SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — Veteran K-pop girl group T-ara might be banned from using its name as the group’s former management agency sought the exclusive right to use the name Monday.
MBK Entertainment applied for the trademark rights to the name “T-ara” with the Korean Intellectual Property Office on Dec. 28, according to the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS) on Monday.
It was three days before the four members — Jiyeon, Hyomin, Eunjung and Qri — parted ways with the management agency upon the expiration of their contracts.
MBK confirmed the news in a telephone conversation with Yonhap News Agency, saying, “We did it because it’s natural for the company to have the rights to the name ‘T-ara.’” But there was no prior consultation with group members in the process, the company added.
The application, if accepted, will ban members who left the company from exercising the trademark to the name for at least 10 years. In that case, they will be forced to find a new group name as former BEAST members and TVXQ members did under the same situation.
Earlier, Hyomin suggested that the act may continue either independently or through a new agency in a post to her fans on her Instagram account.
“We can’t say for certain now, but the members will be able to stay together whenever, wherever we are,” she wrote.
Since its debut in 2009 with the EP “Lies,” T-ara rose to fame with hits such as “Bo Peep Bo Peep,” “Roly Poly” and “Lovey Dovey.” The group released its ninth EP, “What’s My Name,” last June. T-ara initially started out with six members but later went through several lineup changes amid departures and allegations of an internal bullying incident.