Abercrombie & Fitch stops A&F from use in Singapore
Abercrombie & Fitch, the American retailer that focuses on upscale casual wear for young consumers, has won a trademark battle in Singapore against MMC International Services, thereby stopping the later from registering the A&F abbreviation and moose silhouette design as a trademark for eyewear products.
In 2013, MMC International Services tried to register the abbreviation “A&F” as well as a moose silhouette as a trademark in Singapore for spectacles and related accessories. MMC argued that they applied for the mark in a class of products for which none of Abercrombie & Fitch’s earlier marks were registered. On this basis, MMC claimed it had ” first-mover advantage”.
However, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) was not convinced, noting that MMC could not justify why they chosen this particular design for its trademark.
In judgment grounds released last week, IPOS stated that MMC’s inability to explain the configuration of the mark, in particular the combination of the A&F abbreviation and the moose silhouette, “can only lead to the irresistible conclusion that the application mark was slavishly copied from Abercrombie & Fitch by a ’cut and paste’ job”.
Drew & Napier, who represented Abercrombie & Fitch, also underlined that Abercrombie & Fitch marks had been in use in Singapore since at least 2002 when online purchases of its products became available in Singapore. Furthermore, they argued that MMC at least must have been aware of Abercrombie & Fitch marks since 2011, as Abercrombie & Fitch enjoyed wide publicity in Singapore when its first physical store opened in Orchard Road in 2011.
As grounds for the decision in favor of Abercrombie & Fitch, IPOS especially underlined the likelihood of confusion for the consumers. That is, the risk of the incorrect assumption by consumers that the two trademarks belong to the same source or that they are otherwise economically linked.
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