Posted : 2012-11-23 17:44
Updated : 2012-11-23 17:44

Doctors stand off over English names

By Yoon Ja-young

The country's Western and Oriental medicine doctors are clashing over who has the right to use the term "Korean medicine."

A court recently denied the request of the Korean Medical Association to ban an organization of the doctors of traditional medicine from changing its name to the Association of Korean Medicine.

The KMA claimed that the name could be confusing.

Traditional medicine doctors had been under the Association of Korean Oriental Medicine, but they changed the name to the Association of Korean Medicine in March.

"Oriental has a negative nuance in Western countries. We got rid of it to promote our field as future-oriented and developed medicine," a spokesman for the association explained. "The term Oriental doesn't equate with Korean medicine. Oriental means Asia."

He added that the name wasn't confusing. "In other (Asian) countries, Western medicine doctors use the term medical while traditional medicine uses the term medicine," he said, citing "Chinese medicine" and "Thai medicine" as examples.

The Korean Medical Association, however, disputes this. "We have been using the name Korean Medical Association. Their switching to Korean Medicine from Oriental Medicine can mislead people. It goes against article 23 of the Commercial Act, breaching our right over the name. It also breaches the law that bans unfair competition," said a spokesperson for the Korean Medical Association.

Following the court rejecting its request, the Korean Medical Association said they would appeal the decision.

"Of course, we won't sit idle. We are considering whether to make an appeal or file a further lawsuit," he said.

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