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FABERGE, INCORPORATED, petitioner, vs. THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and CO BENG KAY, respondents. MELO, J.

: The Director of Patents authorized herein private respondent Co Beng Kay to register the trademark "BRUTE" for the briefs manufactured and sold by his Corporation in the domestic market vis-avis petitioner's opposition grounded on similarity of said trademark with petitioner's own symbol "BRUT" which it previously registered for after shave lotion, shaving cream, deodorant, talcum powder, and toilet soap. Thereafter, respondent court, through Justice Gopengco with Justices Patajo and Racela, Jr. concurring, was initially persuaded by petitioner's plea for reversal directed against the permission granted by the Director of Patents, but the decision of the Second Special Cases Division handed down on April 29, 1983 was later reconsidered in favor of herein private respondent (pp. 46-54; pp. 34-36, Rollo). Hence, the petition at bar assailing the action of respondent court in affirming the ruling of the Director of Patents (Page 7, Petition; Page 16, Rollo). In essence, it appears that in the course of marketing petitioner's "BRUT" products and during the pendency of its application for registration of the trademark "BRUT 33 and DEVICE" for antiperspirant, personal deodorant, cream shave, after shave/shower lotion, hair spray, and hair shampoo (page 236, Rollo), respondent Co Beng Kay of Webengton Garments Manufacturing applied for registration of the disputed emblem "BRUTE" for briefs. Opposition raised by petitioner anchored on similarity with its own symbol and irreparable injury to the business reputation of the first user was to no avail. When the legal tussle was elevated to respondent court, Justice Gopengco remarked that: Indeed, a look at the marks "BRUT," "BRUT 33" and "BRUTE" shows that such marks are not only similar in appearance but they are even similar in sound and in the style of presentation. It is reasonable to believe that this similarity is sufficient to cause confusion and even mistake and deception in the buying public as to the origin for source of the goods bearing such trademarks. It should be considered that, although the mark "BRUTE" was applied for, only for briefs, yet such product has the same outlet such as department stores and haberdashery stores in the Philippines as the goods covered by the trademarks "BRUT" and "BRUTE 33" so that such confusion, mistake or deception is not unlikely to occur. The argument of appellee, that in modern marketing, goods of similar use are grouped in one section of the supermarket and thus it is unlikely that cosmetics be mixed with textile or wearing apparel, is hardly convincing enough, for a look at the modern department stores shows that merchandise intended for the use of men are now placed in a section which is then labelled "Men's Accessories." It is not unlikely, therefore, that in said section, appellant's products, which are cosmetics for men's use, be placed beside appellee's product, and cause such confusion or mistake as to the source of the goods displayed in the section. To avoid this, the Director of Patents held: The marks KEYSTON (on shirts) and KEYSTONE (on shoes and slippers), the latter having been previously registered are clearly similar in sound and appearance that confusion or mistake, or deception among purchasers as to origin and source of goods is likely to occur. Shirts and shoes are both wearing apparel and there is no gainsaying the truth that these items are ordinarily displayed in the same manner and sold through the same retail outlets such as department and haberdashery stores in the Philippines.

(Ex-Parte Keystone Garment Manufacturing Co., Decision No. 245 of the Director of Patents, January 25, 1963.) It is also not disputed that on account of the considerable length of time that appellant has marketed its products bearing the trademarks "BRUT" and "BRUT 33," and its maintenance of high quality of its products through the years, appellant has earned and established immense goodwill among its customers. We agree with appellant that should appellee be allowed to use the trademark "BRUTE" on the briefs manufactured by him, appellee would be cashing in on the goodwill already established by appellant, because, as already stated above, appellant's cosmetics and appellee's briefs are not entirely unrelated since both are directed to the fashion trade and in the marketing process, they may find themselves side by side in the "Men's Accessories Section" of the market, thus easily leading the buying public to believe that such briefs come from the same source as appellant's cosmetics, and be induced to buy said briefs, to the undue advantage of appellee. Again, if after purchasing such briefs, the public finds them to be of non-competitive quality, or not of the high quality expected of appellant's products, then appellant's reputation and goodwill will be ruined, to its damage and prejudice. Thus, for the protection of the goodwill already established by a party, the Supreme Court held: When one applies for the registration of a trademark or label which is almost the same or very closely resembles one already used and registered by another, the application should be rejected and dismissed outright, even without any opposition on the part of the owner and user of a previously registered label or trademark, this not only to avoid confusion on the part of the public, but also to protect an already used and registered trademark and an established goodwill. (Chuanchow Soy & Canning Co. vs. Dir. of Patents and Villapanta, 108 Phil. 833, 836.) The test of confusing similarity which would preclude the registration of a trademark is not whether the challenged mark would actually cause confusion or deception of the purchasers but whether the use of such mark would likely cause confusion or mistake on the part of the buying public. In short, the law does not require that the competing marks must be so identical as to produce actual error or mistakes. It would be sufficient, for purposes of the law, that the similarity between the two labels be such that there is a possibility or likelihood of the purchaser of the older brand mistaking the newer brand for it. (Gopengco, Mercantile Law Compendium, 1983 ed., p. 684; Acoje Mining Co., Inc. vs. Director of Patents, 38 SCRA 480). (pp. 3-6, Decision; pp. 48-51, Rollo). On June 5, 1984, respondent's Motion for Reconsideration merited the nod of approval of the appellate court brought about by private respondent's suggestion that the controlling ruling is that laid down in Philippine Refining Co., Inc. vs. Ng Sam (115 SCRA 472 [1982]), ESSO Standard Eastern, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (116 SCRA 336 [1982]); Hickok Manufacturing Co., Inc. vs. CA (116 SCRA 378 [1982]), and Acoje Mining Co., Inc. vs. Director of Patents (38 SCRA 480 [1971], to the effect that the identical trademark can be used by different manufacturers for products that are non-competing and unrelated. (pp. 34-36, Rollo) Petitioner is of the impression that respondent court could not have relied on the rulings of this Court in the ESSOand the PRC cases when the original decision was reconsidered since respondent court already expressed the opinion in the text of the previous discourse that the facts in said cases "are not found in the case at bar" (Page 12, Brief for the Petitioner, Page 202, Rollo). Petitioner likewise emphasis American jurisprudential doctrines to the effect that sale of cosmetics and wearing apparel under similar marks is

likely to cause confusion. Instead of applying the ESSO, PRC and Hickok cases, petitioner continues to asseverate, the rule as announced in Ang vs.Teodoro (74 Phil. 50 [1942]) as reiterated in Sta. Ana vs. Maliwat and Evalle (24 SCRA (1968) 101) should be applied. In additional, it seems that petitioner would want this Court to appreciate petitioner's alleged application for registration of the trademark "BRUT 33 DEVICE" for briefs as an explicit proof that petitioner intended to expand its mark "BRUT" to other goods, following the sentiment expressed by Justice J.B.L. Reyes in the Sta. Ana case (supra, at page 1025) that relief is available where the junior user's goods are not remote from any product that the senior user would be likely to make or sell (Pages 26-27, Brief for the Petitioner). Besides, petitioner insists that in view of the repeal of Republic Act No. 166 (which advocated the related goods theory) by Republic Act No. 666 which deleted the phrase found in the old law that the merchandise must be substantially the same descriptive properties, respondent Court should have heeded the pronouncement in theAng case that there can be unfair competition even if the goods are noncompeting (supra, at page 54). On the other hand, private respondent echoes the glaring difference in physical appearance of its products with petitioner's own goods by stressing the observations of the Director of Patents on May 3, 1978: Considered in their entireties as depicted in the parties' sample box and can containers, the involved trademarks are grossly different in their overall appearance that even at a distance a would-be purchaser could easily distinguish what is BRUTE brief and what is BRUT after shave lotion, lotion and the like. Opposer's mark BRUT or BRUT 33, as shown in Exhibit "6", is predominantly colored green with a blue and white band at the middle portion of the container. Also appearing therein in bold letters is opposer's name "FABERGE" and a notation "Creme Shave". On the other hand, respondent's mark as shown in Exh. "4-A" prominently displays the representation of a muscular man, underneath of which appears the trademark BRUTE with a notation "Bikini Brief" . . . Equally visible at the other portions of respondent's labels are the pictorial representation of "briefs" which unmistakably suggest that the product contained in the box container is that of a man's brief. The fact therefore is obvious that the goods upon which the conflicting trademarks are used are clearly different and the intended purpose of such goods are likewise not the same. Accordingly, a purchaser who is out in the market for the purpose of buying respondent's BRUTE brief would definitely be not mistaken or misled into buying instead opposer's BRUT after shave lotion or deodorant. Additional, the meaning or connotation of the bare word marks of opposer, BRUT, and BRUTE of respondent, are clearly different and not likely to be confused with each other. BRUT simply means "dry", and also, "to browse"; while BRUTE means "ferocious, sensual", and in Latin, it signifies "heavy". Gleaned from the respective meanings of the two marks in question, they both suggest the resultant effects of the application of the products, upon which the said trademarks are employed, which fact all the more renders confusion or deception of purchasers a remote possibility. The products covered by petitioner's trademarks "BRUT" and "BRUT 33 & Device" enjoying its socalled "goodwill" are after-shave lotion, shaving cream, deodorant, talcum powder, toilet soap, antiperspirant, personal deodorant, cream shave, after shave/shower lotion, hair spray and hair shampoo. Petitioner has never applied for, registered nor used its trademarks for briefs in commerce or trade in the

Philippines. Private respondent seeks to register his trademark "BRUTE" only for briefs which is a product non-competitive to and entirely unrelated with petitioner's aforementioned products. (pp. 3-4, Brief for the Respondent) in order to impress upon Us that the controlling norm is the comparison of the trademarks in their entirely as they appear in their labels to determine whether there is confusing similarity. Moreover, private respondent asserts that briefs and cosmetics do not belong to the same class nor do they have the same descriptive properties such that the use of a trademark on one's goods does not prevent the adoption and use of the same trademark by others on unrelated articles of a different nature in line with the ruling of this Court in Hickok Manufacturing Co., Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (116 SCRA 387 [1982]). Furthermore, respondent belies petitioner's claim that the latter had applied for registration of the trademark "BRUT 33 DEVICE" for briefssince the documents on file with the Director of Patents attached to respondent's legal Brief does not include the so-called application by petitioner of the alleged trademark for briefs. To the legal query of whether private respondent may appropriate the trademark "BRUTE" for the briefs it manufactures and sells to the public albeit petitioner had previously registered the symbol "BRUT" and "BRUT 33" for its own line of times, it is but apropos to shift Our attention to the pertinent provisions of the new Civil Code vis-a-vis Republic Act No. 166, as amended, the special law patterned after the United States Trademark Act of 1946 (Director of Patents, Circular Release No. 36, 45 O.G. 3704; Martin, Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Philippine Commercial Laws, 1986 Revised Edition, Volume 2, page 489), thus: Art. 520. A trade-mark or trade-name duly registered in the proper government bureau or office is owned by and pertains to the person, corporation, or firm registering the same, subject to the provisions of special laws. Art. 521. The goodwill of a business is property, and may be transferred together with the right to use the name under which the business is conducted. Art. 522. Trade-marks and trade-names are governed by special laws. xxx xxx xxx Sec. 2. What are registrable. Trade-marks, trade-names, and service-marks owned by persons, corporations, partnerships or associations domiciled in the Philippines and by persons, corporations, partnerships or associations domiciled in any foreign country may be registered in accordance with the provisions of this Act; Provided, That said trade-marks, trade-names, or service-marks, are actually in use in commerce and services not less than two months in the Philippines before the time the applications for registration are filed: And provided, further, That the country of which the applicant for registration is a citizen grants by law substantially similar privileges to citizens of the Philippines, and such fact is officially certified, with a certified true copy of the foreign law translated into the English language, by the government of the Republic of the Philippines. (As amended by Rep. Act No. 865). Sec. 2-A. Ownership of trade-marks, trade-names and service-marks; how acquired. Anyone who lawfully produces or deals in merchandise of any kind or who engages in any lawful business or who

