SM Entertainment lost a lawsuit against a UK company over trademark rights of EXO

A UK wholesaler caused SM Entertainment to lose certain rights over the “EXO” brand. 

According to a May 10th article from Korean news site Press9, a UK pharmaceutical company called Sustainable Ethical Enterprise Limited won against SM Entertainment to nullify several trademark rights of “엑소”, which can be written as “EXO”, or “XO!”. In particular, the aforementioned company submitted registration to use “XO!” for their products back in March 2020. Since “XO!” and “EXO” saw similarities in both the pronunciation and writing, Sustainable Ethical Enterprise Ltd also submitted additional patents in August 2021. 

A UK company successfully requested cancellation for some of the trademark rights for “EXO”.

Alongside registering their new product line, this pharmaceutical company also requested for cancellation of several other products branded as “EXO”, and the court recently ruled in their favor. As a result, the Kpop boy group EXO won’t be able to promote several products under their names, including vitamin supplements, disinfectants, medicinal candies, dietary supplements, medical mouthwashes, tea, and medical weight loss products, plasters, veterinarian pills, and many more.  

SM Entertainment won’t be able to produce pharmaceutical products under the name of EXO. 

Despite the result of this lawsuit, however, SM Entertainment is free to appeal against the patent judgment. They will also retain the rights to produce and sell other categories that were not canceled from the lawsuit. 

Previously in 2011, SM Entertainment has registered trademarks for the brand “EXO” (or “엑소” in Korean), in various fields such as business, entertainment, and performance, as well as other related goods like beverages, clothing, food, food ingredients, necessities, precious metals, household appliances, and so on. This move was to prevent the use of “EXO” in other realms, while also accounting for possible expansion of the brand and business. 

As such, the court’s ruling will be detrimental for SM Entertainment’s upcoming intentions. 

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