British Corporation, Burberry Ltd. won partially against “Burberry Karaoke”
in the court of appeal in Korea.
At the first trial, The Karaoke won the suit with the court’s ruling that there was no confusion.
The appellate court reversed the verdict with granting compensation, 2.5 million won for Burberry Ltd, saying that the Burberry Karaoke infringed on the reputation of Burberry Ltd.
Civil suit department 3 at Daejeon High Court reversed the original decision and ruled in favor of Burberry Ltd. in the court of appeal where Burberry Ltd filed the lawsuit for the compensation of their damages against the owner of “Burberry Karaoke” on the ground of the violation of antiunfair competition law.
It began with the request of the Burberry Ltd to a renowned Korean law firm to search any infringement on their trademark. The lawyer in charge sent the notice of the warning to change their trade name by certified mail to the business having used “Burberry” as their trade. Most of the business accepted the request but the defendant complained of an injustice, saying that “Burberry” had been used for the Karaoke as its trade name before he took over it.
As the defendant did not accept the request of Burberry Ltd. arguing that he did not sell any clothes under the name of Burberry and just simply run the Karaoke named “Burberry”, Burberry Ltd. brought a lawsuit against the owner of the Karaoke for the compensation of their damage. The neon sign the defendant used for his Karaoke was written “Burberry Karaoke” in Korean and it did not have Burberry’s typical stripe cross or the design of a knight on horseback.
The first trial court ruled that the defendant’s act did not violate the antiunfair competition law on the ground that it is highly unlikely that consumers mistakenly think that the Karaoke is run by Burberry Ltd. and there is no concrete evidence to prove that Burberry Ltd. was damaged by the Karaoke.
That decision was very similar with the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States in 2003 on Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, Inc. which was the lawsuit for the compensation of the damage brought by the worldfamous underwear brand, “Victoria Secret” against the store selling adult goods & underwear, “Victor’s Secret” run by Mr. Victor Mosely and Mrs. Cathy Mosely. The Supreme Court made a decision in favor of the Moselys on the ground that the loss Victoria Secret had suffered could not be proved. The decision caused lots of controversies and as a result, the Federal Trademark Dilution Act was revised three years later, which enable plaintiffs to get the compensation of their damage resulting from trademark infringements even if the specific amount of the damage cannot be estimated.
The defendant’s lawyer said “although I am the lawyer for the defendant but if the decision of the first trial were sustained, it could cause lots of controversies locally and abroad and to be honest, I could not make any argument to defeat the Burberry’s argument that defendant’s Karaoke infringed on the reputation of Burberry Inc in the court of appeal”
As the court of appeal accepted Burberry’s complaints, the defendant must pay the compensation in the amount of 2.5million won.