renders any lawful service in commerce, by actual use thereof in manufacture or trade, in business, and in the service rendered, may appropriate to his exclusive use a trade-mark, a trade-name, or a service-mark not so appropriated by another, to distinguish his merchandise, business or service from the merchandise, business or services of others. The ownership or possession of a trade-mark, trade-name, service-mark, heretofore or hereafter appropriated, as in this section provided, shall be recognized and protected in the same manner and to the same extent as are other property rights known to the law. (As inserted by Sec. 1 of Rep. Act 638). xxx xxx xxx Sec. 4. Registration of trade-marks, trade-names and service-marks on the principal register. . . . The owner of trademark, trade-name or service-mark used to distinguish his goods, business or services from the goods, business or services of others shall have right to register the same on the principal register, unless it: xxx xxx xxx 4(d) Consists of or comprises a mark or trade-name which so resembles a mark or trade-name registered in the Philippines or a mark or trade-name previously used in the Philippines by another and not abandoned, as to be likely, when applied to or used in connection with the goods, business or services of the applicant, to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive purchasers. xxx xxx xxx Sec. 11. Issuance and contents of the certificate. Certificates of registration shall be issued in the name of the Republic of the Philippines under the seal of the Patent Office, and shall be signed by the Director, and a record thereof together with a copy of the specimen or facsimile and the statement of the applicant, shall be kept in books for that purpose. The certificate shall reproduce the specimen or facsimile of the mark or trade-name, contain the statement of the applicant and state that the mark or trade-name is registered under this Act, the date of the first use in commerce or business, the particular goods or services for which it is registered, the number and date of the registration, the term thereof, the date on which the application for registration was received in the Patent Office, a statement of the requirement that in order to maintain the registration, periodical affidavits of use within the specified times hereinafter in section twelve provided, shall be filed, and such other data as the rules and regulations may from time to time prescribe. xxx xxx xxx Sec. 20. Certificate of registration prima facie evidence of validity. A certificate of registration of a mark or trade-name shall be prima facie evidence of the validity of the registration, the registrant's ownership of the mark or trade-name, and of the registrant's exclusive right to use the same in connection with the goods, business or services specified in the certificate, subject to any conditions and limitations stated therein. Having thus reviewed the laws applicable to the case before Us, it is not difficult to discern from the foregoing statutory enactments that private respondent may be permitted to register the trademark

"BRUTE" for briefs produced by it notwithstanding petitioner's vehement protestations of unfair dealings in marketing its own set of items which are limited to: after-shave lotion, shaving cream, deodorant, talcum powder and toilet soap. In as much as petitioner has not ventured in the production of briefs, an item which is not listed in its certificate of registration, petitioner can not and should not be allowed to feign that private respondent had invaded petitioner's exclusive domain. To be sure, it is significant that petitioner failed to annex in its Brief the so-called "eloquent proof that petitioner indeed intended to expand its mark "BRUT" to other goods" (Page 27, Brief for the Petitioner; Page 202,Rollo). Even then, a mere application by petitioner in this aspect does not suffice and may not vest an exclusive right in its favor that can ordinarily be protected by the Trademark Law. In short, paraphrasing Section 20 of the Trademark Law as applied to the documentary evidence adduced by petitioner, the certificate of registration issued by the Director of Patents can confer upon petitioner the exclusive right to use its own symbol only to those goods specified in the certificate, subject to any conditions and limitations stated therein. This basic point is perhaps the unwritten rationale of Justice Escolin in Philippine Refining Co., Inc. vs. Ng Lam (115 SCRA 472 [1982]), when he stressed the principle enunciated by the United States Supreme Court in American Foundries vs. Robertson (269 U.S. 372, 381, 70 L ed 317, 46 Sct. 160) that one who has adopted and used a trademark on his goods does not prevent the adoption and use of the same trademark by other for products which are of different description. Verily, this Court had the occasion to observe in the 1966 case of George W. Luft Co., Inc. vs. Ngo Guan (18 SCRA 944 [1966]) that no serious objection was posed by the petitioner therein since the applicant utilized the emblem "Tango" for no other product than hair pomade in which petitioner does not deal. This brings Us back to the incidental issue raised by petitioner which private respondent sought to belie as regards petitioner's alleged expansion of its business. It may be recalled that petitioner claimed that it has a pending application for registration of the emblem "BRUT 33" for briefs (page 25, Brief for the Petitioner; page 202, Rollo) to impress upon Us the Solomonic wisdom imparted by Justice JBL Reyes in Sta. Ana vs. Maliwat (24 SCRA 1018 [1968]), to the effect that dissimilarity of goods will not preclude relief if the junior user's goods are not remote from any other product which the first user would be likely to make or sell (vide, at page 1025). Commenting on the former provision of the Trademark Law now embodied substantially under Section 4(d) of Republic Act No. 166, as amended, the erudite jurist opined that the law in point "does not require that the articles of manufacture of the previous user and late user of the mark should possess the same descriptive properties or should fall into the same categories as to bar the latter from registering his mark in the principal register." (supraat page 1026). Yet, it is equally true that as aforesaid, the protective mantle of the Trademark Law extends only to the goods used by the first user as specified in the certificate of registration following the clear message conveyed by section 20. How do We now reconcile the apparent conflict between Section 4(d) which was relied upon by Justice JBL Reyes in the Sta. Ana case and Section 20? It would seem that Section 4(d) does not require that the goods manufactured by the second user be related to the goods produced by the senior user while Section 20 limits the exclusive right of the senior user only to those goods specified in the certificate of registration. But the rule has been laid down that the clause which comes later shall be given paramount significance over an anterior proviso upon the presumption that it expresses the latest and dominant purpose. (Graham Paper Co. vs. National Newspaper Asso. (Mo. App.) 193 S.W. 1003; Barnett vs. Merchant's L. Ins. Co., 87 Okl. 42; State ex nel Atty. Gen.vs. Toledo, 26 N.E., p. 1061; cited

by Martin, Statutory Construction Sixth ed., 1980 Reprinted, p. 144). It ineluctably follows that Section 20 is controlling and, therefore, private respondent can appropriate its symbol for the briefs it manufactures because as aptly remarked by Justice Sanchez in Sterling Products International Inc. vs.Farbenfabriken Bayer (27 SCRA 1214 [1969]): Really, if the certificate of registration were to be deemed as including goods not specified therein, then a situation may arise whereby an applicant may be tempted to register a trademark on any and all goods which his mind may conceive even if he had never intended to use the trademark for the said goods. We believe that such omnibus registration is not contemplated by our Trademark Law. (1226) Withal, judging from the physical attributes of petitioner's and private respondent's products, there can be no doubt that confusion or the likelihood of deception to the average purchaser is unlikely since the goods are non-competing and unrelated. In upholding registration of the brand "ESSO for cigarettes inspite previous appropriation of the same mark "ESSO" for petroleum products, then Justice, later Chief Justices Teehankee inEsso Standard Eastern, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (116 SCRA 336 [1982] said: The Court affirms on the basis of controlling doctrine the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals reversing that of the Court of First Instance of Manila and dismissing the complaint filed by herein petitioner against private respondent for trade infringement for using petitioner's trademark ESSO, since it clearly appears that the goods on which the trademark ESSO is used by respondent is non-competing and entirely unrelated to the products of petitioner so that there is no likelihood of confusion or deception on the part of the purchasing public as to the origin or source of the goods. xxx xxx xxx The trial court, relying on the old cases of Ang vs. Teodoro and Arce & Sons, Inc. vs. Selecta Biscuit Company, referring to related products, decided in favor of petitioner and ruled that respondent was guilty of infringement of trademark. On appeal, respondent Court of Appeals found that there was no trademark infringement and dismissed the complaint. Reconsideration of the decision having been denied, petitioner appealed to this court by way of certiorari to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals and to reinstate the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila. The Court finds no ground for granting the petition. The law defines infringement as the use without consent of the trademark owner of any "reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation of any registered mark or tradename in connection with the sale, offering for sale, or advertising of any goods, business or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive purchasers or others as to the source or origin of such goods or services, or identity of such business; or reproduce, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitate any director's decision on the question of "May petitioner Acoje Mining Company register for the purpose of advertising its product, soy sauce, the trademark LOTUS, there being already in existence one such registered in favor of the Philippine Refining Company for its product, edible oil, it being further shown that the trademark applied for is in smaller type, colored differently, set on a background which is dissimilar as to yield a distinct appearance?" and ordered the granting of petitioner's application for registration ruling that "there is quite a difference between soy sauce and edible oil. If one is in the market for the former, he is not likely to purchase the latter just because of the trademarks LOTUS" and "when

regard is had for the principle that the two trademark in their entirely as they appear in their respective labels should be considered in relation to the goods advertised before registration could be denied, the conclusion is inescapable that respondent Director ought to have reached a different conclusion." By the same token, in the recent case of Philippine Refining Co., Inc. v. Ng Sam and Director of Patents, the Court upheld the patent director's registration of the same trademark CAMIA for therein respondent's product of ham notwithstanding its already being used by therein petitioner for a wide range of products: lard; butter, cooking oil, abrasive detergents, polishing material and soap of all kinds. The Court, after noting that the same CAMIA trademark had been registered by two other companies, Everbright Development Company and F.E. Zuellig, Inc. for their respective products of thread and yarn (for the former) and textiles, embroideries and laces (for the latter) ruled that "while ham and some of the products of petitioner are classified under Class 47 (Foods and Ingredients of Food), this alone cannot serve as the decisive factor in the resolution of whether or not they are related goods. Emphasis should be on the similarity of the arbitrary classification or general description of their properties or characteristics. The Court, therefore, concluded that "In fine, We hold that the businesses of the parties are noncompetitive and their products so unrelated that the use of identical trademarks is not likely to give rise to confusion, much less cause damage to petitioner. In the situation before us, the goods are obviously different from each other with "absolutely no iota of similitude" as stressed in respondent court's judgment. They are so foreign to each other as to make it unlikely that purchasers would think that petitioner is the manufacturer of respondent' goods. The mere fact that one person has adopted and used a trademark on his goods does not prevent the adoption and use of the same trademark by others on unrelated articles of a different kind. Petitioner uses the trademark ESSO and holds certificate registration of the trademark for petroleum products, including aviation gasoline, grease, cigarette lighter fluid and other various products such as plastics, chemicals, synthetics, gasoline solvents, kerosene, automotive and industrial fuel, bunker fuel, lubricating oil, fertilizers, gas alcohol, insecticides and the "ESSO Gasul" burner, while respondent's business is solely for the manufacture and sale of the unrelated product of cigarettes. The public knows too well that petitioner deals solely with petroleum products that there is no possibility that cigarettes with ESSO brand will be associated with whatever good name petitioner's ESSO trademark may have generated. Although petitioner's products are numerous, they are of the same class or line of merchandise which are non-competing with respondent's product of cigarettes, which as pointed out in the appealed judgment is beyond petitioner's "zone of potential or natural and logical expansion." When a trademark is used by a party for a product in which the other party does not deal, the use of the same trademark on the latter's product cannot be validly objected to. xxx xxx xxx Respondent court correctly ruled that considering the general appearances of each mark as a whole, the possibility of any confusion is unlikely. A comparison of the labels of the samples of the goods submitted by the parties shows a great many differences on the trademark used. As pointed out by respondent court in its appealed decision, "(A) witness for the plaintiff, Mr. Buhay, admitted that the color of the "ESSO" used by the plaintiff for the oval design where the blue word ESSO is contained is the distinct and unique kind of blue. In his answer to the trial court's question, Mr. Buhay informed the court that the plaintiff never used its trademark on any product where the combination of colors is similar to the label of the

