SWEETCAMEL is not confusingly similar to CAMEL
The Singapore Trademarks Registry has dismissed an opposition filed by Worldwide Brands Inc against the application by Itochu Corporation for the registration of the word mark SWEETCAMEL in respect of clothing.
The mark SWEETCAMEL has been in use in Japan for clothing - most notably women's jeans - since 1979. The registrar dismissed the opposition under Sections 8(2)(b), 8(3) and 8(4)(a) of the Trademarks Act.
First, to succeed under Section 8(2)(b) of the act, Worldwide had to show that there was a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public because the SWEETCAMEL mark was similar to its earlier marks and was to be registered for identical or similar goods. Worldwide relied on its prior registrations of CAMEL ACTIVE (and design), CAMEL (and design), STAR CAMEL (and design), CAMEL BOOTS (and design), CAMEL TRIBE (and design) and the stylized CAMEL mark.
The registrar found the SWEETCAMEL and CAMEL marks to be visually, aurally and conceptually dissimilar. From a visual point of view, Worldwide's marks are composite, whereas the mark applied for consists only of a word. From an aural point of view, the marks are enunciated in a different way. From a conceptual point of view, the mark applied for conveyed the notions of sweetness, cuteness or docility, whereas Worldwide's marks brought to mind qualities such as stoicism, endurance and hardiness.
Second, to succeed under Section 8(3) of the act, Worldwide had to show that:
- the SWEETCAMEL mark was identical or similar to its earlier marks and covered goods which were dissimilar to those covered by the earlier marks;
- its earlier marks were well known in Singapore; and
- use of the SWEETCAMEL mark for the goods claimed would indicate a connection between those goods and Worldwide, such that there would be a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public and Worldwide's interests would be damaged.
The opposition under Section 8(3) also failed: there was no likelihood of confusion since the marks were not identical or similar. In addition, Worldwide failed to show that its own CAMEL marks were well known in Classes 18 and 25 of the Nice Classification.
Finally, to succeed under Section 8(4)(a) (now Section 8(7)(a)) of the act, Worldwide had to show that use of the SWEETCAMEL mark would constitute passing off. Since there was no likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, the registrar held that it was unlikely that the public would be led to believe that Itochu's goods are linked to Worldwide.
Dedar Singh Gill and Ngoi Soon Hui, Drew & Napier LLC, Singapore
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