Binance is looking into taking legal action against ‘Binance Korea,’ which is currently operating in Korea. “We are preparing to file all possible civil and criminal suits,“ Binance told DailyToken on Tuesday. Actions against Binance’s trademark infringement will most likely be included in the list of cases.
Once again, Binance confirmed that it was not doing any business with Binance Korea. Also, Binance believes that harm has been done to its brand image as the Korean company used the corporate name ‘Binance Korea’ without any permission from Binance, and further took advantage of that name to do business, pretending to be in a partnership with the real Binance.
Binance suffered from many cases similar to that of Binance Korea, but particularly a lot on Korean soil. A lot of companies claimed that it had a ‘business partnership with Binance’ to attract investment, but no cases were actually confirmed. However, with no legal action being taken from Binance, some industry insiders were suspicious ‘whether there was something actually going on between the two companies.’
To this Binance responded, “The countries in which our offices are located and where these cases arise all different (Malta, Palau, and Korea in this case), which means there is a lot to review such as the legal jurisdiction,” adding that “We are trying to approach this case in a careful manner. Not only are we looking into filing a civil suit regarding the trademark infringement, but we are also reviewing to file criminal charges against contract fraud. Our plan is to handle the case in one-go with proper preparations.”
Still, Binance Korea held a press meeting in its office, located in Yeoksam-dong, Seoul, and spent time explaining its cooperative relationship with Binance.
“In March, John T. Sugiyama, whom I got to know in Spring 2017 and who also happens to be the largest Japanese Binance shareholder, and I entered into an agreement to open a cooperative-exchange desk,” said Binance Korea CEO Choi Yong-hoon during the press meeting, adding that “Although the initial contract was signed in March under the company name ‘EYA PAY,’ we have re-signed the contract in October under the name ‘Binance Korea.’”
Choi’s explanation is that he entered into a new contract in Palau by using a new corporate name, Binance Korea, which he established right after stepping down as CEO of EYA PAY (formerly known as Family Fintech). He also claimed that consultations took place and agreement was made with regards to using the trade name Binance Korea.
However, some of his explanation was hard to understand. “We had to forgo the exchange desk business due to Binance’s official denial of the business partnership, but we still decided to use the corporate name Binance Korea as it became talk of the town,” he said. If one literally deciphers his statement, it means that he acknowledges that his company ‘is not doing business with Binance but is still using the name.’
Choi also claimed that the Japanese shareholder is “the chief of one of the twelve tribes in Palau,” adding that “He is a mysterious man, who doesn’t like contact with the outside world. And the actual operation of Binance is undertaken by five Japanese shareholders.”
“We are checking whether such Japanese shareholder actually exists,” responded Binance, commenting in return “According to Binance Korea’s claim, this mysterious shareholder does not like to be seen, but the fact that he stepped up to be the contracting party seems to be going against the very claim.” Binance also made it clear that “Palau is not one of the candidate sites that are being reviewed for building a legal tender exchange.”
“(There are many aspects to be considered, but) if the contracting party is not a corporate entity, but an individual shareholder, then the lawsuit will be about determining the validity of the contract,” explained an attorney, adding “If the shareholder has no relations with Binance, then the contract’s validity cannot be constituted.”
“Typically, if one wants to use a certain trademark, a separate agreement on the usage of the intellectual property is made. If this particular contract is concluded to be invalid, then it might lead to a trademark infringement case.”
The exchange desk that Binance Korea is preparing on its own is expected to open on December 20th. The website and application, which were already launched, are demo versions that cannot be run.
Translated by Cha Soo-jin