Wrongful Termination in South Korea

South Korea is not an “at-will” employment country which means that employer may not dismiss an employee for any reason nor without warning or notice. And under the Labor Standard Act, an employer who has five or more employees may not dismiss or suspend from work any of its employee without justifiable cause. And even with the presence of justifiable cause for dismissal, the employer is still required to give

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South Korea to Impose Taxes on Cryptocurrency in 2022

The Ministry of Economy and Finance confirmed that on the 1st of January 2022, profit from cryptocurrencies shall be subject to a 20% tax. And gifts and inheritance in the form of cryptocurrencies shall be taxed by the same rate of 20%. Exempted from Cryptocurrency Tax Any profit, gift and/or inheritance worth 2.5 million won and below will be exempted from the cryptocurrency tax. And only the profit, gift or

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Adhesion Contract in South Korea: Regulating Unfair Terms and Conditions

Adhesion Contract is a contract drafted by a party with stronger bargaining power and signed by a party with lesser bargaining power. The party that has weaker bargaining power does not have the capacity to negotiate the terms and conditions of the contract and they just adhere completely to what the party with the upper hand has to offer. In South Korea, in order to avoid such unfair one-way contract

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Tips for Start-up Success in Korea: Korean Business Basics

Despite the economic challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, there are still plenty of opportunities for start-up companies in South Korea. Many of the long-term foreign attorneys in Korea shall advise that South Korea remains a perfect testbed for foreign companies in the East Asian marketplace. Local and national governments remain committed to fostering long-term partnerships with foreign start-ups within Korea. The attorneys at IPG Legal have put together a

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Data Protection in Korea is set to take on new importance in 2021

Koreans have been forced into the realm of digital deliveries and contactless payment options due to the global pandemic. The change in conditions shall, likely, lead to more criminals looking to take advantage of this situation. Foreigners and international companies potentially could be exposed to significant risks from data and identity theft in Korea as the risks increase over the next 12 months. A recent report by the Police Science

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Korea’s Class Action Law Proposed by Moon Administration

Class action lawsuits in South Korea are currently available in two types of civil cases: (1) under the Securities-Related Class Action Act of Korea (derivative/shareholder suits); and (2) in certain limited product liability matters under the Consumer Act of Korea. A bill that seeks to expand the scope of class actions into other areas, aside from the two instances above, has languished for years in the Korean National Assembly. However,

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SsangYong Motors files for Bankruptcy in Korea

It isn’t just foreign companies that have a robust history with Korea’s militant labor unions. The troubles of GM Korea and SsangYong Motors have been well documented over the last decade. This week SsangYong Motors finally succumbed to the pressures of the Korean market. The company filed for bankruptcy after defaulting on loan repayments of 60 billion won ($54.4m USD). SsangYong is unlikely to receive further government support, with the

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Filing for a Patent in Korea: Basics of Korean Patent Law

Over the next couple of months, lawyers here at IPG Legal shall provide detailed insight and analysis of the Patent Laws of Korea. The following post details the basics of filing for a patent in South Korea. Individuals or companies can register for patents through the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). The application and registration of patents is governed by the Korean Patent Act (“the Act”). In most cases, patents

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Can Foreigners buy Real Property in Korea? Korean Real Estate Law for Non-Korean Residents and Non-Residents

Unlike some Asian countries that do not allow or strictly limit foreign ownership of real properties, South Korea has a buoyant market that permits foreigners to purchase real estate and even land in Korea.  The major restrictions on ownership of real estate for non-Koreans was lifted during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis based on the advice of the IMF.  The lifting of these restrictions, led, in part, to a commercial

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Korea’s Legal Measures to Reduce Fine Dust Pollution

The Korean Special Act on Fine Dust Abatement and Management (hereinafter as “Special Act on Fine Dust”) entered into force on February 15, 2019. The law, primarily, focus is restricting producers of fine dust to reduce the fine dust level in Korea. The Special Act on Fine Dust defines different types of dust and enables officials to set certain fine dust reduction measures. Legal Definitions of Fine Dust The Special

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Calculation of Korean Hourly Wage Rate under the Minimum Wage Act of Korea

Korea’s minimum wage as per the Korean Minimum Wage Act in 2019 is determined by the Minister of Employment & Labor as KRW 8,350 per hour. The latest decisions of the Supreme Court developed a calculation standard/method for determining an hourly wage rate that is not in line with the opinion of the Ministry of Employment & Labor. In many such cases, a Ministry, simply, pushes to amend the law.

