SECHSKIES has officially trademarked their name.
According to Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS), the group was officially registered with their trademark last April. Their agency YG Entertainment applied to trademark the name in May of 2016, and after one year of review, the trademark was officially accepted. This means that the group members have the right to promote with the name.
SECHSKIES officially debuted in 1997 and experienced an enormous amount of popularity throughout their promotions, and then disbanded in 2000. The group reunited in 2016 through MBC’s “Infinite Challenge” and signed with YG Entertainment for their future promotions. It was revealed that the group went forward with the trademark application in order to ensure stable promotions in the long term.
Although YG Entertainment initially was involved in SECHSKIES through album promotions, the agency eventually signed management contracts with Eun Ji Won, Kang Sung Hoon, Lee Jae Jin, and Jang Su Won. A source from the agency stated, “The majority of the initial debut members of SECHSKIES are included. Just as there’s no point in a group without its original members, the rights to the name of the group actually belongs to each member.”
The recent increasing number of idol groups trademarking their group names is evidence of the changing economic value and status of idols as K-Pop spreads through the Hallyu wave. In the case of SECHSKIES, who debuted in 1997, the group has applied for trademark rights numerous times but were all rejected until now. It was only because there was no one with the trademark rights to the name SECHSKIES that the group was able to re-form in 16 years and use the name without restriction. In similar context, g.o.d, who debuted in 1999 and re-formed in 2014, received their trademark rights in 2015.
However, there are also arguments that entertainment agencies could use trademark rights to pressure their artists. For instance, the members of popular group BEAST decided to go their own way after their contracts expired with their former agency. However, the group was unable to promote under the name without the consent of their former agency who holds the trademark rights, and so they began to promote under a new name, Highlight. Recently, T-ara’s former agency also caused a stir when the company applied for trademark rights after the group decided not to re-sign with the agency.
A source from an industry insider stated, “It’s very obvious that an agency that created a group will insist on the trademark rights to the group’s name. But in reality, if the members, whom the fans love, decide to leave, then the group’s name is empty and there’s no real meaning to having the trademark rights. It’s eventually just a power play for agencies to hold onto stars who want to leave.”