Esso cigarettes," and "Another witness for the plaintiff, Mr. Tengco, testified that generally, the plaintiff's trademark comes all in either red, white, blue or any combination of the three colors. It is to be pointed out that not even a shade of these colors appears on the trademark of the appellant's cigarette. The only color that the appellant uses in its trademark is green. (339; 341-346) The glaring discrepancies between the two products had been amply portrayed to such an extent that indeed, "a purchaser who is out in the market for the purpose of buying respondent's BRUTE brief would definitely be not mistaken or misled into buying BRUT after shave lotion or deodorant" as categorically opined in the decision of the Director of Patents relative to the inter-partes case. (supra, at page 7). Petitioner's bid to persuade Us into accepting the doctrines announced in the aforementioned cases of Sta. Ana vs. Maliwat and Ang vs. Teodoro hardly inspire belief. In Sta Ana, it was admitted that the marks were confusingly similar which is not so in the case at bar. In the 1942 case of Ang vs. Teodoro, Justice Ozaeta noted that pants and shirts are similar to shoes and slippers within the meaning of Sections 3, 7, 11, 13 and 20 of Act No. 666 which was the old Trademark Law enacted on March 6, 1903 prior to the present law. Obviously, the conclusion reached by the ponente in the Ang case may not now be utilized by analogy to the case at bar due to variance in the factual and legal milieu. Neither can we agree with petitioner that the ruling in La Chemise Lacoste, S.A. vs.Fernandez (129 SCRA 373 [1984]) is applicable to the controversy at hand. The case adverted to by petitioner involved the same mark for the same class of shirts manufactured by the parties therein. It would appear that as a consequence of this discourse, there still remains hanging in mid-air the unanswered puzzle as to why an aspiring commercial enterprise, given the infinite choices available to it of names for the intend product, would select a trademark or tradename which somewhat resembles an existing emblem that had established goodwill. Our opinion hereinbefore expressed could even open the floodgates to similar incursions in the future when we interpreted Section 20 of the Trademark Law as an implicit permission to a manufacturer to venture into the production of goods and allow that producer to appropriate the brand name of the senior registrant on goods other than those stated in the certificate of registration. But these nagging and disturbing points cannot win the day for petitioner, although We must hasten to add that in the final denouement, Our apprehensions in this regard are not entirely irreversible since Section 4(d) and 20 of the law in question may still be subjected to legislative modification in order to protect the original user of the symbol. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED without pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. BERRIS AGRICULTURAL CO., INC., Vs. NORVY ABYADANG, On January 16, 2004, respondent Norvy A. Abyadang (Abyadang), proprietor of NS Northern Organic Fertilizer, with address at No. 43 Lower QM, Baguio City, filed with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) a trademark application for the mark NS D-10 PLUS for use in connection with Fungicide (Class 5) with active ingredient 80% Mancozeb. The application, under Application Serial No. 4-200400450, was given due course and was published in the IPO e-Gazette for opposition on July 28, 2005.

On August 17, 2005, petitioner Berris Agricultural Co., Inc. (Berris), with business address in Barangay Masiit, Calauan, Laguna, filed with the IPO Bureau of Legal Affairs (IPO-BLA) a Verified Notice of Opposition[4] against the mark under application allegedly because NS D-10 PLUS is similar and/or confusingly similar to its registered trademark D-10 80 WP, also used for Fungicide (Class 5) with active ingredient 80% Mancozeb. The opposition was docketed as IPC No. 14-2005-00099.

After an exchange of pleadings, on April 28, 2006, Director Estrellita Beltran-Abelardo (Director Abelardo) of the IPO-BLA issued Decision No. 2006-24[5] (BLA decision), the dispositive portion of which reads

WHEREFORE, viewed in the light of all the foregoing, this Bureau finds and so holds that RespondentApplicants mark NS D-10 PLUS is confusingly similar to the Opposers mark and as such, the opposition is hereby SUSTAINED. Consequently, trademark application bearing Serial No. 4-200400450 for the mark NS D-10 PLUS filed on January 16, 2004 by Norvy A. Ab[yada]ng covering the goods fungicide under Class 5 of the International Classification of goods is, as it is hereby, REJECTED.

Let the filewrapper of the trademark NS D-10 PLUS subject matter under consideration be forwarded to the Administrative, Financial and Human Resources Development Services Bureau (AFHRDSB) for appropriate action in accordance with this Order with a copy to be furnished the Bureau of Trademark (BOT) for information and to update its records. SO ORDERED.[6] Abyadang filed a motion for reconsideration, and Berris, in turn, filed its opposition to the motion. On August 2, 2006, Director Abelardo issued Resolution No. 2006-09(D)[7] (BLA resolution), denying the motion for reconsideration and disposing as follows IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the Respondent-Applicant is hereby DENIED FOR LACK OF MERIT. Consequently, Decision No. 2006-24 dated April 28, 2006 STANDS. Let the filewrapper of the trademark NS D-10 PLUS subject matter under consideration be forwarded to the Bureau of Trademarks for appropriate action in accordance with this Resolution. SO ORDERED.[8] Aggrieved, Abyadang filed an appeal on August 22, 2006 with the Office of the Director General, Intellectual Property Philippines (IPPDG), docketed as Appeal No. 14-06-13

With the filing of the parties respective memoranda, Director General Adrian S. Cristobal, Jr. of the IPPDG rendered a decision dated July 20, 2007,[9] ruling as follows Wherefore, premises considered[,] the appeal is hereby DENIED. Accordingly, the appealed Decision of the Director is hereby AFFIRMED. Let a copy of this Decision as well as the trademark application and records be furnished and returned to the Director of Bureau of Legal Affairs for appropriate action. Further, let also the Directors of the Bureau of Trademarks, the Administrative, Financial and Human Resources Development Services Bureau, and the library of the Documentation, Information and Technology Transfer Bureau be furnished a copy of this Decision for information, guidance, and records purposes.

SO ORDERED.[10]

Undeterred, Abyadang filed a petition for review[11] before the CA.

In its Decision dated April 14, 2008, the CA reversed the IPPDG decision. It held

In sum, the petition should be granted due to the following reasons: 1) petitioners mark NS D-10 PLUS is not confusingly similar with respondents trademark D-10 80 WP; 2) respondent failed to establish its ownership of the mark D-10 80 WP and 3) respondents trademark registration for D-10 80 WP may be cancelled in the present case to avoid multiplicity of suits.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision dated July 20, 2007 of the IPO Director General in Appeal No. 14-06-13 (IPC No. 14-2005-00099) is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and a new one is entered giving due course to petitioners application for registration of the mark NS D-10 PLUS, and canceling respondents trademark registration for D-10 80 WP.

SO ORDERED.[12]

Berris filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but in its June 18, 2008 Resolution, the CA denied the motion for lack of merit. Hence, this petition anchored on the following arguments

I. The Honorable Court of Appeals finding that there exists no confusing similarity between Petitioners and respondents marks is based on misapprehension of facts, surmise and conjecture and not in accord with the Intellectual Property Code and applicable Decisions of this Honorable Court [Supreme Court].

II. The Honorable Court of Appeals Decision reversing and setting aside the technical findings of the Intellectual Property Office even without a finding or, at the very least, an allegation of grave abuse of discretion on the part of said agency is not in accord with law and earlier pronouncements of this Honorable Court [Supreme Court].

III. The Honorable Court of Appeals Decision ordering the cancellation of herein Petitioners duly registered and validly existing trademark in the absence of a properly filed Petition for Cancellation before the Intellectual Property Office is not in accord with the Intellectual Property Code and applicable Decisions of this Honorable Court [Supreme Court].[13]

The basic law on trademark, infringement, and unfair competition is Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8293[14] (Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines), specifically Sections 121 to 170 thereof. It took effect on January 1, 1998. Prior to its effectivity, the applicable law was R.A. No. 166,[15] as amended.

Interestingly, R.A. No. 8293 did not expressly repeal in its entirety R.A. No. 166, but merely provided in Section 239.1[16]that Acts and parts of Acts inconsistent with it were repealed. In other words, only in the instances where a substantial and irreconcilable conflict is found between the provisions of R.A. No. 8293 and of R.A. No. 166 would the provisions of the latter be deemed repealed.

R.A. No. 8293 defines a mark as any visible sign capable of distinguishing the goods (trademark) or services (service mark) of an enterprise and shall include a stamped or marked container of goods. [17] It also defines a collective mark as any visible sign designated as such in the application for registration and capable of distinguishing the origin or any other common characteristic, including the quality of goods or services of different enterprises which use the sign under the control of the registered owner of the collective mark.[18]

On the other hand, R.A. No. 166 defines a trademark as any distinctive word, name, symbol, emblem, sign, or device, or any combination thereof, adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant on his goods

to identify and distinguish them from those manufactured, sold, or dealt by another.[19] A trademark, being a special property, is afforded protection by law. But for one to enjoy this legal protection, legal protection ownership of the trademark should rightly be established.

The ownership of a trademark is acquired by its registration and its actual use by the manufacturer or distributor of the goods made available to the purchasing public. Section 122[20] of R.A. No. 8293 provides that the rights in a mark shall be acquired by means of its valid registration with the IPO. A certificate of registration of a mark, once issued, constitutes prima facie evidence of the validity of the registration, of the registrants ownership of the mark, and of the registrants exclusive right to use the same in connection with the goods or services and those that are related thereto specified in the certificate.[21] R.A. No. 8293, however, requires the applicant for registration or the registrant to file a declaration of actual use (DAU) of the mark, with evidence to that effect, within three (3) years from the filing of the application for registration; otherwise, the application shall be refused or the mark shall be removed from the register.[22] In other words, the prima facie presumption brought about by the registration of a mark may be challenged and overcome, in an appropriate action, by proof of the nullity of the registration or of non-use of the mark, except when excused.[23] Moreover, the presumption may likewise be defeated by evidence of prior use by another person, i.e., it will controvert a claim of legal appropriation or of ownership based on registration by a subsequent user. This is because a trademark is a creation of use and belongs to one who first used it in trade or commerce.[24]

The determination of priority of use of a mark is a question of fact. Adoption of the mark alone does not suffice. One may make advertisements, issue circulars, distribute price lists on certain goods, but these alone will not inure to the claim of ownership of the mark until the goods bearing the mark are sold to the public in the market. Accordingly, receipts, sales invoices, and testimonies of witnesses as customers, or orders of buyers, best prove the actual use of a mark in trade and commerce during a certain period of time.[25] In the instant case, both parties have submitted proof to support their claim of ownership of their respective trademarks.

