The Korea Food Industry Association’s consortium includes Samyang Food Co., CJ Cheiljedang Corp., Daesang Corp., and Ottogi Co.
The Chinese companies, Qingdao Taeyangcho Food Co. and Zhengdao Food Co. have been illicitly copying the trademarks and design of Korean food products in producing imitations, releasing them as part of their ‘Sanai’ brand.
One of the Chinese companies’ imitation products, that of Samyang’s “Buldak Bokkeummyeon” instant noodles, is nearly identical to the Korean original.
It is the first time for Korean businesses to join hands in stopping a trademark lawsuit against Chinese imitations, after individual efforts.
South Korean sandwich brand Egg Drop had sued a Chinese imitator who forged license documents to start a franchise in China, winning the case.
Last year, dessert cafe franchise Sulbing got a favorable response from the Chinese commission to annul the trademark of a local ice flake producer that had been copying its products and trademarks.
There are increasing trademark violations in China as Korean food is becoming more and more popular.
The consortium’s lawsuit will not only boost the IP value of Korean food products but also warn to potential imitators.