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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Girls' Generation In A Trademark Battle Against a Businessman Over The Band's Name

by Therese Agcopra / Oct 22, 2015 07:57 AM EDT
Girls Generation at KCON 2014 (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images Entertainment)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Girls' Generation over use of their group name. The Court, in its decision, stated that the trademark right of Girls' Generation belongs to its agency SM Entertainment.

SM Entertainment copyrighted the name "Girls' Generation" when the group debuted in 2007, which granted the company the sole right to use the name for albums, videos, sound sources and other related merchandise, Chosun Ilbo writes Wednesday.

Korea Times reports Tuesday that business operator Mr. Kim also registered "Girls' Generation" 10 days later as a brand name for toys, clothes, and food products.

SM Entertainment filed a complaint with the Intellectual Property Trial and Appeal Board in December 2011 to render null and void the second registration made by Mr. Kim.

The Board ruled in favor of SM Entertainment and invalidated Kim's registration in August 2012, after which Kim filed a lawsuit against the entertainment agency with the Patent Court of Korea.

The Patent Court of Korea partially ruled in favor of Kim, citing that Kim's use of "Girls' Generation" for his products posed no danger of confusing consumers with the girl group.

The Supreme Court overturned the Patent Court's decision because the brand name is already highly associated with the girl band.

Since Girls' Generation debuted in 2007 the band has established its own profile and branding. Should Kim be allowed to continue using the name, it could cause a misunderstanding between fans who might think Kim's products were one and the same with Girls' Generation merchandise. 

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