Catfight over pet product brand name dismissed

Trademark registrar Sandy Widjaja dismissed Pets Global's claims because its Fussie Cat mark (top), and B2K Pet Products' Kit Cat mark are more dissimilar than similar.
Trademark registrar Sandy Widjaja dismissed Pets Global's claims because its Fussie Cat mark (above), and B2K Pet Products' Kit Cat mark are more dissimilar than similar.PHOTO: FUSSIE CAT, KIT CAT
Trademark registrar Sandy Widjaja dismissed Pets Global's claims because its Fussie Cat mark (top), and B2K Pet Products' Kit Cat mark are more dissimilar than similar.
Trademark registrar Sandy Widjaja dismissed Pets Global's claims because its Fussie Cat mark, and B2K Pet Products' Kit Cat (above) mark are more dissimilar than similar.PHOTO: FUSSIE CAT, KIT CAT

Fussie Cat, Kit Cat brands different enough not to cause confusion: Trademark registrar

There is no reason for pet products maker Fussie Cat to bring out its claws over a rival company's use of the name Kit Cat, as the two are different enough not to confuse consumers.

Trademark registrar Sandy Widjaja dismissed Pets Global's claim and ruled that Kit Cat looked and sounded different enough that it can be used.

B2K Pet Products, billed in its evidence as Singapore's largest pet products supplier with global marketing and sales capabilities, had applied to register the trademark Kit Cat for its cat litter product.

Singapore-incorporated Pets Global, a maker of pet products, which also sells cat food and cat litter, had opposed the registration, based on its own registered Fussie Cat mark.

Its lawyers Zechariah Chan and Jeremiah Chew argued that both marks were similar in bearing the word "cat" in a white stylised font, both used the word "Premium" in gold font at the top of the marks, and both used contrasting white text on a black background.

But Ms Widjaja said there was an "important, although subtle distinction" between the marks as registered,which is that Fussie Cat is depicted as though written on a board that is hanging from a nail.

Lawyers Denise Loh and Jonathan Liang, acting for B2K Pet Products, said the words Fussie Cat and Kit Cat were the dominant and distinctive components of the marks.

"I agree," wrote Ms Widjaja, in judgment grounds released last month. "I think it is more likely than not that a consumer will look at Kit Cat and think that it is an allusive reference to the chocolate brand Kit Kat."

She said this was " particularly so" when the slogan at the bottom of the mark said " Love your cat. Love with Kit Cat", which seemed to "vaguely resemble the chocolate brand's slogan, which is: "Have a break, have a Kit Kat."

But she added that the significance of the vague allusion ended there and was raised because Fussie Cat had argued Kit Cat was trying to misrepresent another entity with such an allusion.

By contrast, the name Fussie Cat played on the idea of a choosy animal or connoted a cat named Fussie.

"In the light of the reminder that the average consumer is one who would exercise some care and a measure of good sense in making his or her purchases, and is not an unthinking person in a hurry, I am of the view that the marks are visually dissimilar, aurally similar to a very low extent, and conceptually dissimilar such that overall, the marks are more dissimilar than similar."

She allowed the Kit Cat mark to proceed with registration.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'Catfight over pet product brand name dismissed'. Print Edition | Subscribe