SundayToz Enters Dispute Over Anipang Trademark

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Mobile game developer SundayToz has announced that it is caught up in a dispute over the trademark rights to the Anipang brand while attempting to expand its business into commercializing characters from the game. SundayToz commented on the situation yesterday saying, “Anipang is currently in a dispute over the trademark with animation producer GoodnJoy. We have filed for the ‘Ani-pang’ trademark which was registered by GoodnJoy to be cancelled as it is unused.”

GoodnJoy is a company that produces animation and educational books. In 2004 the company registered Ani-pang in the four categories of animation movie, book, toys and computer software. GoodnJoy CEO Dong-wook Shin said, “Due to company circumstances we haven’t continued the animation business but have continued to publish books until recently. We are planning to publish an Ani-pang educational book at the end of the year.”

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SundayToz claims that GoodnJoy must cancel its Ani-pang trade mark.

SundayToz is currently waiting to register the trademark in order to launch characters and toys from the popular mobile game. The company’s director Yong-hoo Park stated that after registering the Ani-pang trademark, GoodnJoy has not used it for the last five years and that it is “requesting cancellation on the grounds of disuse”. GoodnJoy responded to this by issuing SundayToz with a trademark infringement warning.

In the case of requesting a cancellation of a trademark due to disuse, it may be cancelled if the owner of the trademark cannot present proof that it has been used in the previous three years. GoodnJoy must provide confirmation that it has used the trademark for services or products in the period from September 2009. A legal representative from GoodnJoy said, “It is true that GoodnJoy had difficulty growing the business in the beginning, however, the company possesses the trademark and is planning a new business, signing an agreement with a subcontractor in China for Ani-pang publications on August 23.”

SundayToz also maintains that the trademarks for each company are slightly different. Director Park saying, “GoodnJoy have a hyphen between the words ‘Ani’ and ‘pang’. The name is the same but there is clearly a difference.” GoodnJoy’s registered trademark is ‘Ani-pang’ while SundayToz registered the name ‘Ani PANG THE PUZZLE’.

In the end, the dispute can only be ended by the Korean Intellectual Property Tribunal. One expert explained, “Whether GoodnJoy can prove that the trademark was used is key. If they keep the trademark then SundayToz may fall into a complex situation involving negotiations or paying compensation for losses.”

Read the original article in Korean at ET News, a media partner of VentureSquare.

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Andy has lived in Korea since 2007 and is the Global Editor for VentureSquare.

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