You might have heard of Tiramisu Hero.
Here are some of their iconic packaging.
Their adorable mascot/ logo:
Their handwritten signboard is also another dead giveaway for the cafe at 121 Tyrwhitt Rd.
All these logos and signboards though can't really be seen in Japan now.
See, recently Tiramisu Hero was forced to change their name in Japan.
They are now known as Tiramisu Star in Japan.
So what happened?
Here's what happened
This is quite a messed up series of events.
Hero's Produced by Tiramisu (HPT) basically attempted to register not just one trademark of Tiramisu Hero in 2017, they also attempted to file a direct copy of one of Tiramisu Hero's images.
Here it is.
While the picture is indeed Tiramisu Hero's trademark lazing kitty, the claim was filed by Grams, which are the people behind HPT.
If that wasn't enough, according to Aileen Koh and Peggy Chang, founders and directors of The Tiramisu Hero, HPT allegedly contacted their Japanese partners via a lawyer to impose a stop work order.
They have also allegedly threatened to sue the Japanese branch of Tiramisu Hero.
Credibility and sides
So, they've trademarked the name and some images associated with The Tiramisu Hero, surely that's enough?
Not if you're HPT.
Let's just take a look at their logos.
And we are not the only one that's going hmmm either.
The Japanese have been quite invested in this entire saga.
Here is a segment of an actual television program discussing the case.
In it, one of the things they touched on was the disparity in timings the brands were established.
Tiramisu Hero was established in 2012, while the Japanese Hero's Produced Tiramisu (HPT) was set up in June 2018.
In fact, Tiramisu Hero had set up booths in Japan from as early as 2013.
The hosts expressed incredulity that one did not take, at the very least, inspiration from the other.
Not only that, they've used big stars from Japan to give the illusion of credibility.
Mori, from Hello Asia, told Mothership that this wasn't the first time this brand has tried something like this.
"They've done this many times before, with many companies."
Which perhaps informed the Japanese people's attitude towards this case.
Because here's the thing, not only have the Japanese people not gotten behind their homegrown brand, they've actively taken Tiramisu Hero's side.
Here's a tweet that has garnered over 60,000 retweets basically calling HPT out on their alleged opportunism, and unethical behaviour.
シンガポール発祥のティラミス専門店の商品コンセプトや名前、キャラの使用法までまるっとパクり、タレントを起用して大々的にローンチした日本の店、おそらく日本国内での商標登録等、元祖の店を法的に封じ込めたうえでの出店だろうけど、こういう志の低いやり口はガンガン晒していきたい。 pic.twitter.com/GKRPbHUOe9— まことぴ (@makotopic) January 20, 2019
HPT's statements have been roundly criticised as well.
Here's one that basically said they were going through with the move, and that customers shouldn't mistake the "other" store as theirs.
However, on Jan. 22, the public pressure perhaps prompted them to reconsider their stance on the trademark.
So, all's well right?
Not exactly. HPT's statement appears to be little more than a olive twig, with the legal aspects of the proceeding still being in the midst of being settled
According to Tiramisu Hero's post, the issue is still very much an ongoing process.
View this post on Instagram
To all of Sir Antonio’s friends, The Tiramisu Hero is aware that there is news of the promise of our trademark being returned to us. This is good news but this is also just news! Nothing legal has changed and until then, we cannot stop and celebrate just yet. We implore our supporters, both local and Japanese, to continue to pressure the wrongdoers and to call them out. Be our voice and help us as we continue our fight 💪🏻
Despite the legal kerfuffle, Tiramisu Hero has expressed their gratitude to fans both here and in Japan.
Their founders told Mothership:
"The sentiments in Japan and Japanese living in Singapore have been overwhelmingly encouraging. There is a great sense of people feeling indignant for us and stepping up to shame the opposing Japanese company."
Not only that, the Japanese people have started to boycott HPT, and Tiramisu Hero's stock has been sold out, thanks to all the support by fans and well-wishers.
"People have chosen to boycott the copycats and our product in Japan is sold out."
In fact Koh and Chang have received phone calls from Japanese fans apologising on behalf of the company's actions.
"The Japanese people stood up to protect a Singaporean company. We are very grateful."