Trade Dress Law in Korea. The Copycat May Catch the Mouse

A blog I just, recently, ran into posted an interesting post on Hermes trouble with copycats in Korea. The blog may be found at: Fashion Law Blog. Hermes lost, recently, a High Court case in Korea.  Hermes argued, in part, that: ” [Defendant’s] bags – which bear a striking resemblance to its famed Birkin and Kelly styles – run afoul of the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act, which prohibits, ‘causing confusion with another person’s goods by using signs identical or similar to another person’s name, trade name, trademark, container or package of goods or any other sign widely known in the Republic of Korea as an indication of goods, or by selling, distributing, importing or exporting goods with such signs.’” Hermes, in short, specifically argued that: “. . . that in recreating the trade dress in its most famous bags – namely, the distinctive three lobed flap

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Publicity Rights/Portrait Rights in Korea: Entertainment Law Basics in Korea

The Seoul Central District Court delivered, in mid 2016, a decision ruling that an individual’s publicity rights (portrait rights) were violated by a person sharing an image on a public social media site.  The violators were sharing the images for commercial purposes and shared the images without the publisher’s consent (Seoul Central District Court 2015GaDan5324874). FACTS Mr. A posted photos of himself on his Instagram Page.  Mr. B utilzed those photos on Naver’s Band without Mr. A’s consent. Band is a Korean social media site. C company, also, posted the photos on Facebook without Mr. A’s consent.  Thus, Mr. A’s photos were re-posted from Mr. A’s Instagram Page and posted on Naver’s Band by an individual and posted on Facebook by a company.  Seemingly, the purpose of the re-posting was to promote the pages and products of Mr. B and Company C.  The attorneys for Mr. B and Company C

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Korean Trademark Act Revised: Korean Trademark Act of 2017

The Korean Trademark Act is, often, criticized by scholars and Korean legal practitioners for not being an effective means of enforcing copyrights and for being overly cumbersome.  The new changes are a step in the right direction.  Korea promulgated on September 1, 2017 the revised Korean Trademark Act. The following are the major changes. Any party may file an action to cancel a a trademark for non-use under revised Korean Trademark Law This change shall, likely, increase the number of litigants.  Prior to this change, courts would require litigants to establish that the litigant is an “interested” litigant.  The change may cause an increase in litigation. Effect of Cancellation on the filing date of the non-use action no longer the cancellation decision under revised Korean Trademark Law. Prior to this change, the effect of cancellation was the date of cancellation decision, thus, limiting potential monetary damages for infringement during the

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English-speaking Korean lawyers and International Lawyers at International Law Firm in Korea discussing issues of Korean Law

IPG Legal is a leading client-focused international law firm with offices in Korea that is, often, selected over the ubiquitous Korean Law Firms when success is essential and success depends on nuanced street-smart advice, proactive  and unconflicted representation. Our attorneys are, intentionally. different from the crowd.  From our retired judge partners to our junior associates, we are all trained with an intense focus on client success, lawyer proactivity, and to understand the nexus between your commercial and legal needs. Our attorneys shall never push to you useless memos, non-nuanced legal advice or get you into litigation without an honest assessment of the merits and shortcomings of the matter. We are  – intentionally different from the crowd.  Globally Experienced – Locally Connected.  We are IPG.  Korean Legal Practices Korean Antitrust, Competition & FTC Arbitration, Int’l & Domestic Korean Civil Litigation Korean Criminal Defense Korean Corporate Law & Compliance Korean Employment, Labor &

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Rights Management Services/Agencies in South Korea: Copyright/IP Licensing Societies in Korea

The following is a list of the major Copyright Management/Licensing Services in Korea.  The list shall be updated periodically. Rights Management Societies in Korea Literary  Korean Society of Authors Music Korea Music Copyright Association Korean Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers Theater  Korea Scenario Writers Association General Reproduction & Transmission Korea Reproduction and Transmission Rights Association Theatrical Reproduction & Transmission Korea Film Producers Association Broadcast Writers Korea TV & Radio Writers Association Performers in Musicals Federation of Korea Music Performers Actors Korea Broadcast Performers Association Recordings Recording Industry Association of Korea  Public Works Korea Cultural Information Service Agency Movie Distribution Movie Distributors Association of Korea Press  Korea Press Foundation (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. info@ipglegal.com.

