Two of Korea’s leading card issuers are heading for a showdown in court over one of them allegedly copying the other's card products.

Hyundai Card Co. Ltd. announced March 28 it is preparing to file a lawsuit against Samsung Card Co. Ltd. alleging that it copied the concept of its popular Hyundai Zero Card. The provides a 0.7% discount at retail stores and interest-free payments for up to three months; Samsung’s Card 4 offers the same perks, a Hyundai Card spokesperson tells PaymentsSource.

The company has informed Samsung of what it calls plagiarism of its product, sending it legal documents and demanding that it halt the marketing and issuance of the card, he adds.

The spokesperson says Hyundai would file a lawsuit if Samsung fails to respond within a week to its request.

Samsung issued a statement denying Hyundai’s claim, noting the country’s complicated credit card regulations often result in companies launching similar cards.

This is not the first time Samsung allegedly has copied Hyundai credit cards, the Hyundai spokesperson says. In 2005, Hyundai released the Black Card designed for premium customers who paid an annual fee of 2 million won (US$1,757 or 1,322 euros).

“With this card, they were able to upgrade to first-class seats in airlines and also receive gift vouchers to high-end retail stores, beauty stores and hotels,” he says. “In 2009, Samsung launched the Raume Card, which provides very similar benefits, also with the same annual fee.”

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