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South Korea > Antitrust and competition > Antitrust and competition – Local firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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  1. Antitrust and competition – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Kim & Chang is ‘the best team in Korea for antitrust work’, according to one client. Led by Kyung-Taek Jung, the ‘strong’ team ‘clearly understands the rules and workings of the KFTC’ and is regularly instructed by well-known international companies and Korean conglomerates to assist on the most complex mandates. Youngjin Jung ‘is the best in terms of knowledge and practical advice’; Tae-Kyu Kang and Kyung-Yul Lee are involved in a number of the practice' key mandates and are other names to note. Senior foreign attorneys Brian Tae-Hyun Chung and Luke Y. Shin, Sang Hyuk Park and Jung-Won Hyun are also highly recommended, as is Gene-Oh (Gene) Kim. Highlights for the team include successfully limiting the scope of KFTC’s review of the Dow Chemical Company. The practice continues to assist Qualcomm in  various KFTC merger reviews in relation to its acquisition of NXP Semiconductors. Sung-Eyup Park is recommended for antitrust matters within the IT industry.

Lee & Ko's ‘top of the market’ antitrust practice is ‘well connected to the regulators and provides high-quality, efficient and practical advice top to bottom’. The practice includes a team of Korea and US experienced  economists, and is highly active across the whole spectrum of antitrust work, notably in unfair trade practices, cartels and merger control. Hwan Jeong leads the team; he and Jeong-Ho Sun successfully obtained an unconditional merger clearance for OCI from regulators in Taiwan and China. Acclaimed competition law specialist and ‘talented advocate’ Min-Ho Lee is highly experienced in KFTC practices and is recommended for contentious litigation; he and Pyoung Keun Song are representing LG Electronics in a dispute over a misleading advertisement case against Dyson. In other key matters, Lee and Suryun Kim, a specialist in cartel investigations and merger reviews, secured an unconditional clearance from the KFTC regarding Aramco Overseas Holdings acquisition of 50% shares in Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Corporation. Managing partner Yong Seok Ahn is ‘one of the best antitrust lawyers in Korea’; he successfully persuaded the US Department of Justice to drop its investigation for collusion against Mando. In other matters, Ahn and Kee Won Shin acted for Korean Air during joint venture negotiations and continue to oversee the global regulatory approval process. The team is also advising Broadcom in relation to merger filings and clearance in relation to its $117bn bid to acquire Qualcomm.

Shin & Kim’s team continues to hold a dominant position within the antitrust and competition practice and the 22-partner strong team continues to act as legal counsel for Qualcomm in its appeal to the Korean Supreme Court in relation to abuse of dominance cases. Cartel and merger control specialist Sangdon Lee assisted Valeo in obtaining merger clearance for its formation of a joint venture with PHC Group across multiple jurisdictions. He and foreign attorney Jeannie Y Jeong led Linde’s merger filings to the KFTC for Linde’s merger with Praxair valued at $85bn. Practice head Young Chul Yim is involved in defending automakers, marine transportation companies and manufacturers against KFTC investigations for collusion and litigation. Other significant figures include John H Choi, Jooyoung Park, Chang-young Cho, Daeyong Baek and Hyun Ah Kim. Sohyun Hong departed to Kim & Chang.

Yulchon stands out for its ‘strategic thinking’ and is ‘very plugged into the Korean business community and has excellent knowledge of the regulatory environment’. The ‘outstanding’ team is jointly led by Sai Ree Yun, Hae Sik Park and Cecil Saehoon Chung, who focus on international antitrust. Chung is particularly highlighted for his ‘exceptional knowledgeable of not only Korean antitrust but cross-border issues as well’. He recently worked closely with Kyu Hyun Kim in handling cross-border merger control matters, for example, for Delta Air Lines in the first-of-its-kind Korean 'metal neutral' joint venture with Korean Air. In another example, Chung was supported by Kim, associate Keon Woong Kim and Young Lan Yea (who ‘adds value to the team’) in handling Glencore’s $1.14bn acquisition of interests in coal mines in Australia from Yancoal. Seuk Joon Lee’s expertise spans cartels, merger reviews, abuse of market dominance and unfair trade practices as well as pharmaceuticals and telecommunications. Sung Bom Park is likewise extremely experienced in antitrust and regulatory matters.

