South Korea’s top court on Thursday ruled in favor of a university in a suit involving the use of the name “Ewha” by a local business.
The Supreme Court upheld the original ruling for the plaintiff in the suit filed by Ewha Womans University in 2010 against a man who operates a production company named Ewha Media.
In the ruling, the owner of the production company, surnamed Moon, was ordered to stop using the name “Ewha” on a building sign, advertising materials and blog, and was told to shut down the website ewha.com.
The court said that the word “Ewha” could not be used without proper permission, referencing survey results from 2004, which showed that 74 percent of respondents tended to associate the word “Ewha” with the school, as well as the school’s history of almost 85 years.
The court also said that the university holds various performances and provides its performance halls to the public, which Ewha Media also does near the university.
“This could be seen as an act of unfair competition as an average consumer could confuse Ewha Womans University’s facilities and businesses with Moon’s,” the court said.
The production company claimed that the word “Ewha” is a regular noun and refers to a type of flower. It also refuted the claims that the school’s use of the name is considered unfair competition, as the performance and recording industries are separate from the education industry.
By Suh Ye-seul (firstname.lastname@example.org)