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Korean Patent Court’s Intellectual Property Infringement Guidelines

Early in 2016, the Patent Court of Korea published Guidelines Regarding the Appeals of IP Infringement Actions (“IP Appeal Guidelines”) based on the reality that the Patent Court of Korea has assumed control over appeals of Korean IP infringement lawsuits. Overall, Korean legal practitioners welcomed the focus of the Korean Patent Court on increasing professionalism while developing an efficient procedure in disposing of cases. Significant developments, at the Patent Court, are ongoing and we shall update the reader on the Korea’s Patent Court’s jurisprudence over the next couple of months. The main focus of the IP Appeal Guidelines, inter alia, is to detail specific appeal deadlines, hearing procedures, discovery procedures and the basic procedure for the handling of evidence. The Guidelines are a great step in the right direction if the Court wishes to focus on increasing professionalism and efficiency. The most successful development is that the Patent Court has

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Happy Lunar New Year from IPG Legal

We in Korea will be having a four day holiday to celebrate Lunar New Year.  Happy New Year to all our Korean friends. We would, also, like to wish a Happy New Year to all of our Chinese friends.  Have a wonderful Lunar New Year! Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.  Sean is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw.  Sean is known for his proactive New York-style street-market advice and his aggressive and non-conflicted advocacy.  Sean works with some of the leading retired judges, prosecutors and former government officials working in Korea. Sean’s profile

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How the Korean Government Monitors Bloggers in Korea

A recent news report raised concerns as to whether Korean police followed proper process concerning the regulation and monitoring by the government of internet blogging.   Last week, A South Korean blogger was reportedly ordered by local police to take down posts featuring North Korean propaganda.  According to the account, an unidentified blogger was told to remove nine posts written between 2007 and 2011 that featured alleged pro-North Korea statements because the blog postings were considered harmful to young people.  The article, also, mentioned that experts approached in connection with the story said that such an order, without a ruling from the Communications Commission that is charged by law to regulate internet postings would be beyond the scope of police powers.   Korea has a history of regulating internet postings beginning with the first internet regulation ever created – entitled the Telecommunications Business Act (TBA).  The TBA was enacted over 20

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Searching Trademark & Service Marks in Korea: Register your Trademarks/Service Marks Prior to Doing Business in Korea

Prior to marketing products, services or a business in Korea do a thorough search for like trademarks/service marks in Korea, then, have your trademarks/service marks registered in Korea – if you don’t want the added cost of litigating a matter at a Korean court.  If you have patents, don’t forget to, also, register your patents and other intellectual property. Your U.S. and E.U. trademark, service mark and patent filings are not enough. These “international filings” only gives you a grace period to file outside of these jurisdictions.  The Korea Intellectual Property Organization has a website, in English, that has a decent search system.  Regrettably, not all of the information on the site is in English.  This search is not the end of the matter.  You should, obviously, also hire a professional to assist. Upon filing, also, make sure you develop at strategy to protect your Intellectual Property.  Your strategy should,

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Korean IP Infringement Jurisdiction Centralized at Five Korean District Courts and the Patent Court of Korea: Korean Intellectual Property Case Updates

Patent Infringement Case Jurisdiction in Korea This month, the Korean National Assembly passed amendments to both the Korean Court Organization Act and the Civil Procedure Act to, inter alia, give exclusive jurisdiction, in Intellectual Property infringement matters, to five major district courts in Korea with an appeal from these five district courts going, now, to the Patent Court. At present, an IP infringement cases may be brought at any district court with an appeal to a high court.  Appeals of IP Tribunal Cases were, only, allowed to the Patent Court. These amendments shall be effective in any district court cases filed after December 31, 2015. We expect to see this jurisdictional change to allow cases to progress in a more efficient matter, allow judges increased opportunities to specialize and lead to more consistency in the application of law. Other articles that may be of interest: Korean Business/Service Marks Protection under

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Happy Lunar New Year from IPG Legal

___ We in Korea will be having a four day holiday to celebrate the New Year.   Happy New Year to all my Korean friends. We would like to, also, wish a Happy New Year to all of our Chinese friends (Gung Hay Fat Choy or how my partner in China prefers to spell it – Kung Hei Fat Choy).  Have a wonderful Lunar New Year.  Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com. Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw. (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content

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Protecting Products from Parallel Imports into Korea: Trademark/IP in Korea?

