Cartier fought for “love” in Singapore and lost. The French jeweler, which attempted to stop MoneyMax from using the word in a trademark registration, has been slapped with a ruling from the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) that “love” is not exclusive for their use.
Love is meant to be shared. You cannot buy love and you cannot stop people from using it.”
The case, which went on for more than a year, began in 2017. At the time, the pawnshop MoneyMax tried to register the slogan “Love Gold” with the IPOS for the company’s services that are related to jewelry. Operating in both Malaysia and Singapore, the pawnshop will supposedly use the slogan for their marketing and advertising as well. However, Cartier swooped in and tried to prevent that from happening—the French company filed a counterclaim, which states that the term is similar to Cartier’s trademarked “Love”. The jeweler uses it for its highly popular Love collection.
The company is referring, of course, to its Love bracelets, which remains a bestseller decades after they were first introduced. Designed in 1969 by Aldo Cipullo, the accessory is distinct because it is connected by screws that are custom-made by the jeweler, as in, it can only be secured and removed with a special Cartier screwdriver. The famous bracelet’s design is trademarked by the company and so is the “Love” branding, which is characterized by a screw-like letter ‘O’ and a letter ‘E’ in lowercase, since 1977.
The IPOS, however, does not see this as enough grounds for them to halt MoneyMax’s trademark registration. Mark Lim Fung Chian, the IPOS hearing officer for the case, questioned if any entity could even have a monopoly over the word and if any trader could hold the power to prevent others from using the word especially when it comes to jewelry. He also referred to a previous case to support the decision. In the Love & Co. The Carat Club case, the word “love” is deemed to be too common for one trader to have control over it. The same applies to Cartier’s opposition of MoneyMax’s “Love Gold”.
The IPOS also has one more point against Cartier, as the trademark the latter holds is only for the unique way the word “love” appears on the collection. The “Love Gold” proposed by MoneyMax, which will have two Chinese characters beside the words, bears no similarity in appearance to Cartier’s iteration. While the French brand argued that the term is not too unique for the registration to push through, IPOS countered that the look of the slogan with the Chinese characters is.
Even though the centuries-old jeweler suffered a loss, it is highly unlikely to affect the fame of the Love bracelets, which cost anywhere between $5,000 to $60,000. Of course there have been dips along the way, but it seems that the accessory is regaining some of its popularity recently. The iconic bracelet has been worn by celebrities and celebrity love birds belonging to different generations through the years. Among its famous wearers are Sophia Loren and husband Carlo Ponti, and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Cartier has yet to comment regarding the ruling.
Image credits: Forbes, Paris Capitale, MoneyMax, Cartier