Business Law & Compliance

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Big brands that lost trademark fights to crafty – and smaller – overseas rivals

2 Mins

(1) Rovio Entertainment

In August 2014, the maker of popular game Angry Birds opposed Malaysian-based Kimanis Food Industries’ application to protect its Angry Bite trademark, claiming it was too similar to the Angry Birds characters and branding.

Rovio added that its earlier trademarks were well known in Singapore, as well as the public at large, and so there was a likelihood of confusion if Angry Bite managed to file a trademark. It also maintained it had several licensees which produced snack food for the brand – the industry that Angry Bite was flourishing in under a similar name.

However, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore ruled the “opposition failed on all grounds” to stop the application of Angry Bite. It seems there was “no similarity between the opponents’ earlier mark and the application mark”, which was filed in 2012. This gave Angry Bite leeway to continue registering.

Furthermore, the registrar of the case, Sandy Widjaja, suggested “being ‘inspired’ is simply the starting point. Not everything inspired by an existing work is necessarily objectionable.”

It was also mentioned that Rovio could not establish a reasonable likelihood of confusion, even if the respective trademarks could be said to be similar.

Angry Birds game maker Rovio is slingshoting into the movie business

“This was partly because the goods in common, which are mainly snack foods, are self-serve items, which the purchasing public will have the opportunity to select at close proximity and there is no need to articulate the marks and have the goods handed to them by sales assistants,” explained Widjaja. “Thus, the visual and conceptual aspects of the application mark and the opponents’ earlier marks are more dominant than the aural aspects in the marketplace.”

Read on to find out about one of Apple’s numerous patent battles.

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