adidas' bid to stop manufacturer from registering trademark locally gets rejected

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has rejected a suit from adidas to stop Taiwan-based Lutong Enterprise Corp from registering its trademark in Singapore. This followed after adidas claimed its logo and Lutong’s bore “confusing similarity” in relation to clothing, footwear and headgear.

Lutong’s logo features a circle and three downward pointing stripes in a triangular shape, to convey a person crouching and poised to make a leap. Meanwhile, adidas’ mark which features three upward moving stripes, conveys the idea of a mountain – inspired by the three stripes which appear on the sides of adidas footwear. However, Lutong’s logo was designed around 1981 to 1982, while adidas’ was designed in 1990.

According to IPOS, a large part of adidas’ argument focused on its point that both marks are essentially triangles formed by three sloping stripes. The brand also claimed that the inversion of the triangle and the circle in Lutong’s logo also did not matter as the average consumer would “still think the marks are similar”.

It added that its customers are the general public with no specialist knowledge, including schoolchildren, and inversion was argued to be the fashion trend in recent times. As such, adidas believes there was “a reasonable likelihood of confusion between the two marks”.

That being said, the principal assistant registrar thought otherwise, and felt the presence of the circle in Lutong’s logo was significant in impact in the overall impression of Lutong’s logo. It may also see the consumer perceiving Lutong’s logo as a shuttlecock, which is dissimilar to adidas’ logo.

“A triangle whose right angle points upwards may give the visual impression of a mountain, or at least of something grounded. A triangle whose right angle points downwards gives a significantly different visual impression, that of something en pointe, perched or being balanced,” the statement added.

As such, the authority found the two marks more dissimilar than similar and grounds of opposition by adidas has therefore failed and Lutong is now able to register the trademark in Singapore.

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