Singapore Trade Mark FAQ

Singapore Trade Mark FAQ

Singapore Trade Mark FAQ on issues relating to Trademark registration in Singapore and NICE Classifications by Singapore Trade Mark Agent of Loh Eben Ong LLP. Singapore Trade Mark FAQ. Singapore Trade Mark FAQ. Singapore Trade Mark FAQ. Singapore Trade Mark FAQ.

General (7)

Under the Trade Mark Act, a trade mark will be refused registration if:

  • It is not a sign that can be represented graphically
  • It consists exclusively of a shape which results from the nature of the goods, or which is necessary to obtain a technical result, or which gives substantial value to the goods
  • It is deceptive
  • It is contrary contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality
  • It is a specially protected emblem
  • The application is being made in bad faith
  • The use of the mark is prohibited by a rule of law

Additionally, it will be refused if any of the following criteria applies, and it has not acquired distinctiveness through use in the marketplace:

  • It is devoid of distinctive character
  • It consists exclusively of signs or indications which may designate the kind, quality, quantity […] or other characteristics of the goods or services
  • It consists exclusively of signs or indications which have become customary in the current language or in trade practices.
Categories: General, Trade Mark

Corporate takeover battles often centre on the value of the brands at stake and so highlight their commercial value. Brands can even account for a majority of a company’s assets.

Some of the top global brands today include:

  • IBM
  • GE

In Singapore, we have top brands like Singapore Airlines, DBS, UOB, and OCBC.

Good branding will differential from its competitors in terms of:

  • brand loyalty
  • quality
  • ingenuity
  • design
  • novelty
  • luxury
Categories: General, Trade Mark

Under the Trade Mark Act, any sign which can be represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of another is prima facie registrable as a trade mark, subject to the “absolute” and “relative” grounds for refusal.

A mark may consist of:

  • Words (for example, KODAK for cameras or MERCEDES for cars)
  • Slogans (for example, JUST DO IT for Nike sportswear)
  • Designs (for example, a harp for Guinness stout)
  • Letters (for example, DBS in respect of banking services)
  • Numerals (for example, 501 jeans)
  • Internet domain names (for example,
  • The shape of goods or their packaging (for example, the shape of a Coca Cola bottle)
  • Smells
  • Sounds (for example, the Intel four-note musical jingle)
  • Colours (for example, Heinz’s registration of the colour turquoise for use on tins of baked beans)
  • Gestures
  • Moving digital images (for example, the Intel “leap ahead” animated logo).
Categories: General, Trade Mark

It is not a pre-condition for filing an application that the mark is actually in use, or even that it has been used in the course of trade prior to the application.

If the mark has not been in used before, the applicant must have a bona fide intention to use it and the application form must contain a statement by the applicant that the mark is either in use or there is a genuine intention to use it.

Therefore, you may wish to register the mark before your product or service is launched.

Categories: General, Trade Mark

If a mark is unregistered, the owner has to look to the common law for protection and must rely on a passing off action to prevent infringement of his mark.

Passing off actions are notoriously time-consuming and expensive. To succeed in such an action, the proprietor must produce evidence of his ownership of goodwill or reputation in the mark, and evidence that the unauthorised use of his mark amounts to a misrepresentation which is causing, or is likely to cause, damage.

Categories: General, Trade Mark

Registration of trade marks is voluntary but advisable.

A registered trade mark confers on the proprietor the statutory right to the exclusive use of the mark in connection with the goods or services for which it is registered.

Registration therefore gives the proprietor the right to sue for trade mark infringement any person who uses an identical or similar mark in the course of trade in connection with identical or similar goods without authorisation.

Some of the benefits of trade mark reqistration are:

  • a valuable commercial asset
  • commercially exploitable
  • relatively easy to protect and enforce
  • a deterrent to infringers
  • renewable indefinitely

Registration grants an exclusive statutory right to use the mark in relation to the goods or services listed in it.

Categories: General, Trade Mark

The words “trade mark” and “brand” are often used interchangeably. Both refer to signs which are used by traders to differentiate their goods from those of other traders.

There are many famous brands which have extremely high commercial values, which can range up to billions ouf US$. Some of the famous and top brands are:-

  • IBM

Today, brands or trade marks may be more sophisticated in design and expression. Brands communicate information about the product, or service, to which they are applied and the basic message remains, “I made this”.

A brand provides the consumer not only with reassurance about the origin of the product but also about other features such as quality, luxury or economy.

Categories: General, Trade Mark

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Classes (3)

Having identify the Class in which your good or services fall under, you will have to identify the specific goods or services that you wish to protect.

Example: you have a mark XYZ for clothing, and you manufacture products such as clothing, coats, dresses and footwear.

Having identified that your products fall under Class 25, you now revisit WIPO website and pick out the items within Class 25 which items you wish to product for your application of trade mark. Copy and paste those items relevant to you or write them down, and forward that list to your trade mark agent.

Suggested Steps

  1. Go to Nice Classification at
  2. Click on the Class No. (eg. 25), and select the Goods or Services that are most relevant to you for registration of your mark.

Nice Classification Trade Mark

Categories: Classes, Trade Mark

Goods and services are divided into 45 classes, each class covering a different category of goods or services. Classes 1 to 34 relate to goods, and Classes 35 to 45 relate to services.

Suggested Steps

  1. Go to Nice Classification at
  2. Identify which Class your Goods or Services fall under.
    For example, if you are a clothing manufacturer, and has a mark “XZY” for your brand of clothing, coats, dresses, then use may use the “Alphabetical List” or Search function to identify the Class.
  3. Click on the Class No. (eg. 25), and select the Goods or Services that are most relevant to you for registration of your mark.

Trade Mark Class Loh Eben Ong

Categories: Classes, Trade Mark

In Singapore, a trade mark application for registration has to be accompanied by a list of the goods and/or services on which the mark is intended to be used. The goods and services must be classified in accordance with an internationally agreed classification system used by more than 150 countries, known as the International Classification of Goods and Services (ICGS) or the Nice Classification (“NICE”).

No. of Classes within NICE

Goods and services are divided into 45 classes, each class covering a different category of Goods or Services. Classes 1 to 34 relate to Goods (eg. clothing), and Classes 35 to 45 relate to Services (eg. “Legal Services”).

In total, the Nice Classification contains around 10,000 indications of goods and 1,000 indications of services.

Structure of the Nice Classification

Each class of the Nice Classification contains:

  1. Class Heading: The class headings describe in very broad terms the nature of the goods or services contained in each class.
  2. Explanatory Note: The explanatory note of a given class describes in greater detail the types of goods or services included in that class.
  3. Alphabetical List: The most detailed level of the Classification is the alphabetical list which shows the individual goods or services appropriate to a class.

In identify the Class that your goods or services fall under, you may use the Alphabetical List to ascertain the exact classification of each individual good or service.

Categories: Classes, Trade Mark

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Singapore Trade Mark FAQ

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