Popular Bookstore Sent Lawyer’s Letter to Person Selling “Populist” T-Shirt


Last Updated on 2023-07-25 , 12:17 pm

If you are an avid online shopper, you may have encountered the clothing brand Hashtag65 (#65), which features words trending in our local scene.

Not too recently ago, it was the word “populist”, popularised by former Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin.

This remark trended in Singapore as it was part of his “unparliamentary language” used against Worker’s Party Jamus Tan.

Well, it appears that this “populist” t-shirt was not all that popular with a certain bookstore of a similar name.

A letter was sent to the clothing brand over this t-shirt design.

Here is what happened.


Lawyer’s Letter Sent to Clothing Brand Over Potential Trade Mark and Copyright Infringement

Earlier this week, the Facebook account of the local clothing brand Hashtag65 (#65) posted a picture of the lawyer’s letter that they received over their red t-shirt bearing the word “populist”.

Here is the image of the letter for your reference.

May be a graphic of blueprint and text
Image: Facebook (Hashtag65)

The clothing brand said that they had been “served” with the letter though it appears that the letter was more of a demand for the clothing store to cease selling the t-shirts in question rather than an actual intellectual property infringement lawsuit.

In the snippet of the letter posted by the clothing brand, the “solicitors” acting for “Popular Book Company (Pte.) Limited” indicated that the clothing brand’s use of a font and logo similar to the stationery bookstore constitutes “passing off as well as trade mark infringement and copyright infringement”.

This is what the t-shirt sold by Hashtag65 looks like.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Hashtag65 (@hashtag65.sg)

This is an image of what the Popular bookstore’s logo looks like.

And yes, we are also surprised that the brand which you probably visited to buy stationery or assessment books during your schooling days has a social media account.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Popular Bookstore (@popular_sg)

Do you think the two marks look similar? Or is this just making a mountain of a molehill?

Clothing Brand to Stop Selling the ‘Populist’ T-shirt

In any case, whether you think this is some harmless fun or a serious matter with the potential to damage the bookstore’s name, reputation or commercial interests, it appears that the formal letter was sufficient to scare the clothing brand into action.

Hashtag65 announced on its Facebook page that it would be “stopping the sales of the T-Shirt very soon as requested”.

This appeared to be done reluctantly as the brand lamented that we “need a better sense of humour” in Singapore.

Perhaps, not that bad after since, since the “populist” term stopped trending a while back (or was overshadowed by other news involving that former politician).


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