Contributory trademark infringement liability of online open market operators based on the civil code in Korea
Unlike direct infringement, secondary infringement is generally referred to as “indirect infringement” under Korean trademark law, which is slightly different from the concept of contributory infringement under the United States trademark law. Online market operators might be held liable for indirect trademark infringement, as a result of their involvement in online counterfeit sales. In Korea, the liability of online market operators is determined by the interpretation of the Trade Mark Act and the tort-related provisions of the Korean Civil Code. The Seoul Central District Court agreed with Adidas to a certain extent by recognising that “an open online market operator had a duty of care to take appropriate measures to prevent trademark infringement on its website, since the operator earned revenue from the sellers, provided a place for trading, and generally promoted such business.” The Seoul Central District Court denied Gmarket’s liability, which was upheld by the Seoul High Court.