St. Regis loses Singapore tussle over brand name

SINGAPORE - A Singapore court has upheld the right of an Australian-owned hotel to use the Park Regis brand in the city state, throwing out a ban sought by the St. Regis chain, court documents showed on Tuesday.

St. Regis, a luxury brand under the US-based Starwood group of hotels and resorts, had applied to Singapore's Registrar of Trade Marks to stop Park Regis from getting its trademark in the city.

But the Park Regis's owner, the StayWell Hospitality Group of Australia, took the case to the High Court, which ruled on Monday that there was little chance that consumers would confuse one brand with the other.

"The 'Park Regis' mark, although similar to the 'St. Regis' mark, is not likely to be confused with the 'St. Regis' brand, particularly when taking into account the likely customers of both," judge Judith Prakash said in a written judgment.

"There is also no likelihood of damage to the 'St. Regis' brand from the use of the 'Park Regis' mark and brand."

St. Regis, located in the upscale Orchard Road area, styles itself as a six-star hotel while Park Regis is a four-star establishment located close to the Chinatown district.

And while the St. Regis has room rates ranging from S$440 to S$3,000 ($360 to $2,455) a night, the Park Regis offers rooms for as little as S$179 a night, according to their respective websites.

Besides Singapore, Park Regis has properties in Dubai and several Australian cities.

The lawyer acting for St Regis declined to comment Tuesday on whether the US hotel chain would appeal the decision.

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