K-pop festival K.FLEX says it will go ahead amid allegations it “copied” KPOP.FLEX branding

Fans at the inaugural KPOP.FLEX festival in Frankfurt

European K-pop festival K.FLEX will go ahead in London next month amid reported threats of legal action from KPOP.FLEX’s South Korean partners, who allege K.FLEX copied the KPOP.FLEX name and branding without permission to stage a “fake event”.

Seongsu-dong Media (or SSD Media), one of the Korean partners of KPOP.FLEX, a K-pop festival held in Frankfurt, Germany this May, announced in a statement to the press that it will be taking legal action against Live Company Group, an English company and the organiser of the K.FLEX event in November.

According to a report by Daum yesterday (October 20), SSD Media claimed that Live Company Group had copied the name and branding of KPOP.FLEX without consulting them or the South Korean broadcaster (and fellow KPOP.FLEX partner) SBS.

“‘K.FLEX’ is an obvious fake event that copied the information and name of ‘KPOP.FLEX’ without permission, and the logo and design were also copied,” alleged Seongsu-dong Media CEO Choi Il-ji, as translated by KBIZoom. “They are promoting extensively that K.FLEX is a follow-up performance to KPOP.FLEX.”

In a press release sent to media when K.FLEX was announced at the start of October, K.FLEX was described as an event “formerly known as KPOP.FLEX”.

According to the Daum report, SSD Media and SBS tried to intervene when K.FLEX began pre-selling tickets for the event, but ticket sales for the November 20 event at the O2 still pushed through.

In the same report, it was claimed that SSD Media and SBS had been planning future KPOP.FLEX events around Europe following the success of the inaugural festival in Germany, which sold over 65,000 tickets across two days. SSD Media CEO Choi Il-ji claimed that KPOP.FLEX was specifically planning to hold a 2023 event in London – where K.FLEX will be held next month.

Choi said: “This is not only an illegal act that destroys Korea’s cultural IP that has been worked on for a long time, but also an inevitable huge confusion and financial damage for overseas K-pop fans.”

Following the report, K.FLEX social media accounts issued a public statement saying it was “aware of comments being made about the K.FLEX and KPOP.FLEX trademarks” and asserting that “the comments being made by Seongsu-dong Media are false”.

In an emailed statement to NME, a representative from Live Company Group further called the comments from SSD Media “slanderous”, adding that it was “taking strong legal action against Seongsu-dong Media and anyone else making false accusations against us”.

“Live Company Group is the sole owner of the trademarks KPOP.FLEX and K.FLEX. These marks have been registered both in the United Kingdom and Internationally by LVCG,” the representative added.

“LVCG is the creator of both brands and all original design work was done by LVCG. LVCG is the original creator and partner of the KPOP.FLEX concert and all relevant assets.”

SSD Media and SBS have yet to respond to these comments by Live Company Group.

The representative, and the festival’s social media statement, also said that K.FLEX would be going ahead as planned on November 20. It is due to feature performances from AB6IX, PENTAGON, WINNER, VIVIZ, Weeekly, Billlie and Younite.

Tickets for K.FLEX are currently still on sale through the K.FLEX website.

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