INTA bringing the Unreal Campaign to Lima, the UAE IP office forgoing certain fees, Stan Lee’s daughter suing POW! Entertainment, and much more. Read more

Brand management

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15 Oct 2019

KIPO warns of Brexit damage, fake water filters, and call for fast-food packaging regulations: news digest

In our latest round-up, we look at Saks partnering with Authentic Brands to acquire Barneys, the Consortium for Common Food Names being granted observer status at WIPO, the UKIPO publishing advice on IP rights after Brexit, and much more. Read more

10 Sep 2019

Jack Ma steps down from Alibaba, KIPO holds IP festival, and flea market fakes: news digest

In our latest edition, we look at New Zealand joining TMclass, the Singapore IPO bolstering innovation ties with Kazakhstan, a GI deal between Switzerland and Georgia coming into force, and much more. Read more

31 May 2019

KIPO launches all-women anti-counterfeiting group, Make Canada Great Again suit, and cannabis brands: news digest

In our latest news digest, we look at an anti-monopoly committee in Uzbekistan clamping down on a Coca-Cola copy, the BBC drawing ire for perceived slogan nabbing, and much more. Read more

10 May 2019

Scotch Whisky in Korea, Pakistan IPO tackles fakes, and Samsung domain: news digest

In our latest round-up, we look at applications rising at the Philippines IP Office, a perfume trademark battle, a debate over whether the Wikipedia brand has been tarnished by WikiLeaks, and much more. Read more

Enforcement and Litigation

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14 Jan 2019

Korea Customs Service announces amendments to IP rights protection guidelines

Late last year the Korea Customs Service issued an announcement regarding important proposed amendments to the IP rights protection guidelines. This update reviews the amendments which may have the greatest impact on brand owners. Read more

30 Nov 2018

Korea Customs Service's 2017 report on IP rights seizures: significant decrease compared to previous year

According to a report recently published by the Korea Customs Service, there were 7,263 customs seizures of counterfeit goods in 2017 – a 26% decrease compared to 2016. Read more

18 Oct 2018

“Leveraging the law is not the whole solution”: interview with Philip Morris’ Herman Cheung

In an exclusive interview, the tobacco giant's Manager of Illicit Trade Prevention talks to WTR about the importance of anti-counterfeiting efforts as the company transitions to a smoke-free future. Read more

10 Aug 2018

Trademark "reveals" Star Trek series name, T-ARA denied, and PewDiePie responds to “fake” sponsorship: news round-up

In our latest round-up, we look at a call to boycott a Hawaiian food chain over trademark enforcement, an analysis of cutting-edge technologies being developed in the fight against counterfeit food, and much more.

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Government/Policy

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8 Oct 2018

Korean brands under scrutiny as antitrust watchdog turns attention to trademark revenues

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has revealed that the “trademark usage fees” of the country’s largest chaebols (conglomerates) exceeded W1 trillion ($884.5 million) last year – the first time that monetary barrier has been broken. Read more

8 Jun 2018

South Korea rockets to top of customs ranking; illicit trade report reveals countries that need to do more

The Global Illicit Trade Environment Index scores 84 economies on the extent that they enable or prevent illicit trade. The report contains useful insights on the anti-counterfeiting landscape.

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7 Apr 2018

Trump, Brexit and Korean reunification: the political issues weighing on the minds of trademark practitioners

​​​​​​​Research from <em>World Trademark Review</em> reveals the political issues that counsel say could significantly impact enforcement efforts, both now and in the future.

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9 Jan 2018

Chinese brands rise, app store warning and K-pop fans furious over T-ARA trademark: news round-up

In our latest round-up, we look at a brand protection company closing a $12m investment round, an author seeking registered  protection for a steamy National Hockey League team name, and much more. Read more

Law Firms

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14 Sep 2018

Saudi Arabia to adopt plain packaging, T-ara resolve trademark dispute, and ICANN needs your feedback on RPMs: news round-up

In our latest round-up, we look at the US brands with the most loyal customers, 7-Eleven taking a menswear brand to court for alleged trademark infringement, and much more. Read more

27 Oct 2017

KIPO calls out Chinese plagiarism, USPTO rule making, reality show trademark protection and pugs in Prada: news round-up

In our latest round-up, we look at the fallout from Kid Rock’s latest tour announcement, how the Korean IP Office is speaking out on behalf of domestic brands, and much more. Read more

6 Oct 2017

KIPO’s expenditure set to surpass income as filings drop reported: exclusive data analysis

