Samsung C&T accuses developer of brand stealing
Samsung C&T Corporation has accused a housing developer based in Ho Chi Minh City of stealing the name of its South Korean luxury apartment brand and thereby damaging the reputation and value of Samsung as a whole.
The company confirmed that Housing Development and Trading JSC (HDTC) claimed Samsung C&T was one of its design consulting partners on its websites related to apartments built and marketed by the developer.
Samsung C&T stated that it has never been involved in the construction or marketing of the apartments in question and that the aforementioned claims are categorically false.
“It came to our attention in August 2018 that an apartment called Raemian City in Ho Chi Minh City was being planned or was already in the process of offering units for purchase,” said a Samsung C&T statement.
Samsung C&T claims that without authorisation, HDTC has used Raemian, the name of Samsung C&T’s own housing brand, for two apartment projects in Ho Chi Minh City (Reamian City in District 2 and The Raemian Dong Thuan in District 12), as well as formed three subsidiary companies (Raemian Co., Ltd., Raemian Investment Co., Ltd., and Raemian Consultancy-Design Co., Ltd.) and registered four corresponding online domain names (raemian.vn, raemiancity.vn, raemian.com.vn, and raemiancity.com.vn).
“Samsung C&T has never been involved in or been associated with any of the aforementioned projects, entities, or domain names by HDTC and is deeply concerned by the possibility of HDTC’s dissemination of falsehood and use of closely similar, if not identical, trademarks, misleading consumers to associate these apartments and companies with the real Raemian brand,” the statement continued.
The company raised concerns that there is the direct issue of the Raemian trademark rights in Vietnam being infringed upon, and the indirect issue of the claim of Samsung C&T’s involvement in the aforementioned projects. Together, these issues could potentially create unwitting victims who are misled to associate the aforementioned projects with the Raemian brand.
Samsung C&T stressed that recent publications of news articles that were critical of HDTC's Raemian City (currently known as Laimian City) project proceeding without the requisite construction permits made it no longer possible for them to remain uninvolved.
The South Korean company has already issued a notice of infringement to HDTC and plans to request assistance from relevant authorities in Vietnam, along with other proactive measures.
“We are in the process of reviewing a legal response consisting of various civil and administrative actions. We have already examined different categories of infringement and submitted an evaluation request to the Vietnam Intellectual Property Research Institute,” Samsung C&T said.
“Many countries around the world recognise brands as intellectual properties and have measures in place to protect them,” the company continued. “While we believe a legal course of action is also available in Vietnam, there are members of the general public in the country that remain unfamiliar with intellectual property rights and the public’s awareness of intellectual property rights will need to be raised first through a multifaceted campaign.”
According to Samsung C&T, Raemian is a highly-respected and trusted brand that has ranked first in the apartment category of the Korea Productivity Centre’s National Customer Satisfaction Index for 22 consecutive years.