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Oct 31, 2013

Asian Legal News for the Week of October 27, 2013

This Week's Asian Legal News Reported by Media

Most Recent Posts from The Asian Law Blog

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

South Korea’s Nude Beach in Gangwon Province to Open

It was recently reported that Gangwon province on the east coast of South Korea is planning to open up a nude beach in order to attract tourists.  Government officials in Gangwon province have been mulling the proposed beach for several years now, and are once again floating the idea publicly to see how South Korean citizens will respond.

According to an article on CNN's website:
"Although the east coast has more beautiful, sandy beaches, the water tends to be colder, the season shorter and the distance from Seoul is greater than the beaches to the west."
For some reason, Gangwon Province just can't give up the idea of opening a nude beach.  Gangwon tried to open a female-only nude beach in 2005, but public outcry led to the plan being scrapped.  I bet that times have not yet changed enough and an outcry by the public will lead to the idea being scrapped.  Jeju Island had a similar result when it tried to open a nude beach in 2009.

Is 2013 going to finally be the year that South Korea gets a nude beach?  To read more, check out the article by CNN here: South Korea to get its First Nude Beach?
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Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team and Entertainment, Media and New Tech Law Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty.

He assists clients in their contentious, non-contentious and business developments needs in Korea and China. 

Oct 30, 2013

South Korea''s Stealing United States Military Technology?

Foreign Policy just put out an interesting article that might sour recent news that South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) was nearing a deal by which it would purchase F-35s from Lockheed Martin.  The article, which primarily deals with the suspicion that the South Koreans may be stealing U.S. military secrets, had this to say about the F-35 program:
"Right now, the dialogue between the two countries is focused heavily on the potential sale of the advanced F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the South Koreans. American officials are putting into place a strict security agreement to ensure that nothing is shared, either with the wrong people, or for use by a buyer of a Korean-made copycat for Korea's own competitive purposes. The South Koreans are interested in the F-35, but their interest comes at the same time as South Korea's bid to build its own stealth jet, raising bureaucratic eyebrows in the United States. It could be the equivalent of South Korea taking a fighter jet on a test drive, as it were, flying it around the corner to kick its tires, only then to return it to the dealership and say it's not interested, but first looking under the hood and taking some pictures. "
This must be somewhat alarming news for the US military, which has still yet to hand over wartime operational military control of South Korean forces to the South Koreans themselves.  In that debacle, still unsolved, the U.S. military has suggested that the South Koreans are intentionally delaying the transfer in order to reap the benefits of the U.S. presence on the peninsula.

The article goes on to suggest that the theft of U.S. military secrets may eventually allow the defense industry in South Korea to grow quite large, and that the industry has also thus far benefited from the theft of other states' secrets.  From the article:
"South Korea put itself on the map late last year when Norway made overtures toward South Korea to build a conventional submarine. Much of the technology upon which such a platform is based comes from the Germans. But the sub is an example of Korean innovation. Unlike the Japanese, who are seen in many ways as imitators, the Koreans are themselves more inventive, taking what they glean from other exporters and improving upon it."
The article is definitely worth a read, so be sure to check it out.  The original article from Foreign Affairs can be found at: Is South Korea Stealing U.S. Military Secrets?

Check out some related articles by IPG Legal here:

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Oct 29, 2013

Korean Invention Promotion Act: Employee Inventions in Korea

 The Korean Investment Promotion Act ("IPA") was amended in June of 2013.  The amendments will come into force at the end of January of 2014.

Major Amendments to Korean IPA

1.  Employers will no longer obtain, automatically, a non-exclusive royalty-free license to all inventions by employees.  Employers will, now, have to implement company policies and/or include in employment contracts provisions to grant rights to inventions to employers.  The amendment will not apply to employers deemed by the Act on Small to Medium Enterprises to be SMEs.

2.  Employers will have an easier time establishing that "reasonable" compensation was paid in exchange for an assignment of inventions under the invention compensation policies of the employer.  The amendment, however, maintains the, present, uncertainty by still maintaining abstract guidelines, partially, based on future unknown profits that are, only, realized often years after assignment of the invention.

3.  Employers are required to establish an Employee-Invention Review Committee.  The Committee is intended to review the employer invention compensation policies.  Also, employers must notify the employee in writing before implementation or amendment to employee invention compensation policies.  The employer, then, must consult with the employee on the implementation or amendment of the policies.  In most cases, consent by a majority of the employees is required.

We will be updating the reader when cases are handed down interpreting the Korean Invention Promotion Act.
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Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team and Entertainment, Media and New Tech Law Team at IPG Legal.