In the first of a new series of country data reports from World Trademark Review, we identify the key trademark trends in the Korean market, consider where filing business is emanating from and highlight the performance of leading domestic brands. Read more

IP Offices

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29 Nov 2019

Recent design law changes: key points highlighted

The Enforcement Regulation of the Korean Design Protection Act has recently been amended. This update summarises some of the more notable changes. Read more

12 Mar 2019

KIPO amends trademark examination guidelines – key changes highlighted

The Korean Intellectual Property Office has amended its trademark examination guidelines, effective as of 1 January 2019. This update reviews the main points of interest for trademark owners and applicants. Read more

12 May 2016

Unregistered handbag designs protected under ‘catch-all’ provision

The Seoul High Court has rendered a significant decision that further clarifies the meaning of the ‘catch-all’ provision of the Unfair Competition and Trade Secret Protection Prevention Act.

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11 May 2016

Comprehensive new amendments to the Trademark Act

The National Assembly has recently approved major amendments to the Trademark Act which will come into effect on September 1 2016. These are the first comprehensive amendments to the act in 26 years.

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Online

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4 Mar 2014

Supreme Court decision represents significant defeat for cybersquatters

In a case involving the domain name ‘www.nca.com’, the Supreme Court has confirmed that the lack of fame of a trademark in Korea could no longer be used as an excuse by cybersquatters in cases involving top-level domain names. The case shows that the fame of the mark abroad may be sufficient, especially if the registrant’s bad faith can clearly be established.

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17 Mar 2008

Korean law held to pre-empt UDRP in domain name dispute

The Supreme Court has remanded a domain name dispute to the Seoul High
Court, holding that Korean law, and not the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution
Policy, applied to the case. Among other things, the Supreme Court held
that the lower court had erred in finding that the petitioner had expressly
submitted to the UDRP in entering into an agreement with the domain name registrar.

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3 Apr 2007

Landrush Latin character registration opens for '.kr' domain

The National Internet Development Agency of South Korea has opened
registration for second-level '.kr' domain names in Latin characters to any
applicant eligible to register a '.kr' domain name. The agency will draw lots
for domain names for which more than one application is validated during the
landrush period, which runs until April 11.

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6 Oct 2006

South Korea to open up '.kr'

The National Internet Development Agency of South Korea has opened
registrations in Latin characters directly under '.kr'. Until November 20 2006
only government entities may register '.kr' domain names, but from November
21 2006 until January 22 2007 registrants who already have a third-level domain
name may register the same domain name directly under '.kr'.

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Portfolio Management

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29 May 2019

Good news for joint trademark owners in South Korea

As of 24 October 2019, any one of the joint owners of a trademark in South Korea will be able to file a request for the renewal of the mark. This amendment to the Trademark Act is meant to ease the burden placed on joint trademark owners. Read more

16 Oct 2018

Significant increase in non-use cancellation actions - what mark owners should know

Owners of marks not currently active in South Korea should take note of data recently published by the Korean Intellectual Property Office, which showed that the number of non-use cancellation actions has significantly increased in recent years. Read more

5 Sep 2018

Supreme Court rules that AMERICAN UNIVERSITY trademark is inherently distinctive

In a notable decision, Korea’s Supreme Court has ruled that the mark AMERICAN UNIVERSITY was sufficiently distinctive among South Korean consumers to be registered in connection with university education services. Read more

25 Jun 2018

Franchise founders criminally indicted for failure to transfer trademarks to franchises

Following a lengthy investigation, the Seoul District Prosecutors’ Office has issued criminal felony indictments against the individual founders of several Korean franchise businesses, charging them with breaches of trust.

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Trademark law

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30 Apr 2018

Good news for service providers? Amendment to UCPA provides that their trade dress is protected

An important amendment to South Korea’s Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act, which will come into effect in July 2018, clarifies that the trade dress of service providers is protected under the act.

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21 Feb 2018

PyeongChang Winter Olympics: government signals that ambush marketing will not be tolerated

The government has indicated its intention to regulate ambush marketing by adding specific provisions to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Act.

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23 Jan 2018

K-pop superstars T-ara vow to fight for rights to their name; experts predict bitter legal battle ahead

Members from one of the most popular Korean bands in the world, T-ara, are taking legal action for rights to use the group name following a trademark application by their former <span class="ellipsis">management agency. </span>

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8 Jan 2018

New international panels to be established in South Korean courts

The Korean National Assembly has approved an amendment to the Court Organisation Act which stipulates that the district courts in the five statutory venues for IP rights disputes.

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