Brand owners usually take steps to avoid potential conflicts from other similar trademarks and also try to devise marks which are not descriptive in nature. While this is an important pre-filing consideration, there are certain other potential uncommon objections that brand owners should take into consideration before filing their trademark in Singapore. Some of these include:
1. National emblems of Paris Convention Countries
A trademark which consists of the flag, armorial bearings, other state emblem, official sign, hallmark or anything that resembles them cannot be registered as a trademark except with the authorisation of the competent authority.
Flags of Convention countries are automatically protected as opposed to other emblems which only receive protection upon notification to Singapore.
2. Emblems of International Organisations
Similarly, a trademark which contains or resembles flag, armorial bearings, other emblems or abbreviations and names of International intergovernmental organisations cannot be trademarked without authorisation.
1 and 2 above also extend to emblems protected by the TRIPS agreement.
3. Representation of President
Any trademark containing any representation of the President or any colourable imitation thereof must be refused by the Registrar. This objection is absolute and the Registrar does not have any discretionary powers on the same.
4. Singapore Crest, Presidential Coat of Arms, Royal Arms, etc
The Registrar must refuse any application which contains the below or resembles it in a manner likely to cause confusion to the public unless consent has been obtained by the relevant authority
- any representation of the Crest of the Republic of Singapore, the Presidential Coat of Arms, the Royal or Imperial Arms, or of any crest, armorial bearing, insignia, or device
- any representation of the Royal or Imperial crown, or of the Singapore flag, or of the Royal or Imperial flag;
- the words “Royal”, “Imperial”, “Presidential”, or “Singapore Government”,
- the words “Red Cross” or “Geneva Cross” or any representations thereof.
- the word “ANZAC” (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps)
5. Persons living or recently dead
Trademarks containing the name of persons require a Letter of Consent from them or their legal representative unless the trademark applicant proves that it is impracticable or impossible to do so.
6. Signs protected under other Singapore National legislations such as Singapore Arms and Flags and National Anthem Rules and Singapore Tourism Board Act such as the Merlion or the Singapore Tourism Board’s symbols.
7. Marks containing / resembling International Non-proprietary Name (INN) globally recognized names of pharmaceutical products are also not acceptable. All class 5 applications are searched against the INN list.
In light of the foregoing, pre-filing advice and searches are strongly recommended before initiating trademark filing program to ensure a smooth prosecution and registration process.