He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. He assists clients in their contentious, non-contentious and business developments needs in Korea and China.

K-Pop Star Psy and Currency Swaps - Interesting Article on the Continued Ascent of "Brand Korea"

Reuters, in a new article co-written by Se Young Lee and Christine Kim, has made out yet another case for the impressive popularity of "Brand Korea."  Korea's government recently announced three currency swap deals worth more than USD 20 billion.  What makes things truly remarkable about all this is that Korea is able to couple its economic prosperity with cultural influence in Asia and, now, even North America.

The result, as we know, is a booming situation on the peninsula where the impression is that everything is going to continue to get better.

The article notes, amongst other things, that:
"[Korea] can easily afford to match cultural diplomacy with economic muscle as it competes with Japan and China for influence. K-Pop icons such as Psy, whose 'Gangnam Style' hit went viral in 2012, and even Korean food are used by Seoul to build South Korea's brand, while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. and Hyundai Motor Co. are firms with global reach...."
That about sums it up, as far as I'm concerned.  Things definitely seem to be looking up on the Korean Peninsula.  If you'd like to read more, check out the full article below.
With Psy and Currency Swaps, South Korea Grabs Global Influence.

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Oct 28, 2013

International Law Firm Discusses Korea's Recent Economic Success According to UN Report

The Korea Herald recently summarized a United Nations Industrial Development Organization report about Korea’s industrial competitiveness.  According to the report, entitled “Korea Mirrored in Statistics,” Korea still boasts the world’s 12th largest economy based on GDP, as well as possessing quite a few other interesting statistics.

Korea is still performing quite well in terms of economic performance.  For example, last year it was the largest producer of mobile phones, the fifth largest manufacturer of cars, and the third largest steel producer.  On the manufacturing front, things still seem to be going great.

Unfortunately, this kind of economic success has also brought with it a few negative side effects.  Social issues in Korea still seem to be neglected.  For example, Koreans on average work 2,090 hours per year, the second longest in the world - just behind Mexico.  Korea also ranked 30th in terms of government transparency, and its female employment rate is ranked 25th.

To read the original article from the Korea Herald can be found at:
South Korea Remains Strong in Industrial Competitiveness

Check out some other articles written by IPG Legal on Korea's economic and social issues here:
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Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team and Entertainment, Media and New Tech Law Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. He assists clients in their contentious, non-contentious and business developments needs in Korea and China.

Oct 23, 2013

Garnishing Pay in Korea

Garnishing Wages in Korea

I received a call from a friend asking about information concerning collecting on a large debt. He loaned money to a “friend” and the friend never made a payment on the loan. Word to the wise, don't make large loans to friends----cry poverty instead.

In Korea, after a judgment or order to pay by a court, a plaintiff can collect on an unpaid debt through garnishing of wages. Garnishing of wages is normally the best way to guarantee the collection of debt when a debtor doesn’t have real or personal property. Most law firms can perform the service for a modest fee.

  • Less than W1.2mil (No wages can be garnished)
  • W1.2mil - W2.4mil (Monthly Wage – W1.2mil)
  • W2.4mil –W6mil (1/2 Monthly Wage)
  • Over W6mil (Half monthly Wage minus W3mil divided by two plus W3million minus monthly wage)
Examples:
1. W2,000,000 Monthly Pay (Can garnish monthly W800,000)
2. W3,000,000 Monthly (Can garnish monthly W1,500,000)
3. W5,000,000 Monthly Pay (Can garnish W2,500,000)
4. W6,000,000 Monthly Pay(Can garnish W3,000,000)
5. W12,000,000 Monthly Pay (Can garnish W7.500,000)
6. W20,000,000 Monthly Pay (Can garnish W13,500,000)

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Oct 22, 2013

How I Discovered that Smoking Weed is Legal in North Korea - by Tom Coyner

A hat tip to a non-Korean artist friend who also has lived much or most of his life in Asia for forwarding this piece to me.

Given the cost of tobacco and the ease of cultivating marijuana, I had heard from a foreign friend who had lived in North Korea that workers often resort to marijuana as a cheap substitute for tobacco.  Perhaps only in the DPRK may one find that to be the case.  On the other hand, if marijuana was legalized, I suspect the price would vastly plummet - provided the local governments decide not to regulate and tax it.

Anyway, I digress…

The vivid description of the Rason marketplace alone is worth the read. On Smoking Weed in North Korea.

Tom Coyner is a senior adviser to IPG.
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info@ipglegal.com

Oct 16, 2013

Sean Hayes Attends American Bar Association's Forum on Franchising

IPG has one of the leading practices in Franchise and Distribution in Asia.  Sean Hayes will attend the American Bar Association's Forum on Franchising.

