Abercrombie & Fitch win trademark battle in Singapore

The American fashion brand Abercrombie & Fitch has recently won an infringement case against a Singapore firm who had tried to register their logo for eyewear.

According to Asia One Business,  MMC International Services had filed an application to trademark the term A&F along with the moose silhouette that is used by the American brand in 2013.

However, Sandy Widjaja, Principal Assistant Registrar at the Singapore Intellectual Property Office refused to grant them the mark since they could not justify their choice of logo. She stated "A&F cannot be an acronym of the applicants since they are MMC International Services".

Furthermore, the Singapore firm did not attend their hearing in May and the written evidence that they had submitted was not substantial enough to support their argument.

The plaintiff’s lawyers, Drew & Napier, stated that the American fashion brand’s trademark had been present in Singapore since 2002 when their products could first be bought online. The country’s awareness of the mark would have only increased in 2011 when Ambercrombie and Fitch opened their physical store and therefore the defendant would have also known of its existence.  

Furthermore, Ms Widaja declared that if she were to grant the registration of the mark, it would prevent any future expansion that Abercrombie & Fitch may want to do in the eyewear category.  For this reason she ruled in their favour and has ordered MMC to cover their legal costs for the case.

Given that the two companies’ marks would be almost identical, the registration of MMC’s mark would undoubtedly cause confusion for consumers in the marketplace as to the source identity of the goods that they would be selling.

The best way to protect your company’s reputation, brand value and profits in today’s global marketplace is by registering a trademark and gaining trademark enforcement rights. However, just having the trademark is not enough, like Abercrombie & Fitch,  you would also need to police your market for potential infringements and then be prepared to act on them when they do arise.

For advice and more information on searching, acquiring, registering and enforcing Trademarks please visit our website, http://www.lipex.com.
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