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Finding a Korean Lawyer/Law Firm for your Business in Korea

We obtain numerous emails and calls from potential clients in search of a great Korean lawyer for companies doing business in Korea.  The majority of these intakes come from referrals from present clients, referrals from other lawyers and a couple trickle in via this blog. From our contacts, we believe that many businesses in Korea are having a difficult finding attorneys in Korea that have business savvy, the ability to

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Korea Due Diligence for Joint Ventures, Licensing, OEMs and Buying a Korean Company

Intending to execute a joint venture agreement with a Korean company? Buying a Korean company? Licensing technology to a Korean company? OEM with a Korean supplier? Selling to a Korean company?Before going to bed with a Korean company (or individual) do a little due diligence.  The motivation for this article is an article by my friends over at the China Law Blog. Due diligence in Korea is not much different

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Mergers & Acquisition Arbitration Matters under Korean Law at the KCAB

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&As) lead to disputes around the world, many of which are complex and involve money that may change substantially the future of a company, shareholders, employees and other stakeholders. Korea is no different in this respect. Korea witnessed the number of its cross-border transaction disputes explode during the 1997 IMF crisis and continue to steadily increase ever since. Many of these issues ended in arbitration and many

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Provisional Attachments of Assets in Pending Litigation in Korea Courts

A party attempting to collect on a debt or potential liability based on breach of contract or torts in Korea may obtain a Provisional Attachment of an Asset. Another useful tool to expedite proceeding in a Korean civil matter is to Obtain a Payment Order from a Korean Court.  A provisional attachment is considered provisional, since the attachment is executed prior to the final judgement. The, facial, purpose of a provisional

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Jurisdiction and Choice of Law Issues in Agency Agreements

In drafting and negotiating a Korean commercial agency agreement between a principal located in one country and an agent located in another country, proper consideration needs to be given to the choice of law regarding the governing law and jurisdiction of such an agreement. Jurisdiction determines which country’s courts will hear any proceedings that may be brought in relation to the agreement, whilst governing law is the law that shall

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Termination of Commercial Agent/Distribution Agreements in Korea: Korea’s Agent Compensation Rule

In many cases of termination of a distribution/agent agreement in Korea compensation must be paid to the commission agent.  In many cases, the same rules are applied to distributors.  The law on the termination of Commission Agent-type agreement is governed, mainly, by the Commercial Act of Korea and its enforcement decrees.  Korea law does not facially differentiate between termination and expiration of agent/distribution agreements. The following explanation is, only, a brief

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Enforcing Punitive & Liquidated Damages Awards against Korean Companies via Contracts with Foreign Subsidiaries of Korean Companies

A recent amendment of the Korean Civil Procedure Act added Article 217-2.  The Amendment has codified a holding by the Seoul Central District Court and other Korean courts noting, in part, that Korean Courts may refuse to “recognize foreign damage awards that clearly exceed amounts considered reasonable in Korea in violation of good morals and the social order of Korea” (99 KaHap 14496, S. Cent. Distr. Court, 10/20/2000). The Amendment

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Distribution Agreements in Korea: Crawl before you Walk

Prior to going into any relationship with a distributor/agent in Korea, please read my post entitled: Finding a Korean Distributor: The Top 10 Things to Know Before Going to Bed with a Distributor in Korea. Please read that post in combination with this post, prior to engaging a distributor in Korea. We see too many Korean distribution and agency agreements that are mere spun U.S. or European agreements.  Please have your Korean

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Distribution Agreement in Korea: Factors to Always Keep in Mind

Prior to going into any relationship with a distributor/agent in Korea, please read my post entitled: Finding a Korean Distributor: The Top 10 Things to Know Before Going to Bed with a Distributor in Korea. Please read that post in combination with this post, prior to engaging a distributor. We see too many distribution agreements that are mere spun U.S. distribution or agent agreements. Please have your distribution agreement and

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