Region: South Korea

Foreign consumers key to well-known status analysis

In holding that a mark comprising of the Korean or English transliteration of an earlier Japanese character mark should be invalidated, a court in Korea has ruled that "under Article 7(1)(xii) of the Trademark Act, the well-known status of a cited mark should be judged based upon the well-known status thereof among foreign consumers".

22 September 2006

Meaning of 'contrary to public order or morality' interpreted

The Supreme Court has confirmed that although an act of filing and registering a trademark belonging to another party may breach a contract with that party or constitute an act of bad faith, it is not necessarily contrary to public order and morality. In doing so, the court interpreted the meaning of Article 7(1)(4) of the South Korean Trademark Act.

26 June 2006

Anti-counterfeiting strategies in South Korea

Trademark counterfeiting affects a wide range of products in South Korea, with fashion-related items such as apparel, footwear or bags most at risk from copying. Jay Young-June Yang and Sung-Nam Kim of Kim & Chang in Seoul explain what legal recourses are available to mark owners and what strategies work best against counterfeiters in South Korea.

19 April 2006

International arbitration decision acknowledged for the first time

The Seoul High Court, confirming a decision of the National Arbitration Forum, has ruled that the Korean registrant of the 'hpweb.com' domain name should transfer it to Hewlett-Packard. This is the first time that a local court has acknowledged a decision by an international arbitration panel in a domain name dispute.

29 November 2005

BULGARIS not deceptive but BULGARIA is infringing

The Seoul Central District Court has put an end to a dispute between the largest dairy companies in South Korea. The court held that Maeil Dairy Industry Co Ltd's BULGARIA-marked yogurt drinks infringed the Korean Unfair Competition and Trade Secret Protection Act.

19 October 2005

Korean trademark oppositions become significantly faster

The Korean Intellectual Property Office has amended its regulations to expedite significantly trademark oppositions in Korea. Among other things, the office has tightened the deadlines imposed on extensions for filing a supplemental brief and on its own decision-making process.

04 October 2005

Trademark invalidated after first use of dilution provision

The South Korean Supreme Court has invalidated the registration of the mark ORION STARCRAFT for confectionery on the basis that it is likely to dilute the distinctiveness of the well-known STARCRAFT mark for computer games. It is the first time that the Supreme Court has based a decision on the provisions of Article 7(1)(12) of the South Korean Trademark Act.

20 September 2005

Registration rules for geographical names relaxed

The guidelines implementing the amendments to the Trademark Act 2002, which relax the registration rules for geographical names, will come into force on July 1. A mark consisting of a geographical indication will become registrable as a collective mark where (i) the goods to which the mark applies originate from the geographical area in question, and (ii) the area has a history of specializing in the production of the goods.

21 June 2005

WIPO launches IP Panorama e-learning project

The Korean Intellectual Property Office and WIPO have agreed to the joint development of an interactive multimedia program on intellectual property for small and medium-sized enterprises. It is hoped that the e-learning program, called Intellectual Property Panorama, will enhance the competitiveness of enterprises by explaining the practical business relevance of intellectual property.

22 April 2005

Use of 'Louis **' infringes LOUIS VUITTON mark

The Seoul Central District Court has ruled that a website owner who used the phrase 'Louis **' (in Korean characters) to describe imitation Louis Vuitton Malletier products had breached Korea's trademark law. The term 'Louis **' has been in common use by Korean website owners following an earlier court ruling that traders who advertised their fake products as 'Louis Vuitton style' were in breach of the dilution rules.

09 March 2005

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