Hwang Kee founded his first Moo Duk Kwan® school in Yang San Ku, South Korea in 1945 and within a few years expanded to become the largest martial art organization in South Korea. He consistently used the Moo Duk Kwan® name to identify schools associated with his organization and eventually registered MOO DUK KWAN and the FIST logo as trademarks for his organization.
The Moo Duk Kwan® organization promulgates the Korean martial art of Soo Bahk Do® and teaches the philosophy and value system that Hwang Kee infused into his teaching methodology and incorporated into his school training environments. Like an educational entity the Moo Duk Kwan® enables student members to receive education, instruction and training conducted in accordance with Moo Duk Kwan® standards. Students may eventually complete a proficiency examination successfully and be recommended by a certified instructor to receive credentials of proficiency issued by, and backed by, the Moo Duk Kwan®. Through its licensed organizations worldwide, certified instructors and certified schools, the Moo Duk Kwan® organization currently provides curriculum and training for:
- rank homologation in tang soo do,
- pending implementation
- rank certification in the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system,
- through existing WMDK organizations
- multiple instructor certifications (Jo Kyo, Kyo Sa, Kyo Bom, Sa Bom),
- multiple school certifications (commercialization license)
Moo Duk Kwan® is a registered trademark in more than one country and can only be legally used by authorized licensees.
Hwang Kee was the licensor of all Moo Duk Kwan® schools in South Korea. In 1964 the Korean government launched the Taekwondo movement to eliminate all the individual kwans in Korea and replace them with only Taekwondo. The government sponsored Taekwondo movement did not recognize individual kwans and did not use any of their names (including MOO DUK KWAN®) in any official way. After all, the very purpose of the Taekwondo movement was to eliminate individual kwans like Hwang Kee’s Moo Duk Kwan®. Unfortunately, some instructors who disassociated from Hwang Kee’s Moo Duk Kwan® organization and joined the Taekwondo movement chose to use his well known Moo Duk Kwan® name for their individual advantage and in doing so misrepresented themselves and their services to the public and became infringers of his trademarks.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office states, “A trademark is any word, name, symbol or device (or any combination thereof) that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”
The presence of the Moo Duk Kwan trademark® assures the public that Hwang Kee’s quality standards are enforced.
However, when unauthorized parties knowingly display Moo Duk Kwan® trademarks they are engaging in fraudulent activity by misleading the public. Only entities licensed by the Moo Duk Kwan® organization and complying with Moo Duk Kwan® quality controls and adhering to Moo Duk Kwan® standards can legally display Moo Duk Kwan® trademarks.
To clarify, Moo Duk Kwan® is an organization, not a martial art system, so when you train within a legitimate Moo Duk Kwan® school, you would be learning a martial art system instructed in accordance with Moo Duk Kwan® standards.
Before 1960 Hwang Kee’s Moo Duk Kwan® schools offered instruction in his martial art systems of Hwa Soo Do, then later tang soo do.
Beginning in 1960 Hwang Kee began introducing his new Soo Bahk Do® martial art curriculum into licensed Moo Duk Kwan® schools worldwide.
Your circumstances are analogous to those of a student who has attended a college or university (i.e., Harvard, Yale, etc.) for years and perhaps even earned a diploma from that institution. Attending a school or university and receiving a diploma for a course of study from that school does not confer rights to use the school’s name in personal or commercial activities.
For example, a university graduate might open a law firm or tutoring center using the education they acquired at the university, but they cannot use the school’s name and represent to the public that they are affiliated with that school or imply that they offer the same educational experience as that school.
Moo Duk Kwan® Alumnus who have earned a legitimate Dan Bon from the Moo Duk Kwan® and who remain in good standing can proudly wear their official Moo Duk Kwan® pin and/or an official Moo Duk Kwan Alumni® patch.
Alumnus may not use Moo Duk Kwan® trademarks in any personal or commercial activity without a license and may only represent that they are a student who received credentials from the Moo Duk Kwan® organization, nothing more.
Furthermore, Moo Duk Kwan® Alumnus may NOT confer privileges of use on anyone else.
Trademarks may not be used without the owner’s permission and a license.
Trademark infringement violates federal statutes 15 U.S.C. § 1051, 1114, 1125 which is an act punishable by civil and criminal penalties. Trademark infringers use spurious marks or registered trademarks without a license from the trademark owner in a dishonest manner calculated for advantage by confusingly suggesting, implying or otherwise representing by commission or omission that they are approved by, endorsed by, associated with, licensed by, or somehow affiliated with the trademark owner and that they are the source for things which they are not. https://karatefraud.com/
In the USA the Moo Duk Kwan® organization has prevailed in 100% of all infringement cases pursued and recently won a Federal lawsuit and $115,560 settlement against trademark infringers.
The Moo Duk Kwan® organization is flattered that you desire to be associated with it by using its trademarks; however, doing so inappropriately is problematic. In short, now that you are aware that you are infringing Moo Duk Kwan® trademarks, you have two options:
- Stop. Immediately cease and desist by changing the name, logo, ads, website, promo materials, etc. that include any content infringing Moo Duk Kwan® trademarks. Continued infringement after awareness or notification to cease and desist constitutes "willful infringement" which is a more serious violation.
- Become a Heritage Member. As a fan of the Moo Duk Kwan® and if you want to earn official recognition that your proficiency and knowledge in tang soo do or Soo Bahk Do® is up to Moo Duk Kwan® standards, then you may consider becoming a Moo Duk Kwan® Heritage Member and enrolling in a development program. Enrollment in a development program may forestall a response to your infringement provided you remain in good standing and abide by the terms and timeline of the development program.
- If the World Moo Duk Kwan® has a licensed organization in your country you can contact that organization for instructions about how to proceed
- If you do not wish to join an existing World Moo Duk Kwan® organization at this time, then Moo Duk Kwan® Heritage Membership may provide you with a time limited alternative path forward.
- If there is no licensed World Moo Duk Kwan® organization in your country, then Moo Duk Kwan® Heritage Membership may provide you with a time limited path forward.
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