[Photo provided by Kumkang]
Korean footwear and fashion brand Kumkang said on Tuesday it has won a year-long court battle with Regal Corporation, Japan’s largest manufacturer of leather shoes, over trademark infringement.
In January of last year, the Chiba-based manufacturer filed a suit with a Seoul district court against Kumkang for unauthorized use and infringement of its exclusive right to the ‘Regal’ brand assigned from U.S. Brown Group in 1990. The Japanese firm argued that the trademark rights were transferred to it from the American company to cover major countries except North America and Puerto Rico. In defense, Kumkang argued that it had followed legitimate procedures to register the trademark since 1982.
The court ruled in favor of Kumkang, saying Kumkang had spent a significant amount of money developing and promoting the Regal brand in Korea, and Korea was not clearly indicated as a target market at the time of the trademark transfer to Regal.
The Japanese counterpart is unlikely to appeal as the court already ordered the Japanese company to acknowledge the legitimacy of Kumkang’s trademark, but the Korean maker will pursue if its rights are challenged.
By Moon Ho-hyun and Minu Kim
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