is a senior researcher of the International IP Law Research Center (IIPRC) of the Patent Court of Korea. She contributes to the court’s efforts in judicial policy-making through comparative research and analysis on patent and trademark laws of the U.S., Europe, Japan, and China among others. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School and is admitted to the New York bar.
Established within the Patent Court of Korea, the IIPRC is a research center dedicated to conducting comparative study on evolving issues in the field of intellectual property law and promoting cooperative efforts among the courts and research institutes that focus on intellectual property law. Chief Judge Seungyoung Lee of the Patent Court of Korea is serving as the Chief Director of the IIPRC
A single alphabet letter mark may face a bigger challenge in some jurisdictions than others. Take the example of Prince Sports International Company Ltd.’s stylized letter “P”. The Korean Trademark Act prevents registration of “a trademark that consists solely of a simple and common mark” under Article 33(1)(6). Prince Sports International Company Ltd., a Hong Kong-based company that manufactures sports goods, sought to register “P” as its trademark for jewelry, computers, online shopping mall businesses, etc. in Korea. It had already registered the same mark in the United States, Australia, and China, among other countries. In the United States, it is registered as Prince Sports, Inc.’s stylized word mark for tennis rackets. However, the Korean IP Office (KIPO) examiner rejected the application under the Korean Trademark Act, Article 33(1)(6)(a trademark that consists solely of a simple and common mark may not be registered) and Article 33(1) (7)(nondistinctive trademarks that do not serve as a source identifier for other reasons are also unregistrable).