Recently in the Republic of Kazakhstan a court case has been resolved in regards to the legitimate use of logos and trademarks and the portrayal of services that may be confused with another traders name as relates to the ITF in that country.

It was claimed by the head of regional public organization “Kazakhstan National Federation of Traditional Taekwon-Do ITF (KNFTT)” Mr Abenov E.Zh (a member of GM Choi Jung Hwa’s organisation) that it was the official representative and member of the International Taekwon-Do Federation in Kazakhstan. It claimed this on the basis of a certificate of membership from the Headquarters of the ITF in Korea, which in turn holds its legitimacy on the basis of a certificate of registration of a trademark allegedly registered in the register of the Office of Intellectual Property of the Republic of Korea. It further asserted its rights on the basis of a letter from Master Trevor Nichols which stated that ‘the international federation of Taekwon-Do confirms that it officially recognizes the National federation of Taekwon-Do in Kazakhstan, the only organization with the right to represent the federation of Taekwon-Do in Kazakhstan; use the name and official logo of the International Taekwon-Do Federation ITF.

Abenov E Zh further claimed that since he was a member of the ITF since 1995 he is entitled to use the emblems etc. He further asserts that the emblem belongs to the International Taekwon-Do Federation since 1966 and has been used by almost all parties with consent of the federation including the Kazakhstan federation. In support of his claim says that “№01564 membership certificate confirms all the privileges of membership. Official recognition of the federation, including the right to use the emblem of the International Federation received 5 May 2013”.

In court however, the representative of the Federation of Taekwon-Do ITF central Asian Continent (KAT), Valitov NE, explained that KAT has the exclusive copyright to trademarks in the Republic of Kazakhstan since 2008. He explained that for others to legitimately use a trademark there must be appropriate permission given through the establishment of a licence agreement and its registration in the proper manner through the authorised body. The Kazakhstan National Federation of Traditional Taekwon-Do ITF violates the exclusive right of KAT to the trademark on the territory of Astana and Kazakhstan as a whole. This organization provides services in Taekwondo ITF, using the activity of their trademarks.

In support of the position of the KAT the president of the organisation provided the court with documents that demonstrate that trademarks are only valid in the country in which they are registered. Further, after requesting information from ITF HQ Korea he received letters from the Secretary General of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, Headquarters Korea that stated that they believed the certificate of registration provided as evidence by KNFTT was likely copied from their website and that they had only individual members and no groups registered in Kazakhstan.

Unauthorized and incomplete copy of Group Registration Certificate form ITF HQ Korea

Unauthorized and incomplete copy of Group Registration Certificate form ITF HQ Korea

It was pointed out that if the certificate were genuine it would show the group name, correct expiration date and the signature of the Secretary General. It had none of these features. It was concerning that another Taekwon-Do ITF organisation would “tamper” with the documents in order to gain some advantage.
Certificate of registration (Owner of the service mark right): Doctored copy of registration certificate

Certificate of registration (Owner of the service mark right): Doctored copy of registration certificate

In the other document regarding the registration of the trademark lodged with the register of the Office of Intellectual Property of the Republic of Korea, the Secretary General of ITF HQ Korea says that although this is their document the dates have been altered, and it has been provided by the ITF HQ based in the UK which has no current relationship with ITF HQ Korea. This document was provided without the knowledge of ITF HQ Korea and illegally.

A leading expert in intellectual property rights from the department of justice explained that the KNFTT had no right to use the trademark since it is registered for the public association “Federation of Taekwon-Do ITF central Asian Continent”. Indeed the registration of trademarks are only valid in the countries in which they are registered and as such the Korean registration has no standing in Kazakhstan and only the KAT (as the registration holder) may give permission for it to be used. Conversely this is also the case for ITF HQ Korea which entirely and legitimately holds the rights for the use of these logos and trademarks in South Korea.

The verdict:
After hearing the evidence from both parties the decision of the case was that the arguments of Representative and the Head of the KNFTT are found untenable and cannot be accepted into account, since their arguments are refuted by the protocol as an administrative offence on inspection of the evidence. The organisation was attempting to avoid responsibility provided by the existing regulation since the documents provided do not authorise the use of the trademark in the Republic of Kazakhstan, as the trademark is registered in the public register (No. 28172, No. 38344) for the KAT who has exclusive right to use the trademark.
Based on the foregoing that the NGO “Kazakhstan National Federation of Traditional Taekwon-Do ITF” illegally used a trademark registered for the public association “Federation of Taekwon-Do ITF Central Asian Continent”.

Sentence:
The Kazakhstan National Federation of Traditional Taekwon-Do was found to be in violation of Article 158 of the Republic of Kazakhstan Code of administrative violations and subject to penalty in the form of an administrative fine in the amount of 40 (forty) monthly calculation indices in the amount of 84,840 (eighty-four thousand eight hundred forty) tenge in state revenue, with confiscation of goods containing illegal reproduction of the trademark, banners, stored under the trust receipt by Abenova E.Zh.

Comment:
During the hearing, the representatives of Abenov provided tampered documents to the judge from the office of TKD in Korea and from the son of General Choi. I sent a formal request during the trial, to son of Choi and the office of ITF HQ in Korea. I am very grateful to ITF HQ in Korea for their professionalism and the decency of the President and Secretary General. I got an answer in quick time outlining the full legal truth of the documents. The son of General Choi ignored my letter.
The information provided by ITF HQ Korea helped to make the decision in our favor. We have a lot of cases to identify violators of our exclusive rights to trademark of Taekwondo. We carry an active fight and prosecute the Republic of Kazakhstan laws. The legal system of our state is strong and true. The laws are on our side and it always pleases us. Many young instructors were educated and convinced by the lies and misinformation about the legal side of the case. We have proved our case Trademark – it is the individualization of its quality and name.

AUTHOR:
Pavez Mamedov
Until 4 years ago Master Pavez Mamedov was a member of the ITF under GM Tran.
At the age of 44 he has spent many years practicing Judo and 25 years in the ITF. He is a winner of many national and international competitions in these sports. Master of Sports (8th dan) in judo, 7 dan by the ITF. He is a class A umpire. He continues to practice to this day. President of ITF Association. He is the head of a law firm and holds a Masters degree in Human Physiology, tourism, law, physical education and sport. post-graduate degree. He has been the author of many scientific articles.