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COURT UPHOLDS YKK MARK CLAIM

NEW YORK -- Mind your P's and K's is the message a federal district court judge in California sent the U.S. zipper trade in a recent trademark-infringement ruling.<P>The judge ruled in late April that the YPP mark, which had been adopted by Korean...

NEW YORK — Mind your P’s and K’s is the message a federal district court judge in California sent the U.S. zipper trade in a recent trademark-infringement ruling.

This story first appeared in the July 2, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The judge ruled in late April that the YPP mark, which had been adopted by Korean zipper maker Jungwoo Zipper Co., infringed on YKK Corp.’s three-letter brand. This marked the end of a lawsuit brought in May 2000 by YKK against Jungwoo and its U.S. subsidiary YPP (USA) Inc.

“The use of a three-letter brand starting with a Y and having two consecutive consonants following it was really an attempt to confuse the user, the customer, [or] the manufacturer [in thinking] that it might be the same product, or that it might be another type of YKK product,” said Bernie Rubin, senior vice president with the Japanese company’s U.S. office, in Atlanta.

The YKK mark draws on the firm’s original name, Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha.

“We’re bound to protect our trademark,” Rubin said. “When we feel that it is in fact being infringed upon or counterfeited, we will do everything we can to protect it.”