According to the Seoul Central District Court on April 2, the court ruled in favor of Bae Yong Joon in a lawsuit that a ginseng product company known as “A” filed against him.
The company had demanded Bae Yong Joon and his restaurant business pay 300 million won (approximately $260,000) for unfair profits.
In 2009 the actor and the company signed a contract. “A” would export its ginseng products in Japan under Bae Yong Joon’s Japanese restaurant business brand. According to Bae Yong Joon’s side, they agreed to achieve yearly sales of 10 billion won (about $8.7 million) rather than selling by proxy.
Bae Yong Joon’s side said that company “A” agreed to pay 5 billion won (about $4.3 million), plus 1.5 billion won (about $1.3 million) to use their brand name on their products, but only paid 2.3 billion won ($2 million). The rest was not paid by the appointed time and as the products did not sell as expected, both sides came into legal conflict.
“A” said, “Bae Yong Joon continued to applyhis trademark in Japan to the ginseng products in 2011. In addition, at the time of the contract he did not have ownership of the trademark. We were tricked.” In their lawsuit, they demanded that Bae Yong Joon’s side return 300 million won of the amount they had given him (2.3 billion won).
But the justice department declared, “The plaintiff entered the contract with the recognition that the “Gosire” brand [Bae Yong Joon’s brand] was worth more than the trademark rights. Although it’s true that Bae Yong Joon’s side agreed to achieve more than 10 billion won in yearly sales, but they were not aiming to deceive the plaintiff from the start.”
Bae Yong Joon has won a similar case in the past. He has also been accused of fraud previously and acquitted.