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Guess unable to stop ‘Hater’ trade mark registration

Written by Mekael Rahman on 01 March 2019

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Guess, the American clothing brand and retailer has been unsuccessful in its attempt to stop the registration of a trade mark comprising the word ‘Hater’ inside a triangle in Singapore. The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) have recently decided that the applied-for trade mark of individual Jen Chi is not similar enough to the trade marks of Guess to cause confusion.

Guess’s trade mark covers clothing under class 25 and contains a question mark within a triangle. It also has another trade mark under the same class which consists of ‘Guess’ inside the said shape. Both marks have been employed in Singapore since 1991. Jen Chi’s ‘Hater’ trade mark covers clothing under class 25 as well; it was applied for in April 2015 and is used on products that are sold online at: www.hatersnapback.com and various shops in Singapore shopping centres.

Sandy Widjaja, who is the principal assistant registrar at the IPOS has stated that the ‘Haters’ mark was ‘visually, aurally and conceptually more dissimilar than similar’ to Guess’s mark that features the word ‘Guess’. The same verdict was reached with respect to Guess’s question mark trade mark. Furthermore, Guess’s claim of passing off was also rejected by the IPOS. Widjaja articulated that ‘[t]aking into account the extent of dissimilarity in the marks, I am of the view that, on a balance of probabilities, there is no likelihood of misrepresentation that the applicant and the opponent are one and the same or that they are economically linked’.

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