Earlier this week, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has rejected the Alumni club, Harvard Club of Singapore arguments to stop Harvard University from registering two trademarks, ‘Harvard Club of Singapore’ and ‘Harvard University Club of Singapore’ in Singapore.
The alumni club argued that both marks were applied for in bad faith, adding that the goodwill of Harvard Club of Singapore would be damaged if the marks were approved by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).
Following the argument, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) discovered that there was a licensor-licensee relationship between both parties. The Harvard Club of Singapore was previously recognized by the university as the official Harvard club in Singapore but the relationship with the club was terminated in 2015 and her status revoked as a recognized Harvard alumni club.
In the decision, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) reportedly said that due to the fact that a relationship once existed between both parties and Harvard University was the licensor and the default owner of the goodwill attached to the alumni club’s name.
IPOS reportedly said that the university has the right to file for registration of the trademarks.
IPOS reportedly added that the club had previously sought the university’s support in enforcing the ‘Harvard’ trademarks against an unauthorized alumni body. This evidently shows that the club is not an independent right holder in respect of ‘Harvard’ or ‘Harvard Club of Singapore’.
The IPOS ordered the club to pay the university costs of $9,000 (US$6,600).