Culled from the records, Berris, as oppositor to Abyadangs application for registration of his trademark, presented the following evidence: (1) its trademark application dated November 29, 2002 [26] with Application No. 4-2002-0010272; (2) its IPO certificate of registration dated October 25, 2004, [27] with Registration No. 4-2002-010272 and July 8, 2004 as the date of registration; (3) a photocopy of its packaging[28] bearing the mark D-10 80 WP; (4) photocopies of its sales invoices and official receipts;[29] and (5) its notarized DAU dated April 23, 2003,[30] stating that the mark was first used on June 20, 2002, and indicating that, as proof of actual use, copies of official receipts or sales invoices of goods using the mark were attached as Annex B.

On the other hand, Abyadangs proofs consisted of the following: (1) a photocopy of the packaging[31] for his marketed fungicide bearing mark NS D-10 PLUS; (2) Abyadangs Affidavit dated February 14, 2006,[32] stating among others that the mark NS D-10 PLUS was his own creation derived from: N for Norvy, his name; S for Soledad, his wifes name; D the first letter for December, his birth month; 10 for October, the 10th month of the year, the month of his business name registration; and PLUS to connote superior quality; that when he applied for registration, there was nobody applying for a mark similar to NS D-10 PLUS; that he did not know of the existence of Berris or any of its products; that D-10 could not have been associated with Berris because the latter never engaged in any commercial activity to sell D-10 80 WP fungicide in the local market; and that he could not have copied Berris mark because he registered his packaging with the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) ahead of Berris; (3) Certification dated December 19, 2005[33] issued by the FPA, stating that NS D-10 PLUS is owned and distributed by NS Northern Organic Fertilizer, registered with the FPA since May 26, 2003, and had been in the market since July 30, 2003; (4) Certification dated October 11, 2005 [34] issued by the FPA, stating that, per monitoring among dealers in Region I and in the Cordillera Administrative Region registered with its office, the Regional Officer neither encountered the fungicide with mark D-10 80 WP nor did the FPA provincial officers from the same area receive any report as to the presence or sale of Berris product; (5) Certification dated March 14, 2006[35] issued by the FPA, certifying that all pesticides must be registered with the said office pursuant to Section 9[36] of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1144[37] and Section 1, Article II of FPA Rules and Regulations No. 1, Series of 1977; (6) Certification dated March 16, 2006[38] issued by the FPA, certifying that the pesticide D-10 80 WP was registered by Berris on November 12, 2004; and (7) receipts from Sunrise Farm Supply[39] in La Trinidad, Benguet of the sale of Abyadangs goods referred to as D-10 and D-10+.

Based on their proffered pieces of evidence, both Berris and Abyadang claim to be the prior user of their respective marks.

We rule in favor of Berris.

Berris was able to establish that it was using its mark D-10 80 WP since June 20, 2002, even before it filed for its registration with the IPO on November 29, 2002, as shown by its DAU which was under oath and notarized, bearing the stamp of the Bureau of Trademarks of the IPO on April 25, 2003,[40] and which stated that it had an attachment as Annex B sales invoices and official receipts of goods bearing the mark. Indeed, the DAU, being a notarized document, especially when received in due course by the IPO, is evidence of the facts it stated and has the presumption of regularity, entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. Thus, the burden of proof to overcome the presumption of authenticity and due execution lies on the party contesting it, and the rebutting evidence should be clear, strong, and convincing as to preclude all controversy as to the falsity of the certificate.[41] What is more, the DAU is buttressed by the

Certification dated April 21, 2006[42] issued by the Bureau of Trademarks that Berris mark is still valid and existing.

Hence, we cannot subscribe to the contention of Abyadang that Berris DAU is fraudulent based only on his assumption that Berris could not have legally used the mark in the sale of its goods way back in June 2002 because it registered the product with the FPA only on November 12, 2004. As correctly held by the IPPDG in its decision on Abyadangs appeal, the question of whether or not Berris violated P.D. No. 1144, because it sold its product without prior registration with the FPA, is a distinct and separate matter from the jurisdiction and concern of the IPO. Thus, even a determination of violation by Berris of P.D. No. 1144 would not controvert the fact that it did submit evidence that it had used the mark D-10 80 WP earlier than its FPA registration in 2004.

Furthermore, even the FPA Certification dated October 11, 2005, stating that the office had neither encountered nor received reports about the sale of the fungicide D-10 80 WP within Region I and the Cordillera Administrative Region, could not negate the fact that Berris was selling its product using that mark in 2002, especially considering that it first traded its goods in Calauan, Laguna, where its business office is located, as stated in the DAU.

Therefore, Berris, as prior user and prior registrant, is the owner of the mark D-10 80 WP. As such, Berris has in its favor the rights conferred by Section 147 of R.A. No. 8293, which provides

Sec. 147. Rights Conferred.

147.1. The owner of a registered mark shall have the exclusive right to prevent all third parties not having the owners consent from using in the course of trade identical or similar signs or containers for goods or services which are identical or similar to those in respect of which the trademark is registered where such use would result in a likelihood of confusion. In case of the use of an identical sign for identical goods or services, a likelihood of confusion shall be presumed.

147.2. The exclusive right of the owner of a well-known mark defined in Subsection 123.1(e) which is registered in the Philippines, shall extend to goods and services which are not similar to those in respect of which the mark is registered: Provided, That use of that mark in relation to those goods or services would indicate a connection between those goods or services and the owner of the registered mark: Provided, further, That the interests of the owner of the registered mark are likely to be damaged by such use.

Now, we confront the question, Is Abyadangs mark NS D-10 PLUS confusingly similar to that of Berris D-10 80 WP such that the latter can rightfully prevent the IPO registration of the former? We answer in the affirmative.

According to Section 123.1(d) of R.A. No. 8293, a mark cannot be registered if it is identical with a registered mark belonging to a different proprietor with an earlier filing or priority date, with respect to: (1) the same goods or services; (2) closely related goods or services; or (3) near resemblance of such mark as to likely deceive or cause confusion.

In determining similarity and likelihood of confusion, jurisprudence has developed teststhe Dominancy Test and the Holistic or Totality Test. The Dominancy Test focuses on the similarity of the prevalent or dominant features of the competing trademarks that might cause confusion, mistake, and deception in the mind of the purchasing public. Duplication or imitation is not necessary; neither is it required that the mark sought to be registered suggests an effort to imitate. Given more consideration are the aural and visual impressions created by the marks on the buyers of goods, giving little weight to factors like prices, quality, sales outlets, and market segments.[43]

In contrast, the Holistic or Totality Test necessitates a consideration of the entirety of the marks as applied to the products, including the labels and packaging, in determining confusing similarity. The discerning eye of the observer must focus not only on the predominant words but also on the other features appearing on both labels so that the observer may draw conclusion on whether one is confusingly similar to the other.[44]

Comparing Berris mark D-10 80 WP with Abyadangs mark NS D-10 PLUS, as appearing on their respective packages, one cannot but notice that both have a common component which is D-10. On Berris package, the D-10 is written with a bigger font than the 80 WP. Admittedly, the D-10 is the dominant feature of the mark. The D-10, being at the beginning of the mark, is what is most remembered of it. Although, it appears in Berris certificate of registration in the same font size as the 80 WP, its dominancy in the D-10 80 WP mark stands since the difference in the form does not alter its distinctive character.[45]

Applying the Dominancy Test, it cannot be gainsaid that Abyadangs NS D-10 PLUS is similar to Berris D-10 80 WP, that confusion or mistake is more likely to occur. Undeniably, both marks pertain

to the same type of goods fungicide with 80% Mancozeb as an active ingredient and used for the same group of fruits, crops, vegetables, and ornamental plants, using the same dosage and manner of application. They also belong to the same classification of goods under R.A. No. 8293. Both depictions of D-10, as found in both marks, are similar in size, such that this portion is what catches the eye of the purchaser. Undeniably, the likelihood of confusion is present.

This likelihood of confusion and mistake is made more manifest when the Holistic Test is applied, taking into consideration the packaging, for both use the same type of material (foil type) and have identical color schemes (red, green, and white); and the marks are both predominantly red in color, with the same phrase BROAD SPECTRUM FUNGICIDE written underneath.

Considering these striking similarities, predominantly the D-10, the buyers of both products, mainly farmers, may be misled into thinking that NS D-10 PLUS could be an upgraded formulation of the D10 80 WP.

Moreover, notwithstanding the finding of the IPPDG that the D-10 is a fanciful component of the trademark, created for the sole purpose of functioning as a trademark, and does not give the name, quality, or description of the product for which it is used, nor does it describe the place of origin, such that the degree of exclusiveness given to the mark is closely restricted, [46] and considering its challenge by Abyadang with respect to the meaning he has given to it, what remains is the fact that Berris is the owner of the mark D-10 80 WP, inclusive of its dominant feature D-10, as established by its prior use, and prior registration with the IPO. Therefore, Berris properly opposed and the IPO correctly rejected Abyadangs application for registration of the mark NS D-10 PLUS.

Verily, the protection of trademarks as intellectual property is intended not only to preserve the goodwill and reputation of the business established on the goods bearing the mark through actual use over a period of time, but also to safeguard the public as consumers against confusion on these goods.[47] On this matter of particular concern, administrative agencies, such as the IPO, by reason of their special knowledge and expertise over matters falling under their jurisdiction, are in a better position to pass judgment thereon. Thus, their findings of fact in that regard are generally accorded great respect, if not finality by the courts, as long as they are supported by substantial evidence, even if such evidence might not be overwhelming or even preponderant. It is not the task of the appellate court to weigh once more the evidence submitted before the administrative body and to substitute its own judgment for that of the administrative agency in respect to sufficiency of evidence.[48]

Inasmuch as the ownership of the mark D-10 80 WP fittingly belongs to Berris, and because the same should not have been cancelled by the CA, we consider it proper not to belabor anymore the issue of whether cancellation of a registered mark may be done absent a petition for cancellation.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated April 14, 2008 and Resolution dated June 18, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 99928 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the Decision No. 2006-24 dated April 28, 2006 and the Resolution No. 2006-09(D) dated August 2, 2006 in IPC No. 14-2005-00099, and the Decision dated July 20, 2007 in Appeal No. 1406-13 are REINSTATED. Costs against respondent. SO ORDERED.

FREDCO MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, PETITIONER, VS. PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLEGE (HARVARD UNIVERSITY), RESPONDENTS.

