Korean superstar Lee Min Ho won an infringement Case against a cosmetics company who used his face to promote a Face Mask brand without permission. A Korean court awarded the renowned actor and model 100 million Korean Won (KRW), a little over $87,500, in damages, and ordered the respondent corporation to stop manufacturing and selling the face masks which bear the image of the Hallyu celebrity.

Although reports did not name the Korean company that committed the breach, the face mask – marketed as the Lee Min Ho Mayu Pack – is supposedly made, advertised and sold by one Tronic Company Limited.

Its principal office is located in Yeondeunpo-Gu in Seoul and it markets and exports its beauty and healthcare products to various countries in Asia, Central and North America, Australia, Eastern and Western Europe.

Lee’s former entertainment agency, Starhaus Entertainment, lodged the criminal complaint after Tronic used his image in the period drama, 'Faith', in promoting the face mask. Starhaus denied that there was an endorsement agreement between the parties.

Mayu derma care ampoule mask claims to contain hempseed oil and is promoted as an ideal part of any skincare regimen.

Allegations of collusion with producers

The unauthorized use of Lee’s image was also allegedly done in collusion with the producers of 'Faith', a period drama where Lee played a Goryeo Age warrior who falls in love with a modern-day doctor.

The 24-episode series, also known internationally as 'The Great Doctor', was shown between August and October 2012 by Seoul Broadcasting System. Lee starred opposite actress Kim Hee Sun.

The Mayu Pack showed Lee in his Goryeo warrior costume with his matching long mane. Starhaus said the product sold out in China when it was distributed there.

The lawsuit was aimed at protecting their talent’s “publicity rights” and to prevent misleading consumers and other interested parties. Lee has since moved to MYM Entertainment, which is managed by his sister.

Huge award but not a full victory

The case was first filed in 2015 and, after trial, the Seoul District Court initially awarded the Korean actor KRW 20 million, approximately $17,500.

On appeal, the judge increased the judgment award to KRW 80 million, estimated at $70,000. The final amount of damages of over $87,500 is only half of the $175,000 that Lee sought to be paid.

Lee, 30, is one of the highest paid Korean actors. He has had a string of Korean drama hits, including his latest series, 'The Legend of the Blue Sea', which paired him with actress Jun Ji Hyun. Aside from 'Faith', he also starred in blockbuster hits such as 'Boys Over Flowers', 'City Hunter' and 'The Heirs'. He has also been confirmed to star in two movies: 'Gangnam Blues' and 'Bounty Hunters'.

Top commercial model

He likewise has a string of commercial endorsements both in Korea and overseas, including modeling for top Korean cosmetics firm, Innisfree.

He is considered one of the highest paid Korean product endorsers.

However, Lee is on a two-year hiatus as he is serving as a conscripted policeman at the Gangnam government office. He started his mandatory military service on May 12 and is expected to resume his entertainment career after 24 months.