Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Say What?

Yanks' Wang among Taipei's options ---MLB's World Baseball Classic Webstie

Monday, February 20, 2006

Drinking the "Hub" Kool-aid

There is a big shindig people involved in licensing in Seoul in April, specifically the annual meeting for the Licensing Executives Society. I still may go to this, I don't know as of yet.  Meanwhile Kim Sun-ryung, one of the organizers, achieves the amazing feat in the Korea Herald of writing 903 words about the conference while avoiding giving any constructive reason to go. In any case writing skills are not why I bring this out. What attracted my eye was Mr. Kim's gratuitous use of the "Hub" myth:

It seems most timely and appropriate that Seoul is the next venue for the [Licensing Executives Society] Conference as it is regarded as the hub of northeast Asia.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Ubiquitous Watch, Fun With Statistics, Advertising Edition

I couple weeks ago I pointed out how Ubiquitous insofar as technology is more of a Korean term than an English term. In a recent Korea Herald article I found the new Konglish sweeping the nation being discussed as a "Foreign Word":

"Obviously, no company would want to put a PPL (Product Placement) ad in a collapsing shack, right? With drama producers pouncing on companies for more investment, it is only a matter of course that TV dramas turn into fancy commercials," said EBS policy committee member Yang Moon-suk at the Broadcasting Producer Association forum last year.

PPL? Thats a new one for me. What does the "L" stand for? So I looked it up to confirm its use. I get:

pay per lead: Online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely based on qualifying leads.

So I did some searching to find out about its frequency of use. First just googling PPL is no good since it could mean anything (almost 6 million hits). PPL and advertising as also too general of a search judging from the results (almost 850K hits, and the first few are for selling your mobile home). So I looked for "PPL Product Placement Advertising" and got 80K hits, with the first one a Wikipedia reference. Meanwhile I typed in "PPL 광고" with the first article about product placement with over 50K hits. 

Using the statistics on population in my previous referenced post you get .000084 uses of PPL for product placement for each English user and .00014 uses of PPL for product placement for each Korean user (I left out the North Koreans for obvious reasons).

So I ask you is "PPL" really an english term as it's bandied about in Korea?


I know I have not updated too much, my schedule has gotten screwy so no time to find things and comment. However since my good friend Cathartidae has tagged me, here is meaningless update:

Now I tag nobody in particular.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A model?

For all of you who think that all of us Expat bloggers just hate Korea, you really a have to check out The Worst of Luxembourg Blog to see how its really done.

Korean Wine

This is off topic for the most part, but I want to make a not here to remind me of the article. The Chosun Ilbo reports on some study or survey about Korean wine consumption. It notes that the most popular wines are usually cheap and sweet. No surprise, most countries in the early adoption stages of wine choose cheap and sweet. Even the US has it to some extent. However this being Korea, I wonder if this is an early stage or a final stage. In the past I have commented on the Korean habit of taking an import, and making it a national standard. For example, instant coffee still dominates the Korean market, despite alternatives being available. The same thing  can be said for cans of Spam. I wonder if wine could end up being the same thing.

Monday, February 13, 2006

What exactly would you call it then?

An Intel spokesman did not characterize the visit [by the Korea Fair Trade Commission] as a raid, but said it was completely unexpected and was part of a probe into the company's business practices. -Arirang News via Chosun Ilbo 02/10/06

Its a dirty job but...

Ministry hit for playing politics with fertilizer -Joongang Daily 2/13/06  

Sorry about screwing you

Ssangyong Motor, really needs to learn how to frame news:

Ssangyong Motor Co. said yesterday it would cease any unfair business activities to improve the company's brand image as well as consumers' trust. 

So in other words, Ssangyong was cheating its customers mercilessly in the past. 

More money for the drain

In a story I always find tinged with sadness, Korea announces about US$9 billion in government funding for R&D, particularly in the biotech sector. The times story linked to refers a lot to Korea's "biotech ranking" internationally. Perhaps its a tired subject, but it always dismaying to worry about its ranking without any question of "why" such a ranking is a problem. I should add as well, in my opinion if Korea wants to get more competitive they should reform its patent system and corporate R&D policies so as the actual inventor gets more than "I invented something that made LG millions and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" gear.

