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22 June 2015

High Court: no likelihood of confusion between HAN'S and HAN

In Han’s (F&B) Pte Ltd v Gusttimo World Pte Ltd, the High Court has dismissed an action for trademark infringement and passing off brought by the owner of a well-known café chain called Han’s against the owner of a high-end Japanese restaurant named HAN Cuisine of Naniwa. The court also dismissed the defendant’s counterclaims that the plaintiff’s marks were invalid and that the plaintiff had made groundless threats of infringement proceedings.

18 June 2015

Bali's KU DE TA beach club finally wins back its name

A consortium of Indonesian and foreign entrepreneurs that had established an iconic Bali beach club concept and ended up suing in the Singapore courts have won on appeal. Some of the partners had granted a spurious licence for the brand, leading to the establishment of a rival club of the same name in Singapore.

30 April 2015

Plaintiff obtains cancellation of competitor’s mark, but fails to establish goodwill

In Al Mahamid v Global Tobacco Manufacturers (International) Sdn Bhd, the High Court has held that a trademark for cigarettes was invalid on the ground that it was similar to an earlier mark registered for identical goods. An interesting aspect of the decision was the court's comments in relation to passing off, as there is some concern that the court may have raised the test for proving goodwill to a level that is unduly onerous for potential plaintiffs.

11 February 2015

Health supplements company invalidates tea shop chain's mark based on passing off

Health supplements company Redsun Singapore Pte Ltd, the owner of the trademark RED SUN in Class 5, has successfully obtained the invalidation of the mark RED SUN TEA SHOP in Class 30 based on passing off. Among other things, the registrar found that Redsun’s goodwill in the RED SUN mark extended to tea products.

05 February 2015

Nestlé's two and four-finger Kit Kat shape marks held to be invalid

In Société des Produits Nestlé SA v Petra Foods Ltd, the High Court has held that Nestlé’s trademark registrations for the shape of its two and four-finger Kit Kat bars were invalid. Among other things, the court found that the average consumer would not assume that the shapes indicated trade origin without being educated that they were of trademark significance.

24 November 2014

Lower degree of protection for trademarks consisting of common names

In Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman Limited v Taylors Wines Pty Ltd, the IPOS has dismissed an opposition against the registration of two TAYLORS WAKEFIELD marks for wines in Class 33, finding that there was no likelihood of confusion with the earlier mark TAYLOR'S for identical goods. The decision reiterates the principle that trademarks consisting of common names and/or words of low distinctiveness are conferred a lower degree of protection.

11 April 2014

Registrar allows cross-examination of witness in cancellation proceedings

In PT Eigerindo Multi Produk Industri v Sports Connection Pte Ltd, the registrar has deviated from the default rule and allowed an application for cross-examination of the applicant's witness in cancellation proceedings. The registrar held that, in view of the serious nature of the applicant’s bad-faith claim, the prejudice to the mark owner justified the exercise of her discretion to allow the cross-examination of the applicant’s deponent.

28 March 2014

Good-faith mistake may not be sufficient for registrar to grant extension of time

In V Hotel Pte Ltd v Jelco Properties Ltd, the registrar has rejected a request for restoration of a trademark application and extension of time to file evidence in opposition proceedings. The registrar held that a good-faith mistake, per se, may not be sufficient for the registrar to exercise his discretion to grant an extension of time. There must be some extenuating circumstances to explain the oversight or delay.

07 January 2014

Court of Appeal issues landmark decision on likelihood of confusion assessment

The Court of Appeal has released its ruling in Staywell Hospitality Group Pty Ltd v Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which is probably the most important IP decision of 2013. The court considered two key issues in relation to the assessment of the likelihood of confusion – namely, whether there is a difference in approach between opposition proceedings and infringement proceedings, and whether extraneous factors are relevant.

13 December 2013

IPOS decision provides guidance on how to establish well-known status

In Formula One Licensing BV v Idea Marketing SA, the Intellectual Property Office has held that F1 was not a well-known mark for motor racing in Singapore as of the date of application for registration of the mark F1H2O. The office provided useful guidance regarding the evidence to be submitted to prove the well-known status of a mark.

25 September 2013

Inclusion of prior mark in later mark does not guarantee success in opposition

In Kenzo v Kenzo, the hearing officer has rejected fashion house Kenzo’s opposition against the registration of KENZO ESTATE by Tsujimoto Kenzo, a winemaker based in California. The case reiterates that the mere inclusion of a prior mark in a later mark will not guarantee success in an opposition. It also highlights the evidentiary burden that any prospective opponent faces when seeking to rely on the protection afforded to well-known marks.

14 December 2012

High Court finds no likelihood of confusion between 'Regis' marks for hotel services

In Staywell Hospitality Group Pty Ltd v Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the High Court has held that there was no likelihood of confusion between the marks PARK REGIS and ST. REGIS for hotel services, notwithstanding the finding that the marks were similar. Among other things, the court noted that the parties' websites were completely different and used the other brands of the parties prominently.

17 July 2012

Trademark protection - an optional extra?

The importance of securing the correct trademarks in all relevant jurisdictions is one of the basic rules of launching a new brand. But could there be exceptions to this rule? At the first ever IP Management for C-Suite Seminar which took place in Singapore last week, the audience heard from one entrepreneur who has decided that, in his line of business at least, trademark protection is an expensive and unnecessary luxury.

15 February 2012

Mark for tobacco products refused based on identical mark for sports goods

In Basic Trademark SA v Karelia Tobacco Company Inc, the principal assistant registrar has upheld an opposition by Basic Trademark SA, the owner of various KAPPA marks, against the registration of the trademark KAPPA for tobacco products. Among other things, the principal assistant registrar found that there would be misrepresentation likely to cause damage to Basic’s goodwill should there be use of the KAPPA mark by Karelia.

07 April 2011

Court of Appeal clarifies when mark is “earlier trademark”

In Campomar SL v Nike International Ltd, the Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by Campomar SL against a decision of the High Court, and held that Campomar's NIKE mark was an “earlier trademark” within the meaning of Section 8(1) of the Singapore Trademarks Act, read together with Section 2(1).