A trademark, in brief, under Korean Law is defined as a method of expression used to distinguish one’s goods from those of others.  The concept is simple, however, the law on trademarks in Korea and abroad is far from simple. The use of another person of a company’s trademark (need to register trademarks in Korea – see posts below) is a violation of the rights of the holder of the trademark entitling the holder to an injunction and, potentially, damages.  An issue arises when a Parallel Importer utilizes the trademark to sell goods in Korea of a trademark held by a Sole/Exclusive Importer.  In the typical case the Exclusive Importer is not the holder of the trademark, but has a license to use the trademark.  For example, lets say a company is the Parallel Importer of footwear branded My Left Foot and the Sole/Exclusive Importer of My Left Foot Footwear

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Bye Bye Uber in Korea?

We may see the end of Uber in Korea.  The Korea Telecommunications Commission has requested the Korea Prosecution to file charges against the management of the company for the violation of a law related to location monitoring technology. The Korea Telecommunications Commission claims Korea’s Telecommunication Law requires all companies to register with the Commission any location monitoring services utilized in Korea.  Many of our favorite apps use location monitoring and are not registered with the Commission.  The Seoul Government is in a fierce fight to ban the app in Korea, seemingly, as a means to protect taxi companies and private tax drivers.  We suspect that the Korea Telecommunications Commission will soon block the app from usage in Korea.  The Commission blocks the usage of many websites in Korea that are, inter alia, against the interest of the nation. The blockage of the app, may lead to the end of the

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Establishing a Manufacturing Business in South Korea: Top 14 Things to Know Before you Go

Korea, in most cases, is a much better choice for the manufacturing of chemical, petroleum, construction equipment, complex crafted metals, specialty steel, automotive, semi-conductor, medical and pharmaceutical equipment and goods than China and most nations in Asia, because of Korea’s skilled work force, government incentives and increasingly transparent business practices.  In many cases, manufacturing in Korea will not, in the end, be more costly than manufacturing in China, because of the increased efficiency of Korean workers and the, often, lower cost of doing business.  China is no longer cheap and China will never be easy.  However, before going into any manufacturing arrangement in Korea here are the Top 14 things you need to know before investing money in Korea in a manufacturing venture or like Korean venture. The list assumes that you will have a local company as your JV partner in this manufacturing venture in Korea: Register all Intellectual

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Korea Parallel Imports: How to Protect Your Brand in Korea: The Korean Courts May not be the Answer

The Korean Courts have been very reluctant to enforce prohibitions on the imports of non-counterfeit/grey market products into the Republic of Korea.  The following case is one example. Don’t fret, proactive counsel can be utilized to assist in developing strategies to protect your brand and distributor, agent, dealer or subsidiaries business in the Korean market.  Some of the strategies are obvious and some come from the unique experience gained from doing business in Korea.    In Case No. 2009Ga Hap 125399 (Simmons Korea  vs. Karahan) Decided 12/10/2010, the Seoul Central District Court ruled that Simmons Korea could not prohibit the import of beds from parallel importer Karahan.  Karahan was importing Simmons beds from abroad.  Simons Korea was manufacturing beds in Korea under the Simmons name (licensed from Simmons to Simmons Korea).  Simons USA did not have an equity stake in the Simmons Korea entity. The court reasoned that the regulation

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Weekly Korean Legal News From International Law Firm – IPG Legal for the Week of July 28, 2014