Another Patent Pool

LG and Toshiba announce decision to pool patents. This is one is over CD and DVD Technologies.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ubiquitous Watch plus Fun With Statistics

"We are also discussing how to translate the widely-used English tech-terms into Korean, such as `ubiquitous’ and `e-mail,’’’ said Kwon Chan, the [Microsoft Korea's] executive of public relations.

Since when was "ubiquitous" a "widely-used English tech-term"?

Consider the following, according to Wikipedia there are a total of 1,380-530 million English speakers of various quality around the world (I will average those two numbers, 955 million, for future calculations) . According to the same source there are 71 million Korean speakers of various quality.

If you do a search for "Ubiquitous" and either "computer" or "internet" in Google you get 32.3 million pages. If you do the same in Korea for "유비쿼터스"  with either "컴퓨터" or " 인터넷" you get 1.53 million pages.

Now if you put those figures together, there are .034 uses of ubiquitous in a technology setting by English speakers world wide, meanwhile there are .022 uses of the word in a technology setting by Korean speaker. In other words, English speakers use it 35% more than Korean speakers, yet there are 93% more English speakers than Korean speakers. This tends to support that the word is more by Koreans in such terms than English speakers.

Add to this is the simple fact that 23 million of those 71 million are in North Korea where not only is technology strictly regulated but also the use of english terms like "유비쿼터스" AND the fact that this page survey does not count English usage of the word on Korean sites (I doubt there are many English produced sites using "유비쿼터스"). This could possibly mean that Korean usage on a per person basis could actually EXCEED english use of the word in a technology setting (indeed, after lopping off the North, usage raises to .032 per speaker almost a tie).

Perhaps Microsoft Korea needs to hire a new PR consultants rather than translators.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Another Chip Suit

Matsushita says Samsung violated its semiconductor patents. When I find more info, I may update this stumpy post to a stumpy piece in the Joongang Ilbo (might mean Samsung really got its hand caught in the cookie jar if the Korean press barely mentions it).

Ubiquitous Watch

"That means the porn-on-the-go services will be ubiquitous in our society...'' [Hwang Jin-ku, senior researcher at the state-backed Korea Institute for Youth Development] said.

People to do in Denver

I gotta link to this hilarious take since it is related to my weak theme. Apparently a Denver massagee parlor is using the picture of some Korean actress to drum up business. Frankly it begs the question how did they spot this in Denver in the first place.

Read all about it, laugh, and find out what "celebratio" means at Party Pooper.

Um...does Coca-Cola know?

Interesting article about the trend of cross branding in Korea in the Joongang Ilbo. The headline caught my eye, and so did this passage:

Bean Pole, a clothing brand, last week launched "Coke-up Jeans," which uses Coca-Cola's logo as a motif. Bean Pole has also used Coca-Cola's classic red color by designing jeans with red stitches and a red label. Additionally, it has printed the shape of a coke bottle, considered one of the most outstanding designs in the 20th century, on t-shirts.

"Coke-up"? What the F! As I recall Coke is rather touchy not only of all those marks mentioned, but also of anything to do with linking its marks with Cocanie (for example see Coca-Cola vs. Gemini Rising). Makes me wonder if Bean Pole, owned by Samsung by the way, has licensed this.

Korean-American Bowl XXXL

After reading stories about Hines Ward and Sonya Thomas, I have the ultimate challenge for them both. How about we bring them over and challenge them to see who is the first to eat 26 sandwiches, run 100 yards, only to get feild tackled at the end by say Brian Urlacher (for no reason other than I am a Bear's fan). The trick is you have to keep the sandwiches down. You toss your cookies, you toss your chances.

