Since T-ARA‘s decision to leave MBK Entertainment, CEO Kim Kwang Soo has been adamant that he will do all he can to prevent the members from using the name T-ARA at a new company.
“Everything with T-ARA started with the name. After choosing the group name, I chose the members and the group was formed.
It’s not something that’s owned just by the 4 members [who recently left MBK]. It’s something that belongs to the agency and everyone who has worked with the group.” — Kim Kwang Soo
MBK Entertainment’s most recent attempt to trademark the name T-ARA was shut down by KIPRIS, or the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service.
They published a Notification of Reason for Refusal to MBK Entertainment’s class 41 (entertainment) trademark application for the name T-ARA.
“Reason for Rejection: Article 34 Section 1 Item 6
The trademark being applied for (T-ARA) is a widely known celebrity group name and cannot be registered as a trademark by the company due to Article 34 Section 1 Item 6 of the Trademark Act. Only if the applicant (company) presents the agreement of the members or presents a contract proving ownership of the trademark will registration be possible.”
It is notable that Article 34 Section 1 Item 6 of the Trademark Act states that it is not possible to trademark the name, title, portrait, signature, seal, literary name, pen name, or stage name of a prominent person.
MBK Entertainment’s previous applications for class 03 (cosmetics, laundry detergent, etc), class 25 (clothing, footwear, headwear), and class 09 (science, photography, educational equipment) trademarks were rejected as well.
Nevertheless, the application is still under examination as MBK Entertainment has 3 months to submit further documents before a final verdict is made.