A Vietnamese real estate developer is reportedly promoting new apartments projects in HCM City and has invoked the brands of Samsung C&T –a luxurious South Korean apartment brand that is not involved in the projects.
The company said that Housing Development and Trading Joint Stock Company (HDTC) identified it as one of HDTCs design consulting partners on its websites and that Samsung C&T is the manager of one of the projects in promotional emails related to apartments it was building and marketing.
In a statement, Samsung C&T said it has never been involved in the construction or marketing of these apartments.
“It came to our attention in August 2018 that an apartment called RAEMIAN CITY in HCM City was planning on or already in the process of offering its units for purchase," the company said."On March 19, 2019, it was discovered that information about the sales and investment related to the project was being posted on websites and blogs in South Korea. On June 3, 2019, it was discovered that HTDC was falsely promoting Samsung C&T as the management services provider."
Samsung C&T also claimed the name of its housing brand,Raemian, was used in an unauthorised manner by HDTC to form three corporate entities(Raemian Company Limited, Raemian Investment Company Limited, and Raemian Consultancy and Design Company Limited) and to register four corresponding domain names(raemian.vn, raemiancity.vn, raemian.com.vn, and raemiancity.com.vn).
Samsung C&T said it had no involvement in the companies or websites and expressed concern about HDTC's use of trademarks and misleading claims.
“There is the direct issue of our RAEMIAN trademark rights in Viet Nam being infringed upon and the indirect issue of the claim of our involvement in the aforementioned project as its management services provider," Samsung C&T said."Together, these issues can potentially create unwitting victims who are misled to associate the project with the RAEMIAN brand and have a negative impact on the reputation and value of Samsung and the RAEMIAN brand.
"Recent publications of news articles that were critical of the aforementioned project proceeding without the requisite permits made it no longer possible for us to remain uninvolved.”
The South Korean firmplans to issue a notice of infringement to HDTC, request the assistance from relevant authorities in Viet Nam and take other proactive measures.
"We are in the process of reviewing a legal response consisting ofvarious civil and administrative actions and have already examined different categories of infringement and submitted an evaluation request to Viet Nam Intellectual Property Research Institute,” it said.
"Many countries around the world recognise brands as intellectual properties and have measures in place to protect them," it continued."While we believe a legal course of action is also available in Viet Nam, there are members of the general public in Viet Nam remain unfamiliar with intellectual property rights and the publics awareness of intellectual property rights will need to be raised first through a multifaceted campaign. RAEMIAN is a highly respected and trusted brand that ranked first in the Apartment category of Korea Productivity Centres National Customer Satisfaction Index for the 22nd consecutive year."
"This latest incident confirms a high degree of interest in the brand not only in South Korea but throughout Asia as a whole and compels us to do a better job protecting the RAEMIAN brand both in South Korea and abroad."— VNS