T-ara members express wish to use team name amid trademark dispute
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SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- Members of K-pop act T-ara on Tuesday expressed their wish to continue to use their team name amid revelations that its former management company is seeking exclusive trademark rights over the "T-ara" brand.
According to the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service, MBK Entertainment, T-ara's former agency, applied for trademark rights to the name T-ara on Dec. 28, three days before the four members -- Jiyeon, Hyomin, Eunjung and Qri -- parted ways with the company. A company representative said there were no prior consultations with the four women.
"It is our wish to present the four of us to fans under the name 'T-ara' in the future. We hope the matter becomes settled smoothly," the four singers said in a statement released via Jiyeon's Instagram.
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.
MBK's trademark 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 and TVXQ members did under the same situation.
The singers also refuted media reports that they received a massive amount of money and luxury cars from Wang Sicong, the son of business tycoon Wang Jianlin, while doing publicity in China in 2014.
"We personally contacted Wang Sicong through Weibo and received a formal response that the reports are false and totally groundless," the singers said.
Wang, known to be a big fan of T-ara, signed the group to his media firm Banana Culture, though the group left the agency two years later.
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.
A file photo of K-pop group T-ara (Yonhap)