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Angry Birds maker Rovio loses trademark dispute against Angry Bite snack-maker

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore rules in favour of Kimanis Food Industries, which had applied to protect its Angry Bite trademark in Singapore in 2012.

SINGAPORE: The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has ruled that a Malaysian snack maker will be allowed to continue using its "Angry Bite" branding, as there is "no similarity" to the Angry Birds trademark.

Rovio Entertainment, the maker of the popular game, had opposed Kimanis Food Industries' application to protect its Angry Bite trademark, claiming that it was too similar to the Angry Birds characters and branding. The Finnish company added that its earlier trademarks are well known in Singapore and the public at large.

To these claims, IPOS' case summary said there is "no visual or conceptual similarity" between Angry Bite and Rovio's trade marks. "Any aural similarity is traded off against dissimilarities such that on the whole, the marks are more dissimilar than similar," according to the case summary filed last week.

The Registrar of the case said Rovio could not establish a reasonable likelihood of confusion, even if the respective trademarks could be said to be similar.

"This was partly because the goods in common, which are mainly snack foods, are self-serve items, which the purchasing public will have the opportunity to select at close proximity and there is no need to articulate the marks and have the goods handed to them by sales assistants. Thus, the visual and conceptual aspects of the Application Mark and the Opponents' Earlier Marks are more dominant than the aural aspects in the marketplace," it stated.

"Importantly, these are food products such that the purchasing public will exercise more care for safety reasons, since they are items which will be ingested."

As for the issue of copyright infringement, the Registrar said the issue "has not been made out" as Rovio had not made any submissions, nor was there any evidence tendered to the element of originality required under Section 27(2) of the Copyright Act.

Kimanis had first applied to protect its trademark on April 5, 2012, with Rovio filing its notice of opposition on Sep 6 that year.

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