Japanese snowboard facilities Kings will filed a lawsuit by copyright infringement Line36 in Slovakia.
KOBE, HYOUGO July 1, 2015
As you may know, I own and run KINGS, providing snowboard facilities in KOBE, Japan, and FUKUOKA、CHIBA、TOYAMA、OSAKA、KOREA.
response-engineer.inc CEO TakahiroOshibe
KOBE-KINGS FUKUOKA-KINGS CHIBA-KINGS TOYAMA-KINGS OSAKA-KINGS KOREA-KINGS
Currently, a copy of KINGS is under construction in Slovakia, named Line36.sk (http://line36.sk/, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Line-36/704008473016242?fref=ts).
Line36.sk has disgracefully copied KINGS’ facilities in detail, including the colouring used. It is not certain whether Line36.sk has somehow acquired KINGS’ blueprints, but is clear that the approach and kicker on the course is sub-standard and maybe even unsafe. The following link also shows a company promoting the Line36.sk facilities, showing detailed pictures. It seems that the kicker has been made by this company (https://www.facebook.com/NewSpirit.sk). This site also has pictures, and contains the most detailed information available (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Boardlifesk/200040183366031).
The reason why I am writing about this on SNS is that I have contacted Line36.sk and people related to the project, but with limited results. People either say that they know nothing about it, or as in the case of the person in charge, they have been dismissive of my correspondences and have questioned the need to answer my questions. This is disappointing and a little unbelievably.
Going back in time, in June 2014, a snowboard instructor calling himself MatejMatys (https://www.facebook.com/matej.matys) approached us at KINGS, asking how to build KINGS facilities. KINGS management provided MatejMatys with the relevant details, as a part of an intended franchise agreement. Yet, at the point when KINGS where ready to finalise a franchise agreement, MatejMatys left the table and has not been heard from since. This is not an uncommon story, even inside Japan this happens often. However, recently I have heard stories of KINGS being copied in Slovakia.
From initial research into the matter, it is clear that MatejMatys is deeply involved with these developments. KINGS has therefore contacted MatejMatys regarding his involvement, although he insists that he is only helping out. Incidentally, MatejMatys has visited Japan with his pro boarder friends, and also on his facebook site, he seems to have visited Obuse Quest and Saitama Quest. His facebook profile also includes a number of Japanese friends.
After this further research, KINGS contacted MatejMatys again, asking more in-depth questions regarding his involvement, but he has not responded. The only answer he has given, is to say that a Mr Milan Halgas is responsible for the construction in Slovakia (firstname.lastname@example.org), and that all questions should be directed to him. Given that MatejMatys knows the name of the person responsible for the construction, it is difficult to believe that he knows nothing of the developments of the new facilities in Slovakia. However, when asked regarding the process of developments, he has refused to reply.
Additional research has shown that Greefin Group will run Line36.sk (http://www.greefingroup.sk/kontakt.html), but neither of these have replied to emails from KINGS. KINGS therefore contacted the Slovakian Embassy in Tokyo, who in return contacted Greefin Group, who thereafter replied directly to KINGS. This reply from Greefin Group was nevertheless arrogant and impolite, stating that they did not need to answer questions from KINGS, when Greefing Group is located in Slovakia and KINGS is located in Japan. Importantly, KINGS has completed a PCT submission (as this application is awaiting a final decision, KINGS has equally submitted an equivalent national application which is now under consideration). The EU is nevertheless under PCT jurisdiction.
However, although it is therefore possible for KINGS to take Greefin Group to court, KINGS has preferred to resolve the matter in a civilised manner, and outside the courts. The rude responses from the Greefin Group have nevertheless made this difficult. The Slovakian Embassy in Tokyo has apologised for the embarrassing actions of Greefin Group, and has provided KINGS with the names of their own Slovakian solicitors, should KINGS decide to take the matter forward.
In addition to the above, the Slovakian national snowboarding team and their coach have visited Japanese Quest facilities for research. Line36.sk has previously used video recordings as promotional material on its website, recorded at KINGS Chiba by the Czech national snowboarding team. Currently, following a notification, the material has been removed from the site. It is nevertheless absurd that Line36.sk suggests that it is making an investment in youth, when they are behaving dishonestly.
If any of you, reading this post, know or come across any of the people involved, please advise them to approach KINGS to resolve the matter in a civilised manner. This whole issue has been a great distraction, particularly as KINGS is launching its new and exciting Surf Project, although KINGS have taken the first steps toward court action. Once the national PCT equivalent application has been approved, KINGS will transfer it to Slovakia.
For anyone who has friends that are abroad, please inform them that the Line36.sk facilities are a sub-standard replica. KINGS is not pursuing this matter because of financial interests, but because of the dishonest and impolite way by which Line36.sk’s facilities have come about. The people behind this unoriginal course are taking Japanese too lightly.
If they accepted that they copied KINGS’ facilities, and respected Japanese engineering and innovation, it would have been possible to find a reasonable solution; but as they have not been willing to come to the table, and when prompted, have responded impolitely, KINGS has had to take the matter forward. Therefore, for anyone who knows Milan Halgas or MatejMatys; or has any information about Line36.sk, please share this information with KINGS as it will undoubtedly prove useful in resolving this matter.
Even now, if it possible to resolve this matter outside of court KINGS encourages the other parties to work towards a solution, and will not pursue this matter further in the courts if they do so. KINGS therefore encourages everyone to help avoid the worst-case scenario. I hope many people on SNS will share this article, and that it reaches said parties.