On 10 August 2005, petitioner Fredco Manufacturing Corporation (Fredco), a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines, filed a Petition for Cancellation of Registration No. 56561 before the Bureau of Legal Affairs of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) against respondents President and Fellows of Harvard College (Harvard University), a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Massachusetts, United States of America. The case was docketed as Inter Partes Case No. 142005-00094. Fredco alleged that Registration No. 56561 was issued to Harvard University on 25 November 1993 for the mark "Harvard Veritas Shield Symbol" for decals, tote bags, serving trays, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats and flying discs under Classes 16, 18, 21, 25 and 28 of the Nice International Classification of Goods and Services. Fredco alleged that the mark "Harvard" for t-shirts, polo shirts, sandos, briefs, jackets and slacks was first used in the Philippines on 2 January 1982 by New York Garments Manufacturing & Export Co., Inc. (New York Garments), a domestic corporation and Fredco's predecessor-in-interest. On 24 January 1985, New York Garments filed for trademark registration of the mark "Harvard" for goods under Class 25. The application matured into a registration and a Certificate of Registration was issued on 12 December 1988, with a 20-year term subject to renewal at the end of the term. The registration was later assigned to Romeo Chuateco, a member of the family that owned New York Garments. Fredco alleged that it was formed and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on 9 November 1995 and had since then handled the manufacture, promotion and marketing of "Harvard" clothing articles. Fredco alleged that at the time of issuance of Registration No. 56561 to Harvard University, New York Garments had already registered the mark "Harvard" for goods under Class 25. Fredco alleged that the registration was cancelled on 30 July 1998 when New York Garments inadvertently failed to file an affidavit of use/non-use on the fifth anniversary of the registration but the right to the mark "Harvard" remained with its predecessor New York Garments and now with Fredco.

Harvard University, on the other hand, alleged that it is the lawful owner of the name and mark "Harvard" in numerous countries worldwide, including the Philippines. Among the countries where Harvard University has registered its name and mark "Harvard" are: Argentina Benelux[4] Brazil Canada Chile China P.R. Colombia Costa Rica Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Ecuador Egypt Finland France Great Britain Germany Greece Hong Kong India Indonesia Ireland Israel Italy 26. South Korea 27. Malaysia 28. Mexico 29. New Zealand 30. Norway 31. Peru 32. Philippines 33. Poland 34. Portugal 35. Russia 36. South Africa 37. Switzerland 38. Singapore 39. Slovak Republic 40. Spain 41. Sweden 42. Taiwan 43. Thailand 44. Turkey 45. United Arab Emirates 46. Uruguay 47. United States of America 48. Venezuela 49. Zimbabwe

Japan

50. European Community[5]

The name and mark "Harvard" was adopted in 1639 as the name of Harvard College [6] of Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. The name and mark "Harvard" was allegedly used in commerce as early as 1872. Harvard University is over 350 years old and is a highly regarded institution of higher learning in the United States and throughout the world. Harvard University promotes, uses, and advertises its name "Harvard" through various publications, services, and products in foreign countries, including the Philippines. Harvard University further alleged that the name and the mark have been rated as one of the most famous brands in the world, valued between US $750,000,000 and US $1,000,000,000. Harvard University alleged that in March 2002, it discovered, through its international trademark watch program, Fredco's website www.harvard-usa.com. The website advertises and promotes the brand name "Harvard Jeans USA" without Harvard University's consent. The website's main page shows an oblong logo bearing the mark "Harvard Jeans USA," "Established 1936," and "Cambridge, Massachusetts." On 20 April 2004, Harvard University filed an administrative complaint against Fredco before the IPO for trademark infringement and/or unfair competition with damages. Harvard University alleged that its valid and existing certificates of trademark registration in the Philippines are: Trademark Registration No. 56561 issued on 25 November 1993 for "Harvard Veritas Shield Design" for goods and services in Classes 16, 18, 21, 25 and 28 (decals, tote bags, serving trays, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats and flying discs) of the Nice International Classification of Goods and Services; Trademark Registration No. 57526 issued on 24 March 1994 for "Harvard Veritas Shield Symbol" for services in Class 41; Trademark Registration No. 56539 issued on 25 November 1998 for "Harvard" for services in Class 41; and Trademark Registration No. 66677 issued on 8 December 1998 for "Harvard Graphics" for goods in Class 9. Harvard University further alleged that it filed the requisite affidavits of use for the mark "Harvard Veritas Shield Symbol" with the IPO.

Further, on 7 May 2003 Harvard University filed Trademark Application No. 4-2003-04090 for "Harvard Medical International & Shield Design" for services in Classes 41 and 44. In 1989, Harvard University established the Harvard Trademark Licensing Program, operated by the Office for Technology and Trademark Licensing, to oversee and manage the worldwide licensing of the "Harvard" name and trademarks for various goods and services. Harvard University stated that it never authorized or licensed any person to use its name and mark "Harvard" in connection with any goods or services in the Philippines. In a Decision[7] dated 22 December 2006, Director Estrellita Beltran-Abelardo of the Bureau of Legal Affairs, IPO cancelled Harvard University's registration of the mark "Harvard" under Class 25, as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Cancellation is hereby GRANTED. Consequently, Trademark Registration Number 56561 for the trademark "HARVARD VE RI TAS `SHIELD' SYMBOL" issued on November 25, 1993 to PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLEGE (HARVARD UNIVERSITY) should be CANCELLED only with respect to goods falling under Class 25. On the other hand, considering that the goods of Respondent-Registrant falling under Classes 16, 18, 21 and 28 are not confusingly similar with the Petitioner's goods, the Respondent-Registrant has acquired vested right over the same and therefore, should not be cancelled. Let the filewrapper of the Trademark Registration No. 56561 issued on November 25, 1993 for the trademark "HARVARD VE RI TAS `SHIELD' SYMBOL", subject matter of this case together with a copy of this Decision be forwarded to the Bureau of Trademarks (BOT) for appropriate action. SO ORDERED.[8]

Harvard University filed an appeal before the Office of the Director General of the IPO. In a Decision[9] dated 21 April 2008, the Office of the Director General, IPO reversed the decision of the Bureau of Legal Affairs, IPO. The Director General ruled that more than the use of the trademark in the Philippines, the applicant must be the owner of the mark sought to be registered. The Director General ruled that the right to register a trademark is based on ownership and when the applicant is not the owner, he has no right to register the mark. The Director General noted that the mark covered by Harvard University's Registration No. 56561 is not only the word "Harvard" but also the logo, emblem or symbol of Harvard University. The Director General ruled that Fredco failed to explain how its predecessor New York Garments came up with the mark "Harvard." In addition, there was no evidence that Fredco or New York Garments was licensed or authorized by Harvard University to use its name in commerce or for any other use. The dispositive portion of the decision of the Office of the Director General, IPO reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is GRANTED. The appealed decision is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Let a copy of this Decision as well as the trademark application and records be furnished and returned to the Director of Bureau of Legal Affairs for appropriate action. Further, let also the Directors of the Bureau of Trademarks and the Administrative, Financial and Human Resources Development Services Bureau, and the library of the Documentation, Information and Technology Transfer Bureau be furnished a copy of this Decision for information, guidance, and records purposes. SO ORDERED.[10]

Fredco filed a petition for review before the Court of Appeals assailing the decision of the Director General. The Decision of the Court of Appeals

In its assailed decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Office of the Director General of the IPO. The Court of Appeals adopted the findings of the Office of the Director General and ruled that the latter correctly set aside the cancellation by the Director of the Bureau of Legal Affairs of Harvard University's trademark registration under Class 25. The Court of Appeals ruled that Harvard University was able to substantiate that it appropriated and used the marks "Harvard" and "Harvard Veritas Shield Symbol" in Class 25 way ahead of Fredco and its predecessor New York Garments. The Court of Appeals also ruled that the records failed to disclose any explanation for Fredco's use of the name and mark "Harvard" and the words "USA," "Established 1936," and "Cambridge, Massachusetts" within an oblong device, "US Legend" and "Europe's No. 1 Brand." Citing Shangri-La International Hotel Management, Ltd. v. Developers Group of Companies, Inc.,[11] the Court of Appeals ruled: One who has imitated the trademark of another cannot bring an action for infringement, particularly against the true owner of the mark, because he would be coming to court with unclean hands. Priority is of no avail to the bad faith plaintiff. Good faith is required in order to ensure that a second user may not merely take advantage of the goodwill established by the true owner.[12]

The dispositive portion of the decision of the Court of Appeals reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review is DENIED. The Decision dated April 21, 2008 of the Director General of the IPO in Appeal No. 14-07-09 Inter Partes Case No. 14-2005-00094 is hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.[13]

Fredco

filed

motion

for

reconsideration.

In its Resolution promulgated on 8 January 2009, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for lack of merit. Hence, this petition before the Court. The Issue

The issue in this case is whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in affirming the decision of the Office of the Director General of the IPO. The Ruling of this Court

The

petition

has

no

merit.

There is no dispute that the mark "Harvard" used by Fredco is the same as the mark "Harvard" in the "Harvard Veritas Shield Symbol" of Harvard University. It is also not disputed that Harvard University was named Harvard College in 1639 and that then, as now, Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. It is also unrefuted that Harvard University has been using the mark "Harvard" in commerce since 1872. It is also established that Harvard University has been using the marks "Harvard" and "Harvard Veritas Shield Symbol" for Class 25 goods in the United States since 1953. Further, there is no dispute that Harvard University has registered the name and mark "Harvard" in at least 50 countries. On the other hand, Fredco's predecessor-in-interest, New York Garments, started using the mark "Harvard" in the Philippines only in 1982. New York Garments filed an application with the Philippine Patent Office in 1985 to register the mark "Harvard," which application was approved in 1988. Fredco insists that the date of actual use in the Philippines should prevail on the issue of who has the better right to register the marks. Under Section 2 of Republic Act No. 166,[14] as amended (R.A. No. 166), before a trademark can be registered, it must have been actually used in commerce for not less than two months in the Philippines prior to the filing of an application for its registration. While Harvard University had actual prior use of its marks abroad for a long time, it did not have actual prior use in the Philippines of the mark "Harvard Veritas Shield Symbol" before its application for registration of the mark "Harvard" with the then Philippine Patents Office. However, Harvard University's registration of the name "Harvard" is based on home registration which is allowed under Section 37 of R.A. No. 166.[15] As pointed out by Harvard University in its Comment: Although Section 2 of the Trademark law (R.A. 166) requires for the registration of trademark that the applicant thereof must prove that the same has been actually in use in commerce or services for not less than two (2) months in the Philippines before the application for registration is filed, where the trademark sought to be registered has already been registered in a foreign country that is a member of the Paris Convention, the requirement of proof of use in the commerce in the Philippines for the said period is not necessary. An applicant for registration based on home certificate of registration need not even have used the mark or trade name in this country.[16]

Indeed, in its Petition for Cancellation of Registration No. 56561, Fredco alleged that Harvard University's registration "is based on `home registration' for the mark `Harvard Veritas Shield' for Class 25."[17] In any event, under Section 239.2 of Republic Act No. 8293 (R.A. No. 8293),[18] "[m]arks registered under Republic Act No. 166 shall remain in force but shall be deemed to have been granted under this Act x x x," which does not require actual prior use of the mark in the Philippines. Since the mark "Harvard Veritas Shield Symbol" is now deemed granted under R.A. No. 8293, any alleged defect arising from the absence of actual prior use in the Philippines has been cured by Section 239.2.[19]In addition, Fredco's registration was already cancelled on 30 July 1998 when it failed to file the required affidavit of use/non-use for the fifth anniversary of the mark's registration. Hence, at the time of Fredco's filing of the Petition for Cancellation before the Bureau of Legal Affairs of the IPO, Fredco was no longer the registrant or presumptive owner of the mark "Harvard."

