The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has issued an unfavorable opposition decision regarding Starbucks to a trademark application from a Japanese manufacturer of dairy products.
The case dates back to 2013, when a Japanese Dairy manufacturer filed a trademark application in classes 29 and 30 relating to coffee and milk products. In 2016, Starbucks filed an opposition against this trademark with the reason that the trademark was identical to Starbucks logo and the co-existance of the two trademarks is likely to mislead the relevant public.
The ruling referred to the concentric circles as "a very simple device which is reduced to being part of the background and cannot on any count be considered to be a dominant feature." It went on to address the use of words related to Washington state: "Even if Mt. Rainier is an iconic symbol of Seattle, the evidence does not establish that the average Singaporean (or even an average Singapore coffee drinker) would make this link or connection with Mt. Rainier." According to IP adjudicator Lorraine Tay, the lack of similarity means that one of the critical elements necessary for a confusing connection to be established is lacking; and if there is no confusing connection between the two trademarks, there cannot logically be deemed a likelihood of damage.”