November 9, 1945 in Korea Hwang Kee named his 1st martial art school Moo Duk Kwan® and began instructing his martial art system of Hwa Soo Do, then later Tang Soo Do.
1974-76 Hwang Kee led formation of the U.S. Federation and assigned it exclusive rights to the Moo Duk Kwan® name and logo for commerce in the United States
June 19, 1975 the initial election results were tallied and the 1st Charter Convention for the newly created United States Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® was scheduled for June 28, 1975.
June 26 ,1976, the 501(c)(4) nonprofit United States Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® was incorporated and chartered as the only U.S. entity authorized by Moo Duk Kwan® Founder Hwang Kee to use his Moo Duk Kwan® martial art school name and his Tang Soo Do / Soo Bahk Do® martial art system name and content in commerce in the United States.
On multiple occasions since the Federation's inception, the Federation's Board of Directors have complied with its Charter provision to defend and protect from misuse the Moo Duk Kwan® name and logos associated with the established and well known reputation of Hwang Kee and the U.S. Federation.
October 2001, Robert and Eric Kovaleski , a.ka. Tang Soo Karate School (incorporated in September 1995,) filed an application to trademark International Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Association and the fist logo.
January 4, 2002 their application was rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for likelihood of confusion with existing registered trademarks including the Federation’s.
July 5, 2002 the Kovaleski’s application for trademark was abandoned.
October 2010 multiple websites and social media bearing the name and design which had been rejected by the USPTO came to the Federation’s attention.
October 29, 2010 a cease and desist notice was sent to the Kovaleskis by the Federation’s intellectual property attorney. An attorney for the Kovaleskis responded saying they needed more time to reply and then no further communication was forthcoming. This is not uncommon in these matters and typically indicates the infringing activity will eventually cease.
August 16 to 23, 2011 the Kovaleskis and a group visited Korea where they formed a relationship with Korea based World Moo Duk Kwan General Federation (http://www.moodukwonkorea.org/) and unknown to the Federation at that time, the WMDKGF appointed Eric Kovaleski as USA East Coast Regional Representative on August 21,2011.
The World Moo Duk Kwan General Federation website states the motivation for incorporating (which they characterize as “formed with the permission of the Korean Government”) as”… Tragically our founder passed away in 2002. Before he passed on he ignored his original group of protégé's and handed control of his art of Soo Bahk Do to his son. This disrupted the harmony originally established and nurtured by him in the past. His older generation of students (ranging from age 80 to 89) established a corporation, the World Moo Duk Kwan General Federation…” In an interview Robert Kovaleski stated, "HC Hwang didn’t respect his seniors- Let’s just say that!”
November 10, 2011, but undiscovered at that time, Widmer Signs, a sign company in Scranton, PA, posted photos on Facebook of new signage bearing Federation Trademarks and indicated they were being made for the Kovaleskis in preparation for an event.
In February 2012 multiple Federation members received an event solicitation from the Kovaleskis which featured the name and design previously rejected by the USPTO. Federation members reported it was confusingly similar to the Federation’s trademarks. The literature indicated that the Kovaleskis were hosting World Moo Duk Kwan General Federation representatives including Yong Duk Kim Dan Bon #2 as President and Hee Suk Choi Dan #5 as Vice President to present seminars on May 10, 2012 in Dickson City, PA.
February 29, 2012 The Federation Board of Directors met and responded to member reports and Kwan Jang Nim’s request for prompt follow-up on this serious trademark infringement. The Board approved a motion for Appointed Director Phillip Bartolacci, Sa Bom Nim to reach out to the Kovaleskis and seek an amicable resolution within a few days with the stipulation that if that failed then the Federation’s attorney would be authorized to initiate legal action. The Kovaleskis were unreceptive to that outreach.
April 10, 2012 the Federation filed for a preliminary injunction in Federal court in Scranton, PA and a hearing was set for May 8, 2012.
May 3, 2012 the Federation Board held an emergency meeting and authorized the Executive Administrator, Phil Duncan to appear in court with Federation counsel, Chuck Kennedy on May 8, 2012 in Scranton, PA. During the injunction hearing, additional literature published by the World Moo Duk Kwan General Federation was procured and it pronounced Yong Duk Kim Dan Bon #2 and Hee Suk Choi Dan #5 as co-founders of the Moo Duk Kwan martial art school in 1945.
The Federation possesses evidence contradicting these claims including, but not limited to, photos and rank certification records issued by Hwang Kee to these men as his students (Hwang Kee's original records indicate Dan #5 for Choi Hee Suk, not Dan #3), a sworn affidavit by Yong Duk Kim#2 notarized in 1983, stating that Hwang Kee was the sole Moo Duk Kwan founder, Hee Seok Choi's resignation from the Moo Duk Kwan in 1965, s 2004 letter from Yong Duk Kim Dan #2 disavowing World Moo Duk Won organizers at that time.
May 9, 2012 Federal Judge Mariani signed an order restraining the Kovaleskis from using our marks during their events May 10-12.
May 10-12, 2012 the Kovaleskis complied with the court order during their events; however, the representatives from the World Moo Duk Kwan General Federation did not, but they are not parties to this USA legal action.
October 16, 2014 Eric Kovaleski posted on Facebook that he had been appointed Vice President of the World Tang Soo Do General Federation, Moo Duk Kwan in Seoul, Korea.
February 9th, 2015 is the trial date set by Federal Judge Mariani in Scranton, PA.