There

are

two

compelling

reasons

why

Fredco's

petition

must

fail.

First, Fredco's registration of the mark "Harvard" and its identification of origin as "Cambridge, Massachusetts" falsely suggest that Fredco or its goods are connected with Harvard University, which uses the same mark "Harvard" and is also located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This can easily be gleaned from the following oblong logo of Fredco that it attaches to its clothing line: (see image) Fredco's registration of the mark "Harvard" should not have been allowed because Section 4(a) of R.A. No. 166 prohibits the registration of a mark "which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs x x x." Section 4(a) of R.A. No. 166 provides: Section 4. Registration of trade-marks, trade-names and service- marks on the principal register. ? There is hereby established a register of trade-mark, trade-names and service-marks which shall be known as the principal register. The owner of a trade-mark, a trade-name or service-mark used to distinguish his goods, business or services from the goods, business or services of others shall have the right to register the same on the principal register, unless it: (a) Consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive or scandalous manner, or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection withpersons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute; (b) x x x (emphasis supplied)

Fredco's use of the mark "Harvard," coupled with its claimed origin in Cambridge, Massachusetts, obviously suggests a false connection with Harvard University. On this ground alone, Fredco's registration of the mark "Harvard" should have been disallowed. Indisputably, Fredco does not have any affiliation or connection with Harvard University, or even with Cambridge, Massachusetts. Fredco or its predecessor New York Garments was not established in 1936, or in the U.S.A. as indicated by Fredco in its oblong logo. Fredco offered no explanation to the Court of Appeals or to the IPO why it used the mark "Harvard" on its oblong logo with the words "Cambridge, Massachusetts," "Established in 1936," and "USA." Fredco now claims before this Court that it used these words "to evoke a `lifestyle' or suggest a `desirable aura' of petitioner's clothing lines." Fredco's belated justification merely confirms that it sought to connect or associate its products with Harvard University, riding on the prestige and popularity of Harvard University, and thus appropriating part of Harvard University's goodwill without the latter's consent. Section 4(a) of R.A. No. 166 is identical to Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, [20] the trademark law of the United States. These provisions are intended to protect the right of publicity of famous individuals and institutions from commercial exploitation of their goodwill by others.[21] What Fredco has done in using the mark "Harvard" and the words "Cambridge, Massachusetts," "USA" to evoke a "desirable aura" to its products is precisely to exploit commercially the goodwill of Harvard University without the latter's consent. This is a clear violation of Section 4(a) of R.A. No. 166. Under Section 17(c)[22] of R.A. No. 166,

such violation is a ground for cancellation of Fredco's registration of the mark "Harvard" because the registration was obtained in violation of Section 4 of R.A. No. 166. Second, the Philippines and the United States of America are both signatories to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention). The Philippines became a signatory to the Paris Convention on 27 September 1965. Articles 6bis and 8 of the Paris Convention state: ARTICLE 6bis

(i) The countries of the Union undertake either administratively if their legislation so permits, or at the request of an interested party, to refuse or to cancel the registration and to prohibit the use of a trademark which constitutes a reproduction, imitation or translation, liable to create confusion or a mark considered by the competent authority of the country as being already the mark of a person entitled to the benefits of the present Convention and used for identical or similar goods. These provisions shall also apply when the essential part of the mark constitutes a reproduction of any such well-known mark or an imitation liable to create confusion therewith. ARTICLE 8

A trade name shall be protected in all the countries of the Unionwithout the obligation of filing or registration, whether or not it forms part of a trademark. (Emphasis supplied)

Thus, this Court has ruled that the Philippines is obligated to assure nationals of countries of the Paris Convention that they are afforded an effective protection against violation of their intellectual property rights in the Philippines in the same way that their own countries are obligated to accord similar protection to Philippine nationals.[23] Article 8 of the Paris Convention has been incorporated in Section 37 of R.A. No. 166, as follows: Section 37. Rights of foreign registrants. -- Persons who are nationals of, domiciled in, or have a bona fide or effective business or commercial establishment in any foreign country, which is a party to any international convention or treaty relating to marks or trade-names, or the repression of unfair competition to which the Philippines may be a party, shall be entitled to the benefits and subject to the provisions of this Act to the extent and under the conditions essential to give effect to any such convention and treaties so long as the Philippines shall continue to be a party thereto, except as provided in the following paragraphs of this section. x x x x

Trade-names of persons described in the first paragraph of this section shall be protected without the obligation of filing or registration whether or not they form parts of marks.[24] x x x x (Emphasis supplied)

Thus, under Philippine law, a trade name of a national of a State that is a party to the Paris Convention, whether or not the trade name forms part of a trademark, is protected "without the obligation of filing or registration." "Harvard" is the trade name of the world famous Harvard University, and it is also a trademark of Harvard University. Under Article 8 of the Paris Convention, as well as Section 37 of R.A. No. 166, Harvard University is entitled to protection in the Philippines of its trade name "Harvard" even without registration of such trade name in the Philippines. This means that no educational entity in the Philippines can use the trade name "Harvard" without the consent of Harvard University. Likewise, no entity in the Philippines can claim, expressly or impliedly through the use of the name and mark "Harvard," that its products or services are authorized, approved, or licensed by, or sourced from, Harvard University without the latter's consent. Article 6bis of the Paris Convention has been administratively implemented in the Philippines through two directives of the then Ministry (now Department) of Trade, which directives were upheld by this Court in several cases.[25] On 20 November 1980, then Minister of Trade Secretary Luis Villafuerte issued a Memorandum directing the Director of Patents to reject, pursuant to the Paris Convention, all pending applications for Philippine registration of signature and other world-famous trademarks by applicants other than their original owners.[26] The Memorandum states: Pursuant to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property to which the Philippines is a signatory, you are hereby directed to reject all pending applications for Philippine registration of signature and other world-famous trademarks by applicants other than its original owners or users. The conflicting claims over internationally known trademarks involve such name brands as Lacoste, Jordache, Vanderbilt, Sasson, Fila, Pierre Cardin, Gucci, Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, Ralph Lauren, Geoffrey Beene, Lanvin and Ted Lapidus. It is further directed that, in cases where warranted, Philippine registrants of such trademarks should be asked to surrender their certificates of registration, if any, to avoid suits for damages and other legal action by the trademarks' foreign or local owners or original users. You are also required to submit to the undersigned a progress report on the matter. For immediate compliance.[27]

In a Memorandum dated 25 October 1983, then Minister of Trade and Industry Roberto Ongpin affirmed the earlier Memorandum of Minister Villafuerte. Minister Ongpin directed the Director of Patents to implement measures necessary to comply with the Philippines' obligations under the Paris Convention, thus: Whether the trademark under consideration is well-known in the Philippines or is a mark already belonging to a person entitled to the benefits of the CONVENTION, this should be established, pursuant

to Philippine Patent Office procedures in inter partes and ex parte cases, according to any of the following criteriaor any combination thereof: (a) a declaration by the Minister of Trade and Industry that the trademark being considered is already well-known in the Philippines such that permission for its use by other than its original owner will constitute a reproduction, imitation, translation or other infringement; (b) that the trademark is used in commerce internationally, supported by proof that goods bearing the trademark are sold on an international scale, advertisements, the establishment of factories, sales offices, distributorships, and the like, in different countries, including volume or other measure of international trade and commerce; (c) that the trademark is duly registered in the industrial property office(s) of another country or countries, taking into consideration the dates of such registration; (d) that the trademark has been long established and obtained goodwill and general international consumer recognition as belonging to one owner or source; (e) that the trademark actually belongs to a party claiming ownership and has the right to registration under the provisions of the aforestated PARIS CONVENTION. The word trademark, as used in this MEMORANDUM, shall include tradenames, service marks, logos, signs, emblems, insignia or other similar devices used for identification and recognition by consumers. The Philippine Patent Office shall refuse all applications for, or cancel the registration of, trademarks which constitute a reproduction, translation or imitation of a trademark owned by a person, natural or corporate, who is a citizen of a country signatory to the PARIS CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY. x x x x[28] (Emphasis supplied)

In Mirpuri, the Court ruled that the essential requirement under Article 6bis of the Paris Convention is that the trademark to be protected must be "well-known" in the country where protection is sought.[29] The Court declared that the power to determine whether a trademark is well-known lies in the competent authority of the country of registration or use.[30] The Court then stated that the competent authority would either be the registering authority if it has the power to decide this, or the courts of the country in question if the issue comes before the courts.[31] To be protected under the two directives of the Ministry of Trade, an internationally well-known mark need not be registered or used in the Philippines.[32] All that is required is that the mark is well-known internationally and in the Philippines for identical or similar goods, whether or not the mark is registered or used in the Philippines. The Court ruled in Sehwani, Incorporated v. In-N-Out Burger, Inc.:[33]

The fact that respondent's marks are neither registered nor used in the Philippines is of no moment. The scope of protection initially afforded by Article 6bis of the Paris Convention has been expanded in the 1999 Joint Recommendation Concerning Provisions on the Protection of Well-Known Marks, wherein the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly and the Paris Union agreed to a nonbinding recommendation that a well-known mark should be protected in a country even if the mark is neither registered nor used in that country. Part I, Article 2(3) thereof provides: (3) [Factors Which Shall Not Be Required] (a) A Member State shall not require, as a condition for determining whether a mark is a well-known mark: (i) that the mark has been used in, or that the mark has been registered or that an application for registration of the mark has been filed in or in respect of, the Member State: (ii) that the mark is well known in, or that the mark has been registered or that an application for registration of the mark has been filed in or in respect of, any jurisdiction other than the Member State; or (iii) that the mark is well known by the public at large in the Member State. [34] (Italics in the original decision; boldface supplied)

Indeed, Section 123.1(e) of R.A. No. 8293 now categorically states that "a mark which is considered by the competent authority of the Philippines to be well-known internationally and in the Philippines, whether or not it is registered here," cannot be registered by another in the Philippines. Section 123.1(e) does not require that the well-known mark be used in commerce in the Philippines but only that it be well-known in the Philippines. Moreover, Rule 102 of the Rules and Regulations on Trademarks, Service Marks, Trade Names and Marked or Stamped Containers, which implement R.A. No. 8293, provides: Rule 102. Criteria for determining whether a mark is well-known. In determining whether a mark is wellknown, the following criteria or any combination thereof may be taken into account: (a) the duration, extent and geographical area of any use of the mark, in particular, the duration, extent and geographical area of any promotion of the mark, including advertising or publicity and the presentation, at fairs or exhibitions, of the goods and/or services to which the mark applies; (b) the market share, in the Philippines and in other countries, of the goods and/or services to which the mark applies; (c) (d) (e) (f) the the the the degree of the inherent or the or acquired distinction by in in of the the the the mark; mark; world; world;

quality-image extent to which of

reputation mark has

acquired been by

registered the mark

exclusivity

registration

attained

(g) (h) (i) (j)

the the the the

extent

to

which of value successful use

the

mark attained

has by to of

been the the the

used mark mark rights

in in in in

the the the the

world; world; world; mark;

exclusivity commercial record of

attributed protection

(k) the outcome of litigations dealing with the issue of whether the mark is a well-known mark; and (l) the presence or absence of identical or similar marks validly registered for or used on identical or similar goods or services and owned by persons other than the person claiming that his mark is a wellknown mark. (Emphasis supplied)

