By Sia Xinyu
Fighting it out in black and white
What happens when two reportedly similar trademarks surface in an up-and-coming competitive industry? They fight it out, but instead of out in the wild as real pandas do, the dispute between HungryPanda and FoodPanda will play out in the courts instead.
When HungryPanda filed an application for its signature panda logo trademark on 13 August 2020, their plans to expand into the Singapore and Southeast Asia markets were stalled by FoodPanda’s quick opposition. As businesses, much less two competing in the same industry of Big Tech food delivery services that rely heavily on visual marketing (think the ubiquitous green of Grab and blue of Deliveroo), it is no wonder that neither party is willing to give up the symbol that has defined their company for years.
Bamboo-zled by Trademark Applications
Despite both companies being set up in 2016, FoodPanda has the upper hand with its filing of a trademark application for their logo back in April 2018.  In its opposition, FoodPanda argued that the term “panda” in both companies’ names and the panda visual were conceptually similar. They also claim that HungryPanda used similar marks on both its website and mobile app, as well as advertisements launched on Facebook and Instagram. In total, FoodPanda is claiming an order for the removal of the symbol from all HungryPanda products, and wishes to launch an inquiry into the damages suffered by FoodPanda as a result. 
However, HungryPanda later put out its defence claiming that the panda imagery was not limited to both companies, and had been used by many other entities even in the Singapore F&B industry. Given that HungryPanda is targeted specifically towards the delivery of Chinese/Asian cuisine, they assert that it is not likely for customers to be confused by both companies.  Additionally, HungryPanda refuted that the marks have not been used for marketing efforts in Singapore, as the website and app were targeting areas such as the US. 
The battle of the pandas is expected to continue for some time, with both companies preparing to attend a pre-trial conference on 11 January 2022.  Until then, it will be interesting to observe how both companies claim their stake in this high-stakes case of intellectual property.
 Deepa Chevi, ‘foodpanda and HungryPanda SG reportedly clash over trademark dispute’ Marketing Interactive (Singapore, 15 December 2021)
 Ibid (no 1)
 Claudia Chong, ‘foodpanda in legal spat with HungryPanda over trademark’ Business Times (Singapore, 15 December 2021)
 Ibid (no 1)
 Ibid (no 1)