Registration of '.sg' as a trademark abandoned


The Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC), the registry for the '.sg' domain space, has decided to abandon its application to register '.sg' as a trademark. This decision is welcomed by critics of the registration who feared that the government was seeking to strengthen its control over the country-code top-level domain.

In 1999 SGNIC applied to register '.sg' as a trademark in respect of education, domain name registration and internet connection services. The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore approved the application for the first two types of service. However, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers considered opposing the registration.

The critics of the registration argued that if '.sg' were registered as a trademark (i) parties using '.sg' in respect of services identical to those covered by the registration would infringe the mark, even where the sign was used within a domain name, and (ii) using the sign in respect of services similar to those covered by the registration would be an infringement if there was a likelihood of confusion.

However, the SGNIC argued that by allowing the registration of a domain name ending with '.sg', it would have implicitly consented to the use of the sign in connection with that domain name.

Tan Tee Jim SC and Tan Wee Meng, Allen & Gledhill, Singapore

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