Korean TV icon Lee Min Ho wins cosmetics infringement case

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Lee Min Ho wins cosmetics infringement case
Popular Korean celebrity, Lee Min Ho receives $87,000 (€76,281) in damages for the unauthorised use of his image by a face mask brand.

The case

The renowned actor and model, Lee Min Ho, has been awarded damages for a violation of his publicity rights.

The cosmetics company, which used  Lee Min Ho’s image to promote their face mask brand without his permission, was ordered to pay 100 mn Korean Won (KRW) (€76,281) by a Korean court. 

In addition, the face mask brand was made to remove all sales of face masks and also halt manufacturing lines that contain images of Lee Min Ho’s face.

Although the company which committed the breach remains unnamed, it has been suggested that the marketed Lee Min Ho Mayu Pack was produced and advertised by Tronic Company.

The face mask creators create beauty, personal and health care products, and distribute these globally to Asia, Central and North America, Australia, and Eastern and Western European regions.

Publicity breach

Starhaus Entertainment, the celebrity's previous entertainment agency, stated that there was no endorsement agreement between its client and the company. As a result, it submitted a criminal complaint following Lee Min Ho’s face being used in the K-beauty drama, ‘Faith’, between August and October 2012, to market facial masks.

The lawsuit, which was initiated and filed in 2015, was made in a bid to protect the star's publicity rights and avoid misleading consumers. Initially, the Seoul District Court awarded the Korean star KRW 20 mn (€15,400).

On appeal, the total amount of damages was increased to approximately €76,281, however, this is the half the amount that the actor had argued for.

As the K-beauty revolution continues, Korean brands are developing marketing strategies that focus on celebrity endorsements to position their products favourably amongst key demographics.

Previously, Lee Min Ho has endorsed Amorepacific-owned and household cosmetics name, Etude House, along with technology conglomerate LG and clothing label, Bang Bang.

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