KPOP has become a new and explosive genre of music all over the world and for this eminent popularity, the credits go to one and only BTS (Bangtan Sonyedon). This K-Pop boy group has been receiving so much faith and admiration for their music, that now in every mall or store, their songs are constantly playing.
The group can achieve this much success, because of the constant support and affection from their fan base, which is known as ‘ARMY’, and notably every age group grooves over their music.
In the year 2016, during a fan meeting, the term ‘Borahe’ or ‘I Purple You’ was introduced by a BTS member, named V. He described the meaning of the term as the last color of the rainbow is purple, therefore trust and love should be a showcase to each other until the very end. Ever since then, this term has been widely used by the BTS and ARMY as a manner to express their fondness, care, and support for each other, and resultant many past instances are the given examples of their strong bond with each other.
One of the cases is when a cosmetic company, Lalalee ( a Korean nail company )used the trademark “Borahae (I Purple You)” on their products, and as a result, they suffered a negative reaction from the BTS ARMY.
The Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service stated that the LALALEES company has applied for the trademark usage of ‘Borahe’ on September 1st, 2020, under the arrangement of soaps, essential oils, fragrances, cosmetics, hair products, polishes, and cleaning agents.
With the impactful repercussions suffered, the LALALEE company eventually withdrew their trademark application on 31st May 2021 and also issued an apologizing statement on the website to the fans for causing major sentimental concern.
The major backlash was there, as the ARMY was having emotional restraint with the consideration that ‘Borahe’ was being used as a trademark by another company that is not related to HYBE, and this type of action could lead to more brand infringement and sway the usage of future terms and phrases, therefore on the high demand of the ARMY, the BTS agency, i.e HYBE have applied for the trademark over the Korean term ‘Borahe’ on June 4th, 2021 with the Korean Intellectual Property Office.
In context to legal aspects, Korea is the first to file or for registration based jurisdiction concern, and according to the principle application the first registrant of the mark would enjoy exclusive rights in the mark, against all the late applicants for the same concerned mark in respect to the same or similar goods and services respectively.
But with the above-mentioned trademark usage and controversy, in case the unregistered trademark is used in Korea or elsewhere widely, to the extent that goodwill has been pronounced, then any mark which is identical or leading to confusing stance to the well-known mark, therefore would not be granted registration and importantly it is susceptible to invalidation even it is registered.
It is observed that even if the Lalaees company wanted to keep their application, their probability of winning would be very less, firstly the KIPO had set higher standards for the bad faith marks, especially when the term is in a unique form, and importantly if the same has been introduced by the distinguished and famous personality or entertainer. Currently, the “Borahe” trademark is owned by the entertainment company Hybe, that manages and represents the band. It pushed them to apply for the application once this issue with the nail company lalaees came up.
Therefore it can be safely said that the worthy popularity dominance and regulations could move hand in hand.
This piece has been written by Radhika Singla, during her internship with MikeLegal.
video source: https://videopress.com/v/PAEC23th