Cartier’s lawsuit denying MoneyMax from using ‘LOVE’ rejected in SG courts

Cartier’s lawsuit denying jewellery pawning shop MoneyMax from using the “LOVE” trademark has been rejected by the court. MoneyMax will be allowed to register its Love Gold trademark for its jewellery line.

This follows the long standing lawsuit as Cartier tried to prevent MoneyMax from registering a trade mark which includes the word “LOVE” for use on jewellery. On 19 January 2017, MoneyMax applied to register the Application Mark for jewellery in Class 14 and retail and other services relating to jewellery in Class 35. The Application Mark comprises the word “LOVE” positioned above the word “GOLD”, and the Chinese characters, 珍金, enclosed within a rectangular device.

The application mark was published for opposition purposes on 31 March 2017. However, Cartier filed a Notice of Opposition on 28 July 2017, among other things, relying on its prior registration for jewellery (among other things) in class 14 in support of the opposition.

Cartier, part of the Richemont Group, has a wide range of jewellery collections, including its “Love” collection. The brand has a prior registration for for jewellery (among other things) in class 14. The letter “O” in the word “LOVE” is replaced with the device of a slotted screw head and, unlike the other letters, the letter “E” is in lower case (“e”).

In the court document seen by Marketing, MoneyMax had pointed out that Cartier had failed in its attempt to register the word “LOVE” in plain block letters for the same goods in class 14. The document also said that the latter brand confirmed that it is not claiming any rights to the word “LOVE” simpliciter.

This concession was properly made as the evidence shows that “LOVE” simpliciter has never been used on any of Cartier’s jewellery pieces. Instead, it is mainly the screwhead device which appears on the jewellery, namely bracelets, rings, earrings and necklaces/pendants. Even on advertisements and catalogues, only the stylised mark (as opposed to the word “LOVE” simpliciter) appears.

The judge stated that Cartier’s approach was “clearly misguided” when assessing distinctiveness, a mark should be considered as a whole and not broken up into its component parts. He explained that Cartier attempted to rationalise that the Application Mark is not distinctive and/or is descriptive as the Chinese words 珍金 should be ignored as they are of secondary significance compared to the English words “LOVE GOLD”. The judge also added that the word “GOLD” is similarly not distinctive and is descriptive of jewellery and that the combination of the words “LOVE” and “GOLD” “only adds to the descriptiveness of the goods and services”.

The judge concluded that the Application Mark is not distinctive and is descriptive of jewellery. Apart from MoneyMax and Cartier, several other traders have also registered a mark incorporating the word “LOVE” for jewellery. These include “LOVE & LOVE”, “Love Bridge”, “PERFECT LOVE” and many more.

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