A look at the competitors:

Ms. Thomas:

Her Selected Best Stats

Cheesecake: 11 pounds in 9 minutes

Chicken Wings: 167 wings in 32 minutes

Eggs: 65 hard boiled eggs in 40 seconds

Lobster: 44 pounds in 12 minutes

Tacos: 48 chicken soft tacos in 11 minutes

Mr. Ward

Selected Career Stats

Yards per game: 55.4

Longest Catch: 85

Average Yards After Catch: 4.3

Touch Downs: 52

Fumbles: 6


At first Ward would be considered the favorite. A six foot, 215 lbs., football player not only has the moves, but is likely used to large meals to keep up his playing weight and metabolism. Meanwhile Sonya is pushing 40, and based on the stats you click to above you can see she lost a step from her youth comparing between her earlier "Turducken" win and the recent "Turkey" win. However Ms. Thomas cannot be immedatly discounted. Her slight 100 lbs. frame may prove to be too elusive a target for Urlacher to effectively tackle. And if she does go down, since she is used to eating so much and keeping it down, the event that Ward will do the technicolor yawn cannot be discounted.

Opening Line: Ward by pickle

Finally for good measure, we will have Chan-ho Park choking on the sidelines.

Psst! Wanna buy a watch?

From the Korea Times Fakes siezed by the Korean Customs Service.

Korea Gets More Worked Up for IP Enforcement

A couple of stories in the Korea Times, one day after another, shows a movement to enforce IP rights...or is there a movement. We start with a movement in the Presidential Cabinet to increase the penalties for software piracy:

Those caught infringing on the copyrights of computer programs by illegally copying or distributing them can face up to five years of imprisonment. Previously, the maximum sentence was three years in jail. 

The stiffer penalty will take effect when the National Assembly passes the revision of the law on protecting computer programs, which was endorsed during a Cabinet meeting Tuesday. 

"The revision is aimed at providing an incentive to create programs,’’ an official at the Ministry of Information and Communication said. "It's also fair in light of equality with laws protecting other intellectual properties.’

Sounds good. We also have the National Intelligence Service wanting more penalties for Industrial Espionage according to the Korea Times. One reason is the increasing number of cases:

The counter-espionage agency said Tuesday it detected 29 cases of industrial espionage last year, which would have cost the country 35.5 trillion won if they had not been caught. Half of them involved big high-tech corporations. The number of detected case was six in 2003, but jumped to 26 in 2004.

Now we come to the "BUT", and its actually two big "BUTs". The National Intelligence Service stumbles on one of the "but's":

"Only about one third of convicted people receive prison terms or are fined, while the rest get suspended sentences or were found not-guilty. They get light sentences because either it is their first offense or they are caught before selling what they have stolen,'' an NIS officer said over the telephone on condition of anonymity.

From 2003 to 2004, only 16 out of 249 convicted people were sentenced to actual jail terms. That means the ratio of persons who received real jail terms is significantly lower than the average number of criminal cases, which is 25.4 percent.

This is one of the larger problems in Korea with regard to IP prosecution. The most preferable way to prosecute an infringement case is via criminal law (civil law is a endless pit of despair). A catch is that most criminal cases, especially for these types of crimes, eventually result in slaps on the wrist. Hell, I once blogged about a man who molested two kids, 4 and 5, that only got 8 months in the slam.  In a court system like that, guess how much a guy who stole some CD-ROMS gets? 

Speaking of espionage, any updates on the LMNT case? The prosecution supposedly caught them red-handed, shouldn't it be a slam dunk? Its been over six months now since they were caught.

Now for the second "BUT". There is one huge hurdle that the above from the Cabinet and the NIS does not address. Also if you wanted an update, its one reason the "reward" system I talked about is hollow and meaningful as a chocolate easter bunny. There is no ex officio prosecution in Korea. That is to say the only reason way anybody is going to get even see the business end of the law is if a company actually invests the won to go and prosecute the thing. The program I blogged on, linked above, about the "reward" system for spotting counterfeiters, is meaningless since the only way an informer gets rewarded if the wronged party actually successfully prosecutes the case (among other problems).

