Region: South Korea

Amendments to Unfair Competition Law recognise new types of anti-competitive acts

Recent amendments to the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act have recognised additional types of anti-competitive acts and introduced rewards for those who inform the authorities of such anti-competitive behaviour. The amendments will become effective early next year.

24 September 2013

Amendments to Trademark Act to come into force later this year

The Korean National Assembly has adopted a bill introduced by KIPO, which will amend the Korean Trademark Act. One of KIPO's goals with this reform is to provide greater protection to the owners of small businesses in Korea. The amended act will be effective from October 6 2013.

28 May 2013

Court refers to auto industry practice in assessing likelihood of confusion

The Supreme Court has held that Audi AG's trademark AUDI A6, which is registered for clothing, was dissimilar to Netision.com’s A6 marks for clothing. Interestingly, the court took into consideration current automobile industry practice whereby the ‘A6’ portion of Audi’s mark would be regarded as the name of a particular model of Audi car.

14 February 2013

Procter & Gamble successfully invalidates cosmetics trademark

The Supreme Court has upheld a decision of the Patent Court in which the latter had found that the marks SP-II and SK-II, which both cover cosmetics-related goods in Class 3, were confusingly similar. Among other things, the Patent Court had held that the letters ‘P’ and ‘K’ - the only difference between the marks - would be pronounced weakly because they are located in the middle of the marks.

08 February 2013

Supreme Court KITSON decision: demonstrating fame may just have become easier

The Supreme Court has issued a significant decision in an invalidation action, recognising the well-known status of a mark in a foreign country based essentially on elements other than financial data. It is hoped that this decision will open the way for alternative modes of demonstrating the reputation of foreign marks.

04 February 2013

Trademark injunction issued based on copyright infringement

The Seoul High Court has issued an injunction preventing the defendant from using its trademark in Korea, finding that such use violated the copyright of the plaintiff, a US corporation. The decision is significant in that it confirms that a copyright owner may prevent a trademark owner from using its own registered trademark based on earlier copyright.

31 January 2013

Broad description of goods and services now accepted

The Trademarks Examination Guidelines have been amended in order to accept broader descriptions of goods and services in accordance with international standards. The Korean Intellectual Property Office is now accepting broad descriptions of goods or services in the same class, even if the goods or services at issue are not considered to be similar according to the office's practice.

29 October 2008

Decision in ATELIER Case departs from established precedents

The Supreme Court has affirmed a decision of the Patent Court in which the latter had held that the trademark ATELIER was not confusingly similar to the registered trademark SHU UEMURA ATELIER MADE. The decision of the Patent Court is significant in that it departs from previous judgments on the similarity of marks.

25 July 2008

MASAI WALKING held to be distinctive in connection with shoes

The Seoul Central District Court has held that RYN Korea's use of trademarks consisting of or including the words 'Masai walking' amounted to infringement of Masai Marketing & Trading AG's registered trademark MASAI WALKING. The court rejected RYN's assertion that the trademark MASAI WALKING is generic or descriptive of shoes with a curved sole.

10 June 2008

Government reinforces IP rights protection and border control

In a Korea-Britain conference held on March 18 2008, the Korean Intellectual Property Office announced that the government is stepping up its fight against the production, distribution, import and export of counterfeit goods. Among other things, the Customs Service now has the authority to control goods that are suspected of being counterfeit.

01 May 2008

Unlock unlimited access to all WTR content