Copyright Owners Dispute Over Counterfeited Product in South Korea
A South Florida-based company is faced with a struggle for justice after their copyrighted breast-enhancing product is illegally reproduced and sold in the South Korean market. Brava, LLC, a corporation with the exclusive rights to patent, manufacture, market and distribute their Brava Breast Enhancement and Shaping System, recently fell victim to a copyright infringement scheme when a South Korean partner breached its distributor agreement and began reproducing inferior devices and selling them independently in South Korea.
The device, with cosmetic and medical applications, is a bra that is clinically proven to enhance breast size without surgery. It was developed in Miami, Florida by a medical team at Brava, LLC. The corporation hired attorney Roberto Villasante to bring suit against the Korean counterfeiter Chun Sup Kim and the corporate entity INSOP. Mr. Villasante engaged South Korea’s second largest law firm to collaborate in this litigation.
In a related criminal proceeding Mr. Kim has now been found guilty of counterfeiting the Brava device which was first released in the Korean market in 2001. The products consist of a set of silicone-domes held in place over the breasts, a ‘SmartBox’, which creates vacuum pressure within the domes, a support bra, which helps the user to wear the products, a tube connecting the domes to the SmartBox, a filter which removes moisture, and a cleaning kit. For the device and all its parts, the trademark “BRAVA” was registered on August 9, 2004.
Defendant Kim established his own company on June 27, 2003 and entered into a distributor agreement with Brava, LLC in October of 2005. Under this agreement, Brava, LLC granted Kim’s company an exclusive license to distribute and market the devices in Korea. However, relations would soon turn sour after Kim planned to use reverse-design (reverse-engineered) data off the devices to sell the copied products to consumers as if they were imported from Brava, LLC–a move that breached the distributor agreement and arguably violated the Unfair Competition Prevention Act in South Korea.
It wasn’t long before Brava, LLC representatives became aware of the copied products being sold in the Korean market. In 2010, Brava demanded Kim to cease all sales of unauthorized counterfeited products and stop the use of the Brava trademark; effectively terminating the existing distributor agreement. Subsequently, Kim was indicted in Seoul for failing to obtain a license to sell his independently manufactured product in South Korea.
Brava has argued that Kim sold thousands of counterfeited devices in his country, costing Brava, LLC millions in revenue.
In May 2012 the Seoul Central District Court issued a monetary judgment in favor of Brava, LLC awarding compensatory damages. The court, however, expressed “difficulty” in calculating damages and did not seem to account for Kim’s direct interference in Brava’s business or sales. Brava’s position is that every counterfeit product sold by Kim’s company deprived Brava of an equivalent sale of a legitimate device and that the damages awarded are insufficient. The matter is now on appeal.