Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MYCHEW not similar to HI-CHEW

Vicki represented a Korean company, Crown Confectionery Co., Ltd. in their application to register the mark MYCHEW in relation to inter alia “chewing candy” in Class 30, and succeeded in resisting an opposition on all grounds canvassed by Japanese competitors Morinaga Ltd. based on their series of marks consisting of the word HI-CHEW. The marks are reproduced below :-

The crux of parties’ arguments revolved around comparison of the marks. In applying the established principles that marks must be compared as wholes, and that visual, aural and conceptual aspects must be considered, the Registrar found that the marks were overall not similar :-
  1. MYCHEW is not visually similar to HI-CHEW. The presence of the hyphen in HI-CHEW, the different beginnings in both marks (MY and HI-), the slant in MYCHEW all contributed to the "sea of visual differences" that virtually drowned out the common ending (CHEW) in the marks.
  2. MYCHEW is marginally similar to HI-CHEW aurally. The Registrar veered away from the oft-cited “first syllable” principle, and instead considered where the natural stress falls in both marks. She also found that the vowel sounds and vowel order in the marks (AI-EW) were strikingly similar.
  3. MYCHEW is not conceptually similar to HI-CHEW. The Registrar first identified the distinctive portion of the marks. Given that “chewing candy” was claimed by both marks, the Registrar found that the word “CHEW” was not likely to be taken as a distinctive feature. It was therefore the words “MY” and “HI” that consumers would pay attention to. As these simple English words had different meanings discernable to the general Singapore public, different conceptual impressions would be formed between MYCHEW and HI-CHEW.

Citation :
Crown Confectionery Co Ltd v Morinaga & Co Ltd [2008] SGIPOS 12

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