In my personal opinion, the only way IPR laws will have any teeth is if both cases are easier to report, are vigorously pursued by the authorities (including allowing prosecutors to file injunctions), and FINALY the above concerns about penalties are addressed.

More Trademark Football Fun

The Red Criers, I mean Red Devils, are complaining about the fact that SK Telecom is using people wearing Red in their World Cup themed ads. This is not a joke, here is a discription of the ad in the Korea Times:

Korea's largest mobile service operator has been publishing TV and newspaper advertisement in which a woman in a red t-shirt and a red hood cheers for the national football team in a crowd of red on a street, with a line that reads ``Now it begins once again. We are `Taehanminkuk (Republic of Korea)'''

They have a trademark on the color red? Have you ever heard a group more full of themselves. The leader of the group says in the same artcile they are a "niche marketer", what the hell are they marketing? 

Finally in a memo to the Korea Times, I do not think the SK ad qualifies as "ambush marketing", what are the ambushing?

Like A Pheonix

A bit of unrelated Auto news. Duesenbergs are set to return!

That Kinky Court

I do not know if its just the newspaper translation, or the normal lingustic acrobatics a Korean Court goes through, but I am looking forward to the humor sparked by any court ruling on sex. I commented before on this here, now via the Dong-A is this hollower:

"The videos are nothing less than obscene material made only to make profits by stimulating people’s curiosity about sex.”

"Curiosity"? Does the court think we are seven year olds? I would love to see the Korean Supreme Court explain about the birds and bees. It would be hilarious.

Easy Job

I know what they mean (I think), but the way this is wrote is worth a smile. From the Dong-A:

He is currently working as a general manager responsible for sales for Kyocharo, a free information newspaper.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Stolen One Rally Monkey

(Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice or proper opinion. I am simply some idiot trying to make sense of things. Please consult proper legal counsel before making any decision.)

Ever since I moved under the shadow of Anaheim Stadium in 1987, I have been an Angels fan. I have been through it all, the trailing off of the great '86 team before it, the '95 collapse against the Mariners, the disastrous Mo Vaughn signing, and last but not least the World Series victory in '02.

That last one included a rather cheesy thing, that has become a bit of team lore, the Rally Monkey. Well it turns out the Rally Monkey made an appearance, sort of, at my work today.

I stumbled across Korean Trademark Registration #0586462, RALLY MONKEY, in Class 28 for a Mr. Larry R. Cano. This corresponds to Mr. Cano's US Trademarks for the same.

That is right, the Angels have no registered right to use "Rally Monkey" on merchandise in either the US or Korea (and likely many other countries). Its owned by a Cano. This is suspect to me, there is no way I can believe legally that some guy in Newport Beach, CA just randomly decided to file for the mark in October 2002 (the middle of the world series playoff run).

While I have no record of a fight of the Korean Trademark by the Angels or MLB, I do wonder if they explored with Korean counsel. First they may have a good chance to get it due to international fame, given the only understanding by Korean consumers of the mark is due to MLB telecast of games. However that is not the real tool I want to discuss.

One could cancel the trademark due to non-use. Now while most countries have this, the key in Korea is the standard is MUCH higher than in the US. In Korea companies usually have to show a great effort to import, market, and/or sell the goods. After three years, a mark is eligible for cancelation this way, and if the owner cannot prove such significant use the mark will be cancelled, and the filing party would have exclusive rights to file for that name for a period of time. 

It should be said that this tool is one that is used both the detriment and benefit of foreign companies in Korea. Companies find it good way to trip-up squatters because the standards are so high, however squatters find it a great tool to get valuable trademarks because the goods are not imported into Korea. Also as you can guess, squatters fight tooth and nail over these things since the outlay is pretty low compared to the costs. (The stories I could tell...)

Anyway to wrap up, I strongly recommend any company registering here to keep good records of their efforts in Korea to protect against cancelation, and if you find a mark you want likely held by a squatter quietly wait and file the cancelation trial on the date if you can wait for it (otherwise he will certainly "invent" some use to get it by KIPO, trust me).