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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Keeps Fighting Korean Orders to Sell Its IP

posted 2 years ago

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Korean litigants keep wrestling over how to put to rest the accounting for past colonial wrongs done to forced laborers. The collateral: intellectual property.

As reported last year, the regional Daejeon Court tried to wrest reparations from MHI indirectly through a subsidiary, but failed. In February 2022, the Daejeon Court rejected MHI’s repeated struggle to retain its intellectual property, which was seized previously as collateral. Three out of the five original elderly litigants have passed away in the meantime.[1]

On April 15 this year, MHI filed a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Korea to oppose the sale of its patents to make money for the reparations approved by Daejeon Court, and on the 26th filed a similar appeal over its trademarks. Lawyers involved expect a decision in several months.[2] Yet again, on April 29, Daejeon Court ordered a third time to sell the intellectual property.[3]

How far could reparation policy go in this international dispute (settled, in Japan’s view, in 1965 with the South Korean government)? What will the status of international business be if a precedent is set? We hope for a fair and peaceful outcome.

* The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

** For questions or consultation, please contact us for more information.

Keisen Associates, Japan (contact: Taro Yaguchi) / May 2022


[1] “韓国地裁 三菱重工の即時抗告を棄却=特許権などの売却命令維持 [Korean regional court maintains order to sell Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ patents etc., throwing out MHI’s appeal].” https://www.wowkorea.jp/news/korea/2022/0221/10336465.html WOW! Korea. YONHAPNEWS. February 21, 2022. Accessed May 5, 2022.

[2] Mizota Takushi. “三菱重工、韓国の大法院に再抗告…元挺身隊員巡る訴訟での商標権売却命令に不服 “Mitsubishi Heavy Industry files further appeal to supreme court of ROK in opposition to order of sale of Trademarks].” https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/20220427-OYT1T50179/ Yomiuri Shimbun. April 27, 2022. Accessed May 5, 2022.

[3] “South Korean court orders sale of seized Mitsubishi Heavy assets.” https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/05/02/national/crime-legal/mitsubishi-seized-assets/ The Japan Times. May 2, 2022. Accessed May 5, 2022.


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