October 17, 2018

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Sad Tale of a Trademark Fail

Earlier this month, Unilever made headlines by accidently naming its new soap after Kim Jong Un. The shower gel line, created by a Korean designer and aimed at urban millennials in China, is called KJU. Google searches for KJU pull up Kim Jong Un first, and the hash tag #KJU on Twitter references stories about the North Korean leader. 

flag, korea, KJU

 While it is uncertain whether the unexpected connection will help or hurt sales, the story does provide a good opportunity to remind trademark owners to fully search marks before launching – and not just for strict third-party trademark use. Even non-brand references can directly and immediately impact the goodwill associated with a mark.

© 2018 Sterne Kessler

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About this Author

Monica Riva Talley, Trademark Attorney, Sterne Kessler, Law Firm
Director

Monica Talley brings more than 17 years of experience protecting some of the world's most recognizable brands to her role as a Director in the firm’s Trademark practice.  Ms. Talley specializes in strategic trademark counseling and portfolio management, developing anti-counterfeiting solutions and strategies, and trademark enforcement. 

Ranked as one of the leading trademark prosecution and strategy attorneys in Washington, DC, Ms. Talley is particularly noted for her global brand protection and commercialization strategies, and is lauded by clients for utilizing “her broad IP savvy...

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