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC has a strong offering in contentious antitrust matters and regularly represents clients in investigative KFTC proceedings concerning allegations of domestic and international cartel activities, abuse of market dominance and unfair business practices. Seong Un Yun, Sang Hoon Shin and Junhyun Song helped Samsung Electronics secure clearance from the KFTC on the sale of its printing business to HP. In contentious matters, Keumseok Oh and Ryan Il Kang successfully defended multiplex cinema operators in litigation concerning unfair business practices and claims for damages brought by film producers. The team is also continuing to represent Enplas Display Device in a dispute concerning unfair trade practice. Yunsoo Kim  heads the team.

Yoon & Yang LLC remains actively involved in contentious antitrust matters, for example, managing partner Hoil Yoon, Jae-Young Kim and Sangoh (Jason) Jeon are representing a well-known electronics conglomerate in KFTC investigations of price-fixing, and in another example, the partners are assisting an international bank in an investigation of collusion. Team head Seong-Sig Kim’s focus area covers litigation involving cartels, mergers and unfair trade practices. Chul Ho Kim, Chang Ho Kum, Song Ryu and Kenneth Kim are also names to note.

Jipyong's antitrust practice is well versed in KFTC regulatory provisions and investigations. Gee-Hong Kim and Sang-Jun Kim co-head the group; GH Kim is representing Intel Corporation in appeal litigation against Qualcomm for abuse of market dominance – acting in support of the penalty imposed by the KFTC. In other work SJ Kim was able to successfully convince the KFTC to substantially reduce the penalties imposed on SeAH Steel for alleged collusion. Byung Joo Lee advises on fair trade and corporate law aspects; he handled SK Holdings merger filings across multiple jurisdictions in relation to its acquisition of an interest in LG Siltron. Poom Jang focuses on fair trade disputes.

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Dinner with GC -
Korea 2018

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Legal Developments in South Korea

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  • Russian Court’s Judgment Recognized for Enforcement in Korea

    Recently, based on the premise that requirements for “mutual guarantee” or “reciprocity” in relation to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments can be allowed between Russia and Korea, a District Court of Korea rendered its decision which allowed a judgment concluded by a Russian court to be enforceable in Korea (see Changwon District Court, Decision 2018Gahap51099 held on January 17, 2019).
  • Korean National Assembly Passes “Blind Hiring” Bill to Reform Hiring Culture

    Recently, the National Assembly of Korea passed legislative amendments to the Fair Recruitment Procedure Act (“FRPA ”) as part of the reform efforts to address the country’s recruitment culture. The latest amendment – dubbed the “blind hiring” bill – expands the FRPA to prohibit any type of recruitment irregularities (e.g., improper solicitation, coercion, pressure) and, more importantly, bars employers from asking jobseekers to provide any information unrelated to the position and the applicant’s merit. The amended FRPA will go into effect starting July 17, 2019.
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  • Korean Supreme Court Confirms Licensee’s Standing to Challenge Patent Validity

    On February 21, 2019, the Supreme Court of Korea issued an en banc decision overruling its prior precedents on the issue of whether a licensee who is continuing to make royalty payments under an existing license agreement nevertheless has standing to challenge the validity of the licensed patent. In short, the Korean Supreme Court held that absent special circumstance, a patent licensee is an “interested party” eligible for challenging the validity of a licensed patent, despite the lack of any threat or potential threat posed by the patent holder against the licensee’s right to use the patented invention. (Supreme Court En Banc Decision No. 2017Hu2819).
  • Amendments to the KFTC Merger Review Guidelines

    The Korea Fair Trade Commission (the “KFTC ”) recently amended its Guidelines for Merger Review (the ”Guidelines ”), which took effect from February 27, 2019. The Guidelines now provide for particular issues relating to “innovation markets” and “big data” that will be considered during the KFTC’s review of mergers within R&D-intensive (i.e. innovative) industries.

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