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12 April, 2016

It is not often that a trademark application is rejected for "bad faith" under section 7(6) of the Trade Marks Act. Thus, we've decided to highlight this recent case.
- Koh C-u Pinn, Arielle Law Corporation

Trademark Application Made "In Bad Faith" Refused Registration


Recently, a case came up where a trademark application made in bad faith was refused registration.

CHRISTIE'S vs CHRITRS

Chritrs Auction Pte Ltd (Chritrs) registered "CHRITRS" as a trademark. Auctioneer Christie Manson & Woods Limited (popularly known at Christie's) found it to be intentionally confusing to auction bidders and similar to its own trademarks, and opposed the application. This resulted in a case that went before for the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).

IPOS decided that the trademark application was made in bad faith under Section 7(6) of the Trade Marks Act, and refused its registration.

"CHRITRS" application made in bad faith

The Registrar at IPOS found it difficult to believe that “CHRITRS" was a meaningless word that was invented by Chritrs as a means of coming up with a unique mark for his business. It does not make sense for Chritrs to come up with an unpronounceable name for their business, and it was a remarkable coincidence that 6 of the letters in the Application Mark “CHRITRS” are the same as Christie’s' “CHRISTIE’S” mark, and the first 4 letters are identical. 

Chritrs was not able to explain the reasons for the creation and choice of the "CHRITRS" trade mark, and the sole director was absent for cross-examination. Similar litigation over trademarks has taken place in Hong Kong between Chritrs Group and Christie's. 

If your business comes across competitors that make such trademark applications in bad faith, consider getting legal advice for opposing it. 
Koh C-u Pinn Picture
Koh C-u Pinn is a director at Arielle Law Corporation, a boutique law firm that provides individualized services tailored specifically to your needs. 

Simply email us at ask@ariellelaw.com, or give us a call at (+65) 6268-8963 to chat with us about your needs. We are always happy to discuss what works best for you, whether over email, the phone, or a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
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