Region: South Korea

Use of service mark brings a whole LOTTE of trouble

The Seoul Central District Court has upheld a claim brought by affiliates of the Lotte Group - a major Korean conglomerate - for a provisional injunction to prohibit NH Lotte Tour Co Ltd from using a service mark containing the term 'LOTTE'. The court held that the Lotte Group affiliates were the rightful holders of the service mark.

18 September 2007

PIMP MY RIDE overcomes objections of immorality

The Korean Patent Court has overturned a decision finding that the mark PIMP MY RIDE is contrary to public order or morality. The court found that although 'pimp' may have a vulgar dictionary meaning, another meaning is synonymous to 'improving' and the mark is also the title of a popular television show on improving cars.

05 July 2007

Significant Trademark Act amendment in force from July 1

An amendment to the Korean Trademark Act has come into force. However, major revisions will be effective only as of July 1 2007. Among other things, the amendment strengthens the protection available to well-known marks, expands the scope of non-traditional trademarks and extends the opposition period.

17 May 2007

Umbro logo kicked out of Korea

The Supreme Court of South Korea has rejected British sportswear company Umbro's application to register its diamond-shaped logo on the grounds that it is a symbol often used in Korea. The court also rejected Umbro's evidence that the logo had acquired secondary meaning at the time of filing.

20 April 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.

03 April 2007

Starbucks's invalidation actions against local coffee house fail

The Korean Supreme Court has rejected Starbucks Corporation's appeal against a decision of the Patent Court to reject Starbucks's application to invalidate a registration for the device mark STARPREYA. The court also refused to hear Starbucks's appeal against the Patent Court's decision with regards to the STARPREYA word mark.

26 February 2007

First GI collective mark registered

The first geographical indication to be registered as a collective mark was accepted on November 20 2006 - nearly two years after such registrations were made possible under the Trademark Act. This should lead the way to more national GIs becoming collective marks. However, further legislation may be needed to protect the rights of individual users of such marks.

31 January 2007

Amendments crack down on imitation marks by lowering the bar for fame

A series of draft amendments to the Korean Trademark Act would not onlyexpand the types of signs that can be registered as trademarks, but also try toput an end to the registration of imitation marks. The amendments would achievethis by lowering the standard of evidence required to demonstrate that a markis well known or famous.

04 December 2006

STARBUCKS fails in STARPREYA cancellation claim

The Patent Court has refused Starbucks Corporation's application to invalidate a registration for the device mark STARPREYA, concluding that the mark was not confusingly similar to the STARBUCKS device mark. Among other things, the court noted that the STARBUCKS mark was not well known in Korea at the time of the STARPREYA application as there were only six Korean outlets in existence at that time.

08 November 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'.

06 October 2006

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