Idol group Shinhwa has finally reclaimed the rights to their name after a 12-year battle.
Shinhwa’s agency ShinCom Entertainment and June Media (formerly known as Open World Entertainment) who held the trademark rights to the group’s name reached an agreement in court, allowing the group to use “Shinhwa” without any restrictions.
As both sides could not reach an agreement, the court ordered a compulsory arbitration on April 20. After ShinCom Entertainment filed an objection, they scheduled another mediation and finally reached an agreement.
The legal battle surrounding the trademark rights to “Shinhwa” goes back 12 years. Shinhwa’s previous agency SM Entertainment gave the rights to the name “Shinhwa” with a contract to their new agency, Good Entertainment. SM then trademarked the name in 2005, consigning the name to June Media. The year after, they handed over the trademark rights to June Media completely.
The trademark rights June Media held had the rights to the usage of “Shinhwa” on domestically released physical records and digital songs.
After leaving Good Entertainment, Shinhwa established Shinhwa Company, and in 2011, they signed a contract to use the name “Shinhwa.” However, after failing to receive evidence of owning the trademark rights, Shinhwa sent a notice of contract cancellation, and filed a lawsuit to regain the partial profit from the 2012 concert and the Japanese fan club. June Media followed with another lawsuit demanding profits from the 2013 concert as per their trademark contract.
The court ordered both parties to pay each other for what they demanded, but also ruled in favor of Joon Media, stating, “The trademark rights belong to Joon Media, so Shinhwa’s claims to cancel their contract is meaningless.”
After the court’s ruling, Shinhwa filed an appeal, and even changed their agency name to ShinCom Entertainment for fewer complications. They also only used their logo on album covers starting in 2013, not explicitly mentioning “Shinhwa.”
On regaining the rights to their name, the members voiced their gratitude, announcing, “We are incredibly happy that we have finally earned our precious name after a long fight. We want to thank our fans who supported us in protecting our name Shinhwa, and we will continue to try our best to make sure that the name shines even more in the future.”