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Successful Defense of a Preliminary Injunction Action Regarding Tumbler Design


On behalf of a multinational roaster and retailer of specialty coffees, Kim & Chang’s Intellectual Property Practice successfully defended a preliminary injunction action that was brought against the client’s Korean licensee by an entity claiming infringement of its design registration for a tumbler (the “Registered Design”).

The plaintiff alleged that the design of a popular tumbler sold in the defendant’s offline stores and website in Korea (the “Subject Product Design”) was similar to the aforementioned Registered Design.  Representing the defendant, our firm argued that there were several differences that could be easily perceived when the Registered Design and the Subject Product Design were compared.

In addition to arguing that there were differences in the designs, our firm submitted examples of various designs that were publicly known prior to the filing date of the Registered Design as evidence of the fact that each feature of the Subject Product Design that arguably resembled that of the Registered Design was publicly known.  Additionally, our firm argued that the two designs could not be held to be similar solely on the basis that they shared elements which are publicly known, and that in order to be found similar, the two designs should convey a similar overall aesthetic when compared by an observer.

The Seoul Central District Court accepted all of Kim & Chang’s arguments and held that the designs were not similar.  The plaintiff’s preliminary injunction petition was dismissed, and the plaintiff did not appeal the decision.