From the event's brochure:

Welcome to the 36th Annual forum on Franchising at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida on October 16-18, 2013.

Starting on Wednesday, October 16, highly-experienced franchise attorneys will present Fundamentals of Franchising, the finest course available on the basics of franchise law.  Two additional five-hour intensive programs will also be offered: an in-depth program on the theory and practice of mediating a franchise dispute, and Fundamentals of International Franchising, featuring experienced practitioners from both sides of the pond.

On Thursday and Friday, twenty-four engaging, unparalleled workshops cover a variety of legal developments and business challenges facing the franchise industry.  Make sure to attend outstanding plenary sessions, including the popular Annual Developments, a survey of the key cases and decisions in franchise law over the last year as well as a roundtable of Past Chairs of the Forum.

For fun, join us at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando on Thursday night and bring your entire family.  On Friday night, enjoy cocktails and dinner followed by a beach party at Discovery Cove, a part of Sea World.  Attendees can network in a lush tropical setting for what is sure to be a relaxing and enjoyable evening.

On Saturday morning, give back to the community that serves as our host as we head out to A Gift for Teaching, where volunteers will sort school supplies and other projects.

Don't miss the opportunity to join your colleagues, clients and friends at America's premier franchise law event.
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info@ipglegal.com

Oct 9, 2013

Second-Screen Legal Issues Addressed by Attorney Sean Hayes at MIPCOM in Cannes, France

The following article appears in MIPCOM. MIPCOM's website may be found here.

Primary Issues for Second Screen.

"The Second-screen format that enables viewers to interact with TV content via social media could be opening up a tangle of legal issues, concluded speakers at Second Screen - Legal Issues and Solutions. Organized by the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers, the speakers noted that viewers' ability to access extra TV-related content on smartphones and tablets posed new legal challenges for broadcasters and advertisers hoping to monetize the experience. 

For example, second-screen apps with digital-fingerprint and automated content-recognition (ACR) technologies are able to track viewing behavior via data collected during a show. 

"But who owns your digital fingerprints or the collection of these fingerprints?" Asked Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, Dutch attorney-at-law at bureau Brandeis. "The collection of fingerprints forms a database. But while the European Union recognizes database rights, the US does not. The second screen is a lawyer's paradise." 

The other speakers, Dr. Ralph Oliver Graef, attorney-at-law at Germany's Graef Rechtsanwalte, IPG Legal's senior partner, Sean Hayes, and moderator Jeff Liebenson, principal at US-based Liebenson Law, noted that copyright infringement, privacy violation and advertisement-skipping could be negative by-products of this new era of second-screen TV viewing."

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Chaebol Leadership Finally Held to Account in Korean Courts

Chey Jae-Won, younger brother of Chey Tae-Won (the former chairman of SK Group that was convicted of embezzling USD 43 million and sentenced to four years in prison earlier this year) just had his acquittal overturned last week by the Seoul High Court.  Jae-Won had, until now, managed to avoid experiencing the same fate as his older brother by convincing the Court that he had little to do with his brother’s fraudulent conversion of SK Group’s assets.  Now, Jae-Won is looking at a 3 1/2 year prison sentence that almost matches his older brother’s 4.

Jae-Won’s conviction comes just a week after Koo Cha-Won (former chairman of LIG Group) and his oldest son were themselves slapped with three-year prison sentences for issuing USD 198 million of fraudulent company bonds.

It has been a common complaint amongst many Koreans that chaebol leadership is never held to account in the court system.  Prior convictions of Chaebol leaders usually just led to suspended sentences or other menial punishments.  Court opinions in those cases were often full of praise for the convicted leaders' contributions to Korea's economic growth.  Is it possible that under Park Geun-Hye's administration, things are starting to change?

What do you think? Do you think Korea will finally get serious about punishing corrupt chaebol leadership?

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Oct 7, 2013

Sean Hayes will be Speaking at MIPCOM

MIPCOM promotional materials regarding Sean's speech:

As the popularity of second-screen apps and automated content recognition (ACR) grows, so do its legal and technical issues.  Do these apps have the rights to use content from television programs?  Who owns the digital fingerprints and who has the right to use them in conjunction with network programs?  Who owns the second-screen experience and the relationship with the viewer?  Our panel of experts will discuss the current law in the TV space and what the future holds.

All legal seminars organized with IAEL are eligible for accreditation for The England & Wales SRA, the Dutch Bar Association, and the New York and California Bar Associations.  To claim such points, fill out your attendance forms at the event!
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info@ipglegal.com