Weekly Korean Legal News From International Law Firm – IPG Legal for the Week of July 28, 2014Korean Legal News Reported by the Media on the Week of July 28, 2014 IMC may blacklist Korean builders over collusion Prosecutors continue probe into ferry owner’s driver Foreign workers upset by severance pay formula Restructuring urgent for big Korean companies Relocation of USFK Headquarters to Go Ahead Most Recent Posts from the Korean Law Blog This slot is reserved for the new article Korean Franchise Law Basics for Franchisors “Samsung’s First Family Struggles to Keep Grip on Company” Report by Bloomberg Debt Collection in Korea: Foreign Creditor vs. Bankrupt Korea Debtor Opportunities in Korea’s Growing Tuning & Performance Modification Industry for Foreign Companies ___ Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com. Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked

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Samsung Faces Challenges as It Tries to Win Smartphone Wars

CNBC released an interesting article on how the largest smartphone maker can win the smartphone war. The article pointed out that despite the recently lowered guidance, Samsung is likely to deliver strong results. The article also mentioned four points that Samsung needs to improve in order to retain its edge in the smartphone market. User interface – “In order to retain its lead over the long term, Samsung needs to build a platform that’s as compelling for app developers and users as Apple.” Customer service – “Good communication between users and the smartphone company is crucial to long term” success. The OS challenge – “Even if Samsung is able to differentiate itself through better customer service and improved user experience, it may face other challenges as it tries to build out Tizen, its first attempt at its own operating system.” Profit margin – “Profit is increasingly important as analysts see a plateauing of the

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Weekly Korean Legal News From International Law Firm – IPG Legal for the Week of July 21, 2014

Weekly Korean Legal News From International Law Firm – IPG Legal for the Week of July 21, 2014Korean Legal News Reported by the Media on the Week of July 21, 2014 South Korea Plans $40 Billion Stimulus to Tackle Weakening Growth Seoul to push tax on corporate cash reserves U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief urges FTA implemantation Workers in Their 60s Outnumber 20-Somethings Mortgage deregulation raises concerns Most Recent Posts from the Korean Law Blog Debt Collection in Korea: Foreign Creditor vs. Bankrupt Korea Debtor Opportunities in Korea’s Growing Tuning & Performance Modification Industry for Foreign Companies Korean Fugitives on the Run: Getting more Difficult with Change of Law Distribution Agreements in Korea: Crawl before you Walk Is Samsung Doomed? No Innovation Price Trap ___ Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com. Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney

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“Samsung’s First Family Struggles to Keep Grip on Company” Report by Bloomberg

The Samsung saga continues.  Lee Jae-Yong is likely to take over from his father soon.  It looks like Lee Kun-Hee’s health is not improving.  Bloomberg has an interesting article on this issue that may be found on the link below.   The Lee Family owns less than two percent of the total shares of Samsung Group, though they near absolutely control 74 companies “through a web of share holdings.” However, because of recently enacted regulations and tax laws, the family may lose its influences over the companies.  President Park has banned “new cross holdings.” Under current tax law in Korea, heirs have to pay inheritance taxes of 50 percent of the asset value which means that Lee Jae-Yong may have to pay about  $6 billion as inheritance taxes. While the Lees are planning to take two companies public in order to raise money to pay the inheritance taxes, Lee Jae-Yong has faced another challenge. According to

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Weekly Korean Legal News From International Law Firm – IPG Legal for the Week of July 14, 2014

Weekly Korean Legal News From International Law Firm – IPG Legal For the Week of July 14, 2014.Korean Legal News Reported by the Media on the Week of July 14, 2014 LG outpaces Samsung in UHD TV panel market in May: data Hana Bank set for merger with KEB Economists Doubt Korea Can Return to Solid Growth Line to Be Listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange Korea ranks third in e-trade readiness Most Recent Posts from the Korean Law Blog Opportunities in Korea’s Growing Tuning & Performance Modification Industry for Foreign Companies Korean Fugitives on the Run: Getting more Difficult with Change of Law Distribution Agreements in Korea: Crawl before you Walk Is Samsung Doomed? No Innovation Price Trap Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) in Korea ___Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com. Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean

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