Since "any combination" of the foregoing criteria is sufficient to determine that a mark is well-known, it is clearly not necessary that the mark be used in commerce in the Philippines. Thus, while under the territoriality principle a mark must be used in commerce in the Philippines to be entitled to protection, internationally well-known marks are the exceptions to this rule. In the assailed Decision of the Office of the Director General dated 21 April 2008, the Director General found that: Traced to its roots or origin, HARVARD is not an ordinary word. It refers to no other than Harvard University, a recognized and respected institution of higher learning located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Initially referred to simply as "the new college," the institution was named "Harvard College" on 13 March 1639, after its first principal donor, a young clergyman named John Harvard. A graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge in England, John Harvard bequeathed about four hundred books in his will to form the basis of the college library collection, along with half his personal wealth worth several hundred pounds. The earliest known official reference to Harvard as a "university" rather than "college" occurred in the new Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. Records also show that the first use of the name HARVARD was in 1638 for educational services, policy courses of instructions and training at the university level. It has a Charter. Its first commercial use of the name or mark HARVARD for Class 25 was on 31 December 1953 covered by UPTON Reg. No. 2,119,339 and 2,101,295. Assuming in arguendo, that the Appellate may have used the mark HARVARD in the Philippines ahead of the Appellant, it still cannot be denied that the Appellant's use thereof was decades, even centuries, ahead of the Appellee's. More importantly, the name HARVARD was the name of a person whose deeds were considered to be a cornerstone of the university. The Appellant's logos, emblems or symbols are owned by Harvard University. The name HARVARD and the logos, emblems or symbols are endemic and cannot be separated from the institution.[35]

Finally, in its assailed Decision, the Court of Appeals ruled:

Records show that Harvard University is the oldest and one of the foremost educational institutions in the United States, it being established in 1636. It is located primarily in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was named after John Harvard, a puritan minister who left to the college his books and half of his estate. The mark "Harvard College" was first used in commerce in the United States in 1638 for educational services, specifically, providing courses of instruction and training at the university level (Class 41). Its application for registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office was filed on September 20, 2000 and it was registered on October 16, 2001. The marks "Harvard" and "Harvard Ve ri tas `Shield' Symbol" were first used in commerce in the the United States on December 31, 1953 for athletic uniforms, boxer shorts, briefs, caps, coats, leather coats, sports coats, gym shorts, infant jackets, leather jackets, night shirts, shirts, socks, sweat pants, sweatshirts, sweaters and underwear (Class 25). The applications for registration with the USPTO were filed on September 9, 1996, the mark "Harvard" was registered on December 9, 1997 and the mark "Harvard Ve ri tas `Shield' Symbol" was registered on September 30, 1997.[36] We also note that in a Decision[37] dated 18 December 2008 involving a separate case between Harvard University and Streetward International, Inc.,[38] the Bureau of Legal Affairs of the IPO ruled that the mark "Harvard" is a "well-known mark." This Decision, which cites among others the numerous trademark registrations of Harvard University in various countries, has become final and executory. There is no question then, and this Court so declares, that "Harvard" is a well-known name and mark not only in the United States but also internationally, including the Philippines. The mark "Harvard" is rated as one of the most famous marks in the world. It has been registered in at least 50 countries. It has been used and promoted extensively in numerous publications worldwide. It has established a considerable goodwill worldwide since the founding of Harvard University more than 350 years ago. It is easily recognizable as the trade name and mark of Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A., internationally known as one of the leading educational institutions in the world. As such, even before Harvard University applied for registration of the mark "Harvard" in the Philippines, the mark was already protected under Article 6bis and Article 8 of the Paris Convention. Again, even without applying the Paris Convention, Harvard University can invoke Section 4(a) of R.A. No. 166 which prohibits the registration of a mark "which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs x x x." WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the 24 October 2008 Decision and 8 January 2009 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 103394. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-24075 January 31, 1974

CRISANTA Y. GABRIEL, petitioner, vs. DR. JOSE R. PEREZ and HONORABLE TIBURCIO EVALLE as Director of Patents, respondents. Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno for petitioner. Jesus I. Santos for respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez. Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant Solicitor General Antonio G. Ibarra and Solicitor Alicia V. Sempio-Diy for respondent Director of Patents.

MAKASIAR, J.:1wph1.t Petition for review of the decision dated July 18, 1964 of the respondent Director of Patents denying the petition of herein petitioner Crisanta Y. Gabriel to cancel and revoke certificate of registration No. SR389 covering the trademark "WONDER" used on beauty soap issued on May 11, 1961 to herein private respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez.. On October 19, 1962, petitioner Crisanta Y. Gabriel filed with the Patent Office a petition for cancellation of the trademark "WONDER from the supplemental register alleging that the registrant was not entitled to register the said trademark at the time of his application for registration; that the trademark was not used and has not been actually used by registrant at the time he applied for its registration; that it was thru fraud and misrepresentation that the registration was procured by the registrant; and that it was she who has been actually using the said trademark since March, 1959, and as such is the rightful and recognized owner thereof and therefore entitled to its registration. In support of her petition, she further alleged the written contract between her and the registrant (respondent) wherein, according to her, the latter has recognized her right of use and ownership of said trademark; and that the labels submitted by the registrant are the very containers bearing the trademark "WONDER" which are owned by her and which she has been exclusively and continuously using in commerce (pp. 24-25, Vol. I, rec.). Respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez, in due time, duly filed his answer denying each and every ground for cancellation alleged in the said petition, and further averring that there is pending in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan a civil case (No. 2422) for unfair competition with injunction and damages filed by him against herein petitioner involving the manufacture of beauty soap and the use of the trademark "WONDER"; that a writ of preliminary injunction has been issued on September 7, 1961 by the said court against herein petitioner restraining her "from making, manufacturing and producing 'Wonder Bleaching Beauty Soap' with the same labels and chemical ingredients as those of the plaintiff, and from advertising, selling and distributing the same products"; and that no right of petitioner had been violated and therefore no cause of action exists in favor of petitioner (pp. 28-32, Vol. I, rec.). Issues having been joined, the case was heard and thereafter, respondent Director of Patents rendered his decision denying the petition to cancel the certificate of registration (pp. 139-150, Vol. 1, rec.).

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration on the ground that the decision is contrary to law and the evidence; but the same was denied on January 15, 1965 by respondent Director of Patents for lack of merit (p. 158, Vol. rec.). Hence, this petition for review filed on January 28, 1965 by herein petitioner (pp. 1-5, Vol. IV, rec.). Respondents were required to answer the same, and respondent Director Tiburcio Evalle filed his answer on August 6, 1965 (pp. 29-32, Vol. IV, rec.). Private respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez did not file an answer. Thereafter, both parties were required to file their respective briefs and petitioner filed one on September 28, 1965 (p. 38, Vol. IV, rec.), while respondent Director Evalle filed his brief on February 23, 1966 (p. 53, Vol. IV, rec.). Again, private respondent Perez did not file a brief as his counsel's motion for an extension of time within which to file one was denied by this Court for being late (pp. 41-42, Vol. IV, rec.). Consequently, the case was submitted for decision on May 22, 1966. On May 22, 1973, counsel for private respondent filed a motion for the early resolution of the case alleging among others that "respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez had died already and still Crisanta Y. Gabriel, the petitioner in this case, has been continuously harassing the rights of the late Dr. Jose R. Perez as far as the ownership and use of the trademark are concerned." (Pp. 59-61, Vol. IV, rec.) [No motion been filed for substitution of the heirs in lieu of the deceased private respondent.] By way of factual background, herein private respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez filed with the Patents Office on February 23, 1961 an application for registration of the trademark "WONDER" in the Supplemental Register. After due and proper proceedings, the said petition was approved and the trademark "WONDER" was registered, as prayed for, in the Supplemental Register. Thereafter, Certificate of Registration No. SR-389 was issued to and in the name of herein private respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez. Said trademark "WONDER" is used by said private respondent on bleaching beauty soap (Medicated and Special) which under the Official Classification of Merchandise (Rule 82) of the Board of Patents falls under Class 51. Private respondent Dr. Perez, in his petition for registration, claimed March 10, 1953 as the date of first use of said trademark and August 1, 1953 as the date of first use of said trademark in commerce in the Philippines (see pp. 1-7, Vol. I, rec.). Petitioner Crisanta Y. Gabriel on the other hand, earlier filed on October 3, 1960 with the Patent Office a petition to register the same trademark "WONDER" and claimed March 7, 1959 as the date of first use of said trademark in commerce. Said petition was dismissed on November 18, 1960 by the Patents Office (thru its examiner) on the ground that said petitioner was not the owner of the trademark sought to be registered, informing at the same time petitioner that "as shown on the labels submitted, it appear that Dr. Jose R. Perez is the owner of the present mark ... ." Subsequently, on March 23, 1961, the said application was considered abandoned under Rules 97 and 98 of the Revised Rules of Practice in Trademark Cases for failure of petitioner to comply with Rule 93 of the same Revised Rules (see p. 8, Vol. I, rec.; pp. 7986, Vol. III, rec.). Later, said applicant was revived, but further consideration thereof was suspended by the Patents Office until final determination of the present case wondering that the matter of ownership of the trademark "WONDER" is in dispute (see p. 9, Vol. I, rec.). The main facts of this case as substantially supported by the evidence on record, are related by respondent Director of Patents in the decision now under review, thus:

... Way back in 1953, the Respondent who claims to be a medical researcher and manufacturer, was experimenting on the creation of a beauty soap. Having discovered a workable formula he applied from the Bureau of Health for the issuance of a Certificate of Label Approval and on June 6, 1958 he was issued such certificate. It covers a beauty soap for bleaching, which whitens or sometimes softens the skin. (t.s.n., p. 48, Aug. 27, 1963). This certificate (Exh. "5") particularly describes and mentions "Dr. Perez" Wonder Beauty Soap. He continued experimenting until he was able to discover an improved soap formula which he claims that aside from bleaching or whitening the skin it also allegedly removes pimples, freckles, dandruff, scabies, itching, head lice(s), rashes, falling of hair, and shallow wrinkles (t.s.n. p. 49, Aug. 27, 1963). For such product he obtained another certificate of label approval from the Bureau of Health on August 10, 1959 (Exh. "6"). This document also particularly describes "Dr. Perez Wonder Beauty Soap (Improved Formula)." In January, 1959 he made an agreement with a certain company named "Manserco" for the distribution of his soap. It was then being managed by Mariano S. Yangga who happens to be the brother of the Petitioner Crisanta Y. Gabriel (t.s.n., pp. 3-4, Aug. 27, 1963). This was corroborated by Mr. August Cesar Espiritu who testified in favor of the Respondent. Mr. Espiritu claims to be the organizer and one of the incorporators of "Manserco," although really no document of its corporate existence was introduced as evidence in this case (t.s.n., pp. 55-57, Sept. 23, 1963). However, this fact had never been disputed by the Petitioner. Because the corporation was allegedly going bankrupt and the members were deserting, the Respondent terminated the agreement in July, 1959, and thereafter he asked the Petitioner to become the distributor of his products (t.s.n., pp. 4-5, Aug. 27, 1963) and on September 1, 1959, a contract of "Exclusive Distributorship" was executed between the Petitioner and the Respondent. (Exh. "7"; "F-l" to "F-2".) The agreement is hereunder reproduced, to wit: EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTORSHIP AGREEMENT KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENT: THIS AGREEMENT made and executed by and between DR. JOSE R. PEREZ, Filipino, of legal age, a resident of Sta. Maria, Bulacan, now and hereinafter called the Party of the First Part, AND CRISANTA Y. GABRIEL, likewise Filipino, of legal age, a resident of 1558 Camarines St., Manila, now and hereinafter called the Party of the Second Part, WITNESSETH 1. That the Party of the First Part hereby agrees and binds himself to make the Party of the Second Part the sole and exclusive distributor of his product called and popularly known as "Dr. Perez" Wonder Medicated Beauty Soap' for the whole Philippines for a period of five (5) years from date of perfection of this agreement, renewable for another five (5) years at the mutual agreement of both parties; 2. That the Party of the First Part hereby agrees to sell to the Party of the Second Part the abovementioned merchandise at the rate of sixty (P.60) centavos a piece which shall have a minimum weight of eighty

