SINGAPORE: DELAY DEFEATS LITERAL APPROACH OF STATUTORY RULES

August 19th, 2014

 

In the case of V Hotel Pte. Ltd. v Jelco Properties Pte. Ltd., Intellectual Property of Singapore (IPOS) after having all grounds of opposition examined followed by a proceeding of jurisdiction consequently held in favor of Jelco Properties Pte Ltd.

On 5 August 2010, V Hotel Pte. Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as ‘‘the Applicant’’) applied to register a trade mark for ‘‘V Hotel’’ in Class 43 (hereinafter referred to ‘‘the Applicant’s Mark). The Applicant’s Mark was published on 1 July 2011.

Subsequently, Jelco Properties Pte. Ltd. (hereinafter referred to ‘‘the Opponent’’) filed a Notice of Opposition with regards to the Applicant’s Mark on 1 November 2011. Since both parties refused to compromise, they were given fast track timelines. The Opponent was initially given six months from 2 April 2013 to file supporting evidence. However, the maximum timeline had been adjusted to one year and on 2 April 2013, the Opponent filed its supporting evidence. Consequently, the Applicant was given six months from 2 April 2013 to file their evidence.

On the facts, the Applicant had missed the deadline for filing their evidence which is due on 2 October 2013. The Applicant’s Mark was then declared by IPOS as withdrawn on 16 October 2013 in accordance to Rule 33(3) of the Trade Mark Rules.

The Applicant had filed a request for an extension of time to file their evidence. The Applicant’s request is based on Rule 83 of the Trade Mark Rules which allow extension of time in the best interest of parties.

On 29 October 2013, the Opponent then filed an objection to the Applicant’s request on grounds of failure to submit request for extension of time before the due date which was 2 October 2013 and that the Applicant’s Mark had been withdrawn.

The Applicant had then filed a request for an interlocutory hearing with IPOS.

During the proceedings, IPOS held that the Applicant could not rely upon his own default towards the prejudice which aggregated to the detriment of his arguments although the delay was due to docketing error. Besides, the Applicant failed to establish sufficient valid reasons or exceptional circumstances which could justify IPOS’s exercise of discretion under Rule 83 of the Trade Mark Rules, compatible with the arguments of the Opponent which involved consideration of public interest in procedural rules, to provide certainty to the trade mark proprietors and to ensure the interest of justice between parties was attained during adjudication.

As a result of the aforesaid reasoning, IPOS refused the application to restore the Applicant’s Mark and request for an extension of time to file their statutory declaration.