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Established in 1973, Kim & Chang is Korea’s premier law firm with a market leading position in all practice areas including antitrust and competition…
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Kim & Chang | South Korea | 7 Jan 2019

KIPO begins policing 'idea theft' unfair competition

The latest amendment to the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act introduced a new provision prohibiting unfair competition in connection with 'idea theft' – the unfair use of the ideas of another that were acquired as part of a business negotiation or transaction. The purpose of the amendment is to provide additional protection for creative business ideas that may not......
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Kim & Chang | South Korea | 24 Dec 2018

Korea Customs Service announces amendments to IP rights protection guidelines

The Korea Customs Service recently issued an announcement regarding proposed amendments to the Korea Customs Guidelines for Import and Export Customs Clearance Procedures for Intellectual Property Rights. Of note for brand owners is the fact that the customs recordation term is set to increase from three years to 10 years. Further, the process for recording patent and design rights will be......
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Kim & Chang | South Korea | 5 Nov 2018

Supreme Court sets rules for international panels

Under the amendment to the Court Organisation Act, certain courts handling IP cases have been given authority to establish international panels of judges to review cases in languages other than Korean as a way of making South Korea a more attractive venue for foreign litigants to bring IP litigation cases. To provide further details on the implementation of the amendment, the Supreme Court......
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Kim & Chang | South Korea | 8 Oct 2018

Significant increase in non-use cancellation actions

According to data recently published by the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the number of non-use cancellation actions filed in South Korea has significantly increased in recent years, resulting in nearly double the number of registrations being cancelled in 2017 compared with previous years. As such, trademark owners with portfolios which include marks not currently active in South......
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Kim & Chang | South Korea | 13 Aug 2018

Supreme Court rules that AMERICAN UNIVERSITY trademark is inherently distinctive

The Supreme Court recently ruled en banc that the AMERICAN UNIVERSITY trademark was sufficiently distinctive among South Korean consumers to be registered in connection with university education services, instruction services and other designated services. The court's reasoning is notable because it appears to hold that consumer awareness evidence can be used to prove the inherent......
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Kim & Chang | South Korea | 30 Jul 2018

Supreme Court broadens doctrine of equivalents to emphasise purpose over specific structures

In a recent case, the Supreme Court appears to have essentially broadened the doctrine of equivalents to emphasise that structures in an accused product that are very different from claimed elements can still be 'equivalent', provided that the differences are conventional and the basic purpose of the invention is still achieved. The patent at issue related to a device for lifting a 'gang......
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Kim & Chang | South Korea | 4 Jun 2018

Trade dress protection for service providers and new provision on theft of ideas

An important amendment to the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act will come into effect in July 2018. This amendment specifies the protection to be given to trade dress belonging to service providers in South Korea and introduces a new type of prohibited unfair competitive activity.
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Kim & Chang | South Korea | 28 May 2018

Legal developments regarding patent term extensions

Numerous generics have filed challenges to the validity of patent term extensions in South Korea in the past few years, raising various issues of first impression. In November 2017 the Supreme Court rejected two of the major validity issues raised by the generics. Since then, the Patent Court and Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board have addressed various other legal issues.
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Kim & Chang | South Korea | 26 Mar 2018

PyeongChang Winter Olympics: government signals that ambush marketing will not be tolerated

The 2018 PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Act, which aims to prohibit the unauthorised use of Olympic Games-related symbols, logos and slogans, did not initially address the issue of ambush marketing, leading to some uncertainty as to whether ambush marketing activities might be tolerated. However, the government has now indicated its intention to regulate such activities by......
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Kim & Chang | South Korea | 19 Mar 2018

Supreme Court overrules both lower tribunals to recognise inventiveness

The Supreme Court recently issued decisions recognising the inventiveness of two Novartis patents for a compound and a transdermal composition. The decision regarding the compound patent was noteworthy not only because this was the second time that the Supreme Court has recognised the inventiveness of a selection invention in South Korea, but also because both lower tribunals had specifically......
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