Singapore refuses protection for Ferrero Rocher shape and packaging

Given the season,  chocolate is on IP Komodo's mind. Its also on the mind of the the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). Ferrero, the chocolate company, had applied to register its product image as a trademarks (left - without wording). It was refused by IPOS for lack of distinctiveness.  The mark did not function as a trademark to indicate origin said IPOS. 

Consumers need logos and words to identify producers usually. Only in exceptional circumstances will shape and packaging become recognized without any.  Under Singapore caselaw distinctive character as an indication of origin is conveyed by the appearance of the mark in itself. There had certainly been extensive sales and marketing in Singapore for the products, almost always with the brand wording. A simple survey failed to show consumers independently recognized the product without the wording. 

It seems a narrow approach, given how recognizable the product above is. A better survey design that didn't draw consumers' minds to the question, might have shown clearer results. In the past children have been known to identity cookies and cereals on shop shelves, long before they can read. Maybe better evidence on appeal might work. 

Meanwhile IP Komodo has his own chocolate collection definitely distinguishable from other products, ready for the holidays!