Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pursuing North Korea with IP

In case you did not know, North Korea is involved in producing and exporting counterfeit cigarettes. I am glad this story as resurfaced (I remember it from a Wall Street Journal article about a year ago), since it allows me to share an idea.

In the past as well I have mentioned the case of Mr Hong Sok Jung, a North Korean writer. A North Korean "Foundation" is trying to enforce his copyrights in South Korea. A rather unique way to obtain hard currency (for all of you who think Mr. Hong will see any of the money, the "short bus" is here to take you home). In the last article about the Foundation's efforts "for" Mr. Hong there was this observation from the foundation's South Korean lawyer:

Chung Yeon-soon, the lawyer of Hankyul who represents Hong, said the writer brought the case through the Foundation of Inter-Korea Cooperation, which North Korea entrusted with copyrights of the North’s writings...[Chung said] Hong is entitled to file the suit, as the Constitution stipulates that the territory of the Republic of Korea is the Korean Peninsula and nearby islands. Thus, the Korean law is effective in the North.

|f that is true for copyright law, it should also be true for laws such as Trademark Law and Unfair Competition Law. Perhaps somebody should find out a little more about the counterfeiting in the North and file a criminal complaint here in the South. 


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