Region: South Korea

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

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.

17 March 2008

Mattel wins victory over knockoff shoes

In <i>Mattel Inc v Kapa Korea</i>, the Seoul Central District Court has held that Kapa Korea had violated the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act by importing shoes that were identical in form and substance to Mattel Inc's shoes. The court found that the importation and sale of Kapa's products fell within the 'dead copy' provision of the act.

07 March 2008

Korea tackles online sales of counterfeit goods

The Korean Intellectual Property Office can now request that the Ministry of Information and Communication close websites which sell or offer for sale counterfeit goods. It may contact the owner of the trademark(s) involved to collect substantiating evidence. This development illustrates the efforts of the government in tackling counterfeiting activities.

22 January 2008

Johnson & Johnson fails to register CLEAN & CLEAR

The Patent Court has rejected Johnson & Johnson's application to register the trademark CLEAN & CLEAR (and design) despite J&J's argument that the mark had acquired distinctiveness due to the use of its other CLEAN & CLEAR marks. The court held that even if the marks in question had acquired a secondary meaning through use, such acquired distinctiveness did not extend to the mark applied for.

12 December 2007

Trademark Act to be amended following Korea-US FTA

Following the conclusion of the free trade agreement between the United States and Korea in April, proposed amendments to the Trademark Act have been submitted to the National Assembly. Among other things, the changes will make it possible to register sound and smell trademarks that can be represented graphically by symbols, figures or characters.

08 November 2007

BOTOX's fame gives it smooth path to victory

The Daejeon District Court has granted Allergan Inc's petition to enjoin the holder of the mark HAIR VOTOX from using it for women's hair extensions on the basis that it constitutes unfair competition against the well-known BOTOX mark. This seems to be the first time that a court has recognized BOTOX as a well-known mark.

24 September 2007

Unlock unlimited access to all WTR content