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IPOS rejects Google opposition to registration of “confusingly similar” mark in Singapore

23 February 2024

IPOS rejects Google opposition to registration of “confusingly similar” mark in Singapore

Photo: Green Radar, Google

Tech giant Google recently failed to prevent the registration of the mark grMail by Green Radar after the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) rejected its opposition.

Green Radar, an IT security firm, applied to register grMail under Trade Mark No. 40202109944T in Classes 42 and 45 on April 29, 2021. Classes 42 and 45 cover “Electronic monitoring services being IT security services in the nature of protection and recovery of computer data” and “Security services for the protection of property and individuals,” respectively.

Google, which owns the trademark registration for Gmail in several listed countries, opposed the registration on November 9, 2021, on several grounds. Among these were confusing similarity, anti-dilution and unfair advantage.

According to the Supreme Court of Singapore Senior Assistant Registrar and IP Adjudicator Cheng Pei Feng, Google’s opposition fails on all grounds.

On the ground of confusing similarity, the legal decision, which was published by IPOS on February 16, 2024, concluded that grMail and Gmail were only moderately similar. To the average consumer, there are also differences between the two marks, which sufficiently distinguish one from the other, according to the decision. 

IPOS added that Google and Green Radar’s respective services were also not similar.

Regarding the ground of dilution, Cheng found that Gmail was sufficiently well known to the public at large. However, any mental link between grMail and Gmail would not lead to any real and serious likelihood of damage to the distinctive character of Gmail.

As to the ground of unfair advantage, Cheng said there was no evidence that Green Radar would gain any unfair advantage through its use of the mark grMail. Green Radar’s application for trademark registration will then proceed, with Google ordered to pay US$12,000 to Green Radar.

- Espie Angelica A. de Leon

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