- Trademark coexistence consent system introduced, passed by the National Assembly plenary session
Scheduled to be implemented in April of next year... Expected to use trademarks for SMEs and small businesses
The system was also revised to expand the scope of applicants, such as expanding the scope of applicants for trademark registration fees refund
A, who is preparing to manage a restaurant in the G area, recently received a notice from the Korea Intellectual Property Office that registration was not possible because the trademark he wanted to use was similar to the prior registration trademark. Upon confirmation, he found that B operates a restaurant with a similar name in the N area, which is geographically far away. B judged that there was no risk of consumers being confused by the two restaurants due to geographical differences and differences in the products sold, and allowed A to register his trademark, but this was not accepted under the current law. In the end, A had to dispose of all the signs and tableware that he had made, incurring losses.
In the future, it is expected that the concerns of small business owners who are unable to register the trademark they want to use due to similar prior registration trademarks will decrease. This is because the so-called “trademark coexistence consent system” is scheduled to be introduced. The Korea Intellectual Property Office announced that the trademark law amendment bill, which is the basis for the introduction of the trademark coexistence consent system, was passed by the National Assembly plenary session on the 6th.
The trademark coexistence consent system is a system that allows the same or similar post-registered trademarks to be registered and used if the prior registered trademark holder and the prior applicant agree. However, in order to protect consumers, if either of the trademarks that have coexisted is used for fraudulent purposes in the future and causes consumer confusion, the registration can be canceled.
Under the current system, post-registered trademarks that are identical or similar to prior registered trademarks or prior application trademarks are rejected. According to statistics, more than 40% of all rejected trademarks are rejected for this reason, and about 82% of them are trademarks applied for by SMEs and small businesses (as of 2022). Given that these businesses are inevitably exposed to serious business instability if the registration of the trademark they want to use is rejected, there have been voices calling for the expansion of the scope of trademark registration to reflect the reality of the market.
If the trademark coexistence consent system is introduced, it will be possible to register and continue using the trademark that is scheduled to be used with the consent of the prior trademark holder, so it is expected that SMEs and small businesses will be able to use trademarks more stably. In addition, as the prior trademark holder agrees to the use of similar trademarks in advance, it is also expected to prevent trademark disputes that may occur in the future. The system has already been introduced and implemented in major overseas countries such as the United States and Singapore, and Japan is also expected to implement the system in the near future as a law amendment bill for the introduction of the system was passed by the National Assembly in June. The system is expected to be implemented in April 2024. However, in order to broaden the scope of application of the system, it is also applied retroactively to applications that were filed before the implementation but whose registration status has not been finalized at the time of implementation.
In addition to the introduction of the trademark coexistence consent system, the bill also includes 10 or more improvement measures, such as the refund of the already paid renewal registration fee if the trademark right expires before the start of the new duration, automatic recognition of the priority of the original application when changing the application, and division of international trademarks. It is expected to contribute to the protection and convenience of applicants in a wider range of aspects.
Lee In-sil, Commissioner of the Korea Intellectual Property Office, said, “The trademark coexistence consent system is a useful system that can achieve both the benefits of improving the convenience of trademark users and reducing the burden of examination on examiners. As the system is being introduced for the first time, we will make every effort to prepare for the implementation of the system by minimizing confusion and maximizing the effect, such as publicity and revision of sub-laws.”
※ Source: E-patent News (https://www.e-patentnews.com/10365)
Is “Gompyo Wheat Beer” production halted? Manufacturer and Trademark Holder dispute referred to Fair Trade Commission
Seven Brau Beer files Lawsuit with Fair Trade Commission and alleges competitor’s technology transfer
Daehan Flour Co. responds, “Manufacturing unique recipe, countering false claims”
The conflict between the beer manufacturer Seven Brau Beer and the trademark holder Daehan Flour Co. over “Gompyo Wheat Beer,” which has swept the nation amid the craft beer craze, is deepening.
According to industry sources on the 20th, Seven Brau Beer recently filed for an injunction to prohibit the sale of Gompyo Wheat Beer with the court, and on the 15th of this month, they also brought a case against Daehan Flour Co. to the Fair Trade Commission. Seven Brau Beer has claimed that Daehan Flour Co. obstructed their business activities by delivering their technology to a competitor, based on recent reference materials.
After terminating their contract with Seven Brau Beer, Daehan Flour Co. decided to collaborate with another manufacturer, Jeju Beer, to produce Gompyo Wheat Beer Season 2. They argue that Season 2’s product is identical to the product previously created in collaboration with Seven Brau Beer.
Additionally, Seven Brau Beer stated that Daehan Flour Co. had notified them in April of last year that they intended to export Gompyo Wheat Beer directly overseas and expressed concerns about contract termination, which is why they had no choice but to transfer all export business to Daehan Flour Co.
Daehan Flour Co. strongly opposes the injunction application submitted by Seven Brau Beer, labeling it as “irresponsible distortion of the facts.” In a statement released on the 19th, Daehan Flour Co. clarified that their trademark and contract with Seven Brau Beer had terminated in March and that they had proposed continued discussions with Seven Brau Beer, which were declined. They accused Seven Brau Beer of filing an injunction application suddenly just before the product launch.
Furthermore, they emphasized that the relaunched Gompyo Wheat Beer is produced with the unique recipe of their new partner, Jeju Beer, and criticized any suspicions raised about unreleased products as “irresponsible distortion of objective facts.” Regarding Seven Brau Beer’s claim about the design of Gompyo Wheat Beer, Daehan Flour Co. stated that they own the precious assets of the Gompyo brand, and the allegations of “design theft or imitation” raised by Seven Brau Beer do not align with the facts.
Gompyo Wheat Beer, introduced by Seven Brau Beer and Daehan Flour Co. in May 2020, was a hit product that sold 58.5 million cans. Since the termination of the trademark usage agreement in April, Seven Brau Beer changed the name of the original Gompyo Wheat Beer to “Daepyo Wheat Beer” and also altered the product design, replacing the bear with a tiger character.
Source: Wolyo News (http://www.wolyo.co.kr)