Monday, October 18, 2010

The name of your website has been trademarked by the big boys!

Recently Apple has been awarded the trademark for "There's an app for that." Which means that moving forward, Android have to use other taglines when promoting their applications like "This one also got app."

Back home, big investment firm Temasek Holdings has advised little website Temasek Review to change their website name. While the website adopted the name in July last year, Temasek Holdings have registered Temasek Review as a trademark for their annual performance report started since 2004, but only last November.

Some might be quick to think that it is reasonable for Temasek Review to change their website name since Temasek Holdings has been awarded trademark. But hang on. The website was established in July, but the trademark was only registered in November. Can someone trademark something that someone else has already been using it? Which means that if I decided to start up a Hainanese Chicken Rice stall and I were to register "Hainanese Chicken Rice" as my stall's trademark, all the other Hainanese Chicken Rice stalls in Singapore have to rename their dishes to something else like "Cantonese Chicken Rice"? How cool is that!

But why is Temasek Holdings registering a trademark that is used only for their annual performance report which is read only by their investors and themselves? Because they own the word "Temasek"? But the word "Temasek" simply refers to the ancient Singapore, so it has the same meaning as... Singapore! So I don't suppose they can actually own "Temasek" right?

We are from a country which renames Marina Bay as Marina Bay and a budget terminal as Budget Terminal. That's why our petrol company is named Singapore Petroleum Company, our shopping center is named Plaza Singapura and we have a Singapore Polytechnic and a Temasek Polytechnic. With our country names so widely and loosely used, does it even makes sense to let one company owns it?

And if Temasek Holdings has managed to get the editors of Temasek Review website to change their site name, are they going to trademark "Temasek" totally so that no other website can ever be remotely briefly associated with them? If yes, then we've got a problem.

Temasek Polytechnic will need to be renamed to That Third One After SP And NP Polytechnic. Temasek Secondary School will be Upper East Coast Road Secondary School. Temasek Club will be SAF Officers Only Club, and Temasek Tower might have to be renamed as Opposite MAS Tower.

My guess is that little Temasek Review will give in to the big Temasek Holdings and rename themselves and re-register another domain. Maybe And I don't think that will affect their readership much. Like the loyal customers to a good Hainanese Chicken Rice stall, no matter how the stall has shifted and renamed, they'll be lost and found and their customers will follow.

Meanwhile, I'm more worried about receiving a letter from NEA that I can't name my blog "Today's Mostly Cloudy" anymore because they've registered "Today is Mostly Cloudy" for their weather forecast report.


chillycraps said...

next time when I walk on Temasek Boulevard, I must be watchful in case someone catch me for trespassing.

Unknown said...

Hmm... then they better change the street name to "Singapore Boulevard" or "Singapura Boulevard" or "Lioncity Boulevard" to play safe. :P

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