Dueling Polo Player Logos: Polo Ralph Lauren Appeal Dismissed in Singapore

  • Trademark Clearance
Dueling Polo Player Logos: Polo Ralph Lauren Appeal Dismissed in Singapore

Polo Ralph Lauren’s appeal in Singapore to block the United States Polo Association’s (USPA) black-and-white trademark of two polo players has been dismissed by the High Court, opening the way for the registration of the USPA trademark for use on eyewear.

Polo Ralph Lauren’s trademark, which features a single polo player, was first registered in Singapore in 1996. The USPA registered its double-player mark for eyewear in 2012, with Polo Ralph Lauren filing a notice of opposition in 2013, claiming that its logo had “acquired technical distinctiveness” over the years. The USPA countered that the Ralph Lauren polo player logo was not distinctive, citing others in the eyewear category that are similar, including those of Beverly Hills Polo Club, the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, and the World Polo Championship. Last year, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) found no likelihood of confusion.

Take a look for yourself at the logos, as depicted in IPOS documents:

Polo Ralph Lauren appealed the IPOS decision, but the Singaporean court upheld the earlier “low degree of similarity” and dismissed the company’s appeal.

Polo has been fighting a similar battle with the USPA in U.S. courts since 1984. A 2006 jury trial ruled that the USPA logo could be used on apparel, leather goods, and watches. But in 2009, an injunction barred the USPA from using the logo on fragrances. Then in May 2015, a U.S. court found that the USPA logo was “non-infringing in some markets,” vacating a contempt order over its use on sunglasses, which Polo had claimed violated the 2009 injunction.

Stay tuned …