Lacoste allowed to use L.12.12 as trademark

Lacoste, the French polo-shirt maker was permitted to register “L.12.12” as a trademark in Singapore, in spite of objections from fashion and lifestyle boutique Carolina Herrera which is based in New York.

Herrera had earlier asserted that the mark would be similar to one its perfume-related products, such as 212 On Ice, 212 VIP and 212 Sexy; however, Assistant Registrar of Trade Marks Diyanah Baharudin of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos) observed no “visual, aural or conceptual similarity between 212 and L.12.12″. Her verdict, which was passed on Tuesday last detected “insufficient evidence to show that the consumers in Singapore identify the (Herrera’s) 212 marks or their ‘212’ signs as a family or series of marks”. Lacoste had launched the perfume with the name L.12.12, similar to the name its polo shirts in 2010.

Herrera argued that it has several pending and registered trademarks with the 212 numerals in different countries and defended that the numbers in the Lacoste marks are in a way “common and dominant” element in its own trademark. Its lawyer Angeline Raj said that the number 212 is unique for her client’s perfume items and that Herrera is the only proprietor of the 212 trademarks in all the three classes of goods desired by Lacoste.

The lawyer appearing for Lacoste Sue-Ann Li argued that Herrera had not registered the numerals 212 trademark by itself, but combined with other words such as “SEXY” and “Carolina Herrera”, and therefore it should not have the monopoly over the numerals. She also argued that Herrera had registered the numerals 212 in Britain and US, and not in Singapore.

Ms Diyanah observed that there was little evidence to suggest that the customers in Singapore recognize 212 to be associated with Herrera. She also said that the two marks sounded different from each other. Ms Diyanah ruled that as two marks were found to be not similar, there would not be any possible confusion between the two.

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