(80) grams; PROVIDED however that said price may be subject to change in cases of deflation and inflation of the peso; 3. That the Party of the First Part hereby binds himself to make delivery of the merchandise under contract at 1558 Camarines St., Manila, the cost of the same being for the account of the former; 4. That the Party of the First Part hereby agrees to extend to the Party of the Second Part a credit line of TWO THOUSAND (P2,000.00) PESOS with accounts due and payable on the 5th and 20th of each month with a maximum of sixty days from date of receipt of the merchandise by the Party of the Second Part; 5. That the Party of the First Part guarantees the production of the full quantity of Dr. Perez Wonder Medicated Beauty Soap that the Party of the Second Part could sell and distribute; with the latter giving the former a written notice of the same; 6. That the Party of the Second Part has the exclusive right of ownership of the packages and that said party is responsible for the costs as well as the design and the manner of packing the same; 7. That the Party of the First Part hereby binds himself not to give or sell to any person or entity the same product or any similar product or products of the same name during the term and duration of this contract; 8. That this contract is binding upon the administrator, heirs and assigns of both parties during the term and duration of this agreement; 9. That this contract will take effect upon the signing thereof. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties and their witnesses have hereunder set their hands at Manila this 1st day of September, 1959. (See pp. 11-13, Vol. IV, rec.). At this juncture, mention should be made of the Petitioner's commercial background, as it appears in the record. Her documentary exhibits show that she was registered as a bona fide Filipino retailer as of April 8, 1958 (Exh. "C"); that she was doing business under the name "Gabriel Grocery and Cold Store" as of March 20, 1958 (Exh. "A"); and that on September 24, 1959 she obtained another certificate of registration for the firm name "Wonder Commercial Co., Inc.," she being the Manager thereof (Exh. "B"). (Pp. 10-13, Vol. IV, rec.). Respondent Director of Patents set forth the evidence of the petitioner as follows: From the evidence presented by her, she endeavors to prove that even before the execution of the agreement (Exh "F-1") or particularly on March 11, 1959 she hired the services of Eriberto Flores (t.s.n., pp. 43-52, May 23, 1963) who allegedly designed the packages for which she paid him the sum of P50.00 (Exh. "FF"). Thereafter she allegedly started the sales promotion of the Respondent's product by extensive advertisement through some magazines (Exhs. "G"; "G-l"; and "H"), the radio (Exhs. "I"-"18"), and the cinema by means of projector "slides" (Exhs. "M" and "N") in various neighborhood theatres in the Philippines (Exhs. "O" to "-48"). She also allegedly caused the printing of thousands of boxes and literature accompanying the soap with printing companies (Exhs. "P", "Q", "R", "S", "T", "U", "V", "W", and "X" to "X-8"). She also presented a few sales invoices, the earliest of which was issued on November 4, 1959 by the Wonder Commercial Co., Inc., showing sales of the "Wonder Soap." (Exh.

"Y"). Another booklet of sales invoices under the firm name "C.Y. Gabriel" showing sales of the same soap, the earliest of which was August 13, 1960 was also presented (Exhs. "Z" and "AA"). All the while the packages (Exhs. "D" and "E") and literature (Exh. "W") indicate that the soap is known as "Dr. Perez Bleaching Beauty Soap" manufactured by Dr. Jose R. Perez Cosmetic Laboratory and that the exclusive distributor is "Crisanta Y. Gabriel (C.Y Gabriel)", the herein Petitioner. As further evidence of sale, the Petitioner presented as witness Pedro Alvero, a businessman from San Pablo City who, as alleged dealer in medicinal products, toiletries, etc., testified as having purchased from her "Wonder" soap in 1959 up to 1961 (t.s.n., pp. 43-52, May 23, 1963). (See pp. 13-14, Vol IV, rec.). I The determination that Dr. Perez is the rightful owner of the disputed trademark "WONDER" and the consequent denial by the respondent Director of Patents of the petition to cancel certificate of registration No. SR-389 covering said trademark issued to and in the name of Dr. Jose R. Perez, were based mainly on his finding that Dr. Perez had priority of adoption and use of the said trademark. And such finding of fact is conclusive on this Court. As stated by Justice Fernando in Lim Kiah vs. Kaynee Company (25 SCRA 485) and reiterated by him in the subsequent case of Sy Ching vs. Gaw Liu (44 SCRA 150-151): "It is well-settled that we are precluded from making an inquiry as the finding of facts of the Director of Patents in the absence of any showing that there was grave abuse of discretion is binding on us. As set forth by Justice Makalintal in Chung Te vs. Ng Kian Giab (18 SCRA 747): 'The rule is that findings of facts by the Director of Patents are conclusive on the Supreme Court provided that they are supported by substantial evidence.' " In the present case, the findings of fact of the respondent Director of Patents are substantially supported by evidence and no grave abuse of discretion was committed by said respondent. 1. At the time of the analysis of the soap product of private respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez, there was already a label or trademark known as "Dr. Perez' WONDER Beauty Soap" as shown and supported by Exhibit "5" which is a Certificate of Label Approval dated June 6, 1958 (p. 103, Vol. III, rec.) and Exhibit "6" another Certificate of Label Approval dated August 10, 1959 (p. 104, Vol. III, rec.) both issued by the Bureau of Health to Dr. Jose R. Perez as manager of the Dr. Jose R. Perez Cosmetic Laboratory. Both certificates identified the product covered as "Dr. Perez' Wonder Beauty Soap" and further indicated that said product emanated from the Dr. Jose R. Perez Cosmetic Laboratory. Furthermore, the certificates show that the Bureau of Health referred to and relied on the said label or trademark of the product as the basis for its certification that the same (product) "was found not adulterated nor misbranded." 2. It is not denied that private respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez was the originator, producer and manufacturer of the soap product identified as "DR. JOSE R. PEREZ WONDER BEAUTY SOAP." This fact, furthermore, is clearly shown in Exhibits "5" and "6" which, as already adverted to, point out that said product emanated from the Dr. Jose R. Perez Cosmetic Laboratory.<re||an1w> The very boxescontainers used in packing the said product also exhibit this fact (Exhs. "DD", "EE", "LL", "HH" also marked as Exh. "7", "JJ" and "KK", pp. 94-96, 98-101, Vol. III, rec.). On the other hand, petitioner Crisanta Y. Gabriel appears to be a mere distributor of the product by contract with the manufacturer, respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez (Exhs. "7", "F-1" to "F-2", p. 13, Vol. III, rec.) and the same was only for a term. This fact is also clearly shown by the containers-boxes used in

packing the product (Exhs. "E", "D" and "II" also marked as Exh. "8", pp. 10, 11 and 99, Vol. III, rec.) which indicate and describe Crisanta Y. Gabriel as the exclusive distributor of the product. Thus, as stated in the decision under review: "Therefore, it cannot be denied that the Respondent is the originator and manufacturer of the so-called "Dr. Perez Wonder Beauty Soap," a phrase clearly coined by, and associated with, the Respondent. As such, the connotation in itself is sufficient to clothe the product as an item or a commodity emanating from a particularly identified source who is none other than Dr. Jose R. Perez. The words serve as an indication of origin, and the product identified by the words can never be regarded as having emanated or originated from another individual, typical of which is the Petitioner, mere distributor." (P. 15, Vol. IV, rec.). Under Section 2 and 2-A of the Trademark Law, Republic Act No. 166, amended, the right to register trademark is based on ownership and a mere distributor of a product bearing a trademark, even if permitted to use said trademark, has right to and cannot register the said trademark (Marvex Commercial Co., Inc. vs. Petra Hawpia & Co., 18 SCR 1178; Operators, Inc. vs. Director of Patents, et al., 15 SCRA 148). II 1. Petitioner urges that the agreement of exclusive distributorship executed by and between her and respondent vested in her the exclusive ownership of the trademark "WONDER". But a scrutiny of the provisions of said contract does not yield any right in favor of petitioner other than that expressly granted to her to be the sole and exclusive distributor of respondent Dr. Perez' product. The fact that paragraph 6 (Exh. "F-2") of the agreement provides that the petitioner "has the exclusive right of ownership of the packages and that said party is responsible for the costs as well as the design and manner of packing the same" did not necessarily grant her the right to the exclusive use of the trademark; because the agreement never mentioned transfer of ownership of the trademark. It merely empowers the petitioner as exclusive distributor to own the package and to create a design at her pleasure, but not the right to appropriate unto herself the sole ownership of the trademark so as to entitle her to registration in the Patent Office. In fact, the agreement does not even grant her the right to register the mark, as correctly stated in the appealed decision, which further held that: The statute provides that "the owner of a trademark use in commerce may register his trademark ... ." By statutory definition a trademark is "any word, name, symbol or device or any combination thereof adopted and used by a manufacture or merchant to identify his goods and distinguish them from those manufactured by others. (Emphasis added). There is nothing in the statute which remotely suggests that one who merely sells a manufacturer's goods bearing the manufacturer's mark acquires any rights in the mark; nor is there anything in the statute which suggests that such a person may register a mark which his supplier has adopted and used to identify his goods. Ex parte E. Leitz, Inc., (Comr Pats) 105 USPQ 480. (Pp. 16-17, Vol. IV, rec.). 2. The exclusive distributor does not acquire any proprietary interest in the principal's trademark. In the absence of any inequitable conduct on the part of the manufacturer, an exclusive distributor who employs the trademark of the manufacturer does not acquire proprietary rights of the manufacturer, and a registration of the trademark by the distributor as such belongs to the manufacturer, provided the fiduciary relationship does not terminate before application for registration is filed. (87 CJS 258-259, citing cases.)

III It has been repeatedly said that the objects of a trademark are "to point out distinctly the origin or ownership of the goods to which it is affixed, to secure to him, who has been instrumental in bringing into market a superior article of merchandise, the fruit of his industry and skill, and to prevent fraud and imposition. 52 Am. Jur., p. 50, citing cases." (Etepha vs. Director of Patents, et al., 16 SCRA 495). Necessarily, therefore, a trademark can only be used in connection with the sale of the identical article that has been sold under the trademark or tradename to the extent necessary to establish them as such (Note 1 L.R.A. [N.S.] 704; A.I.M. Percolating Corporation vs. Ferrodine Chemical Corporation, et al., 124 S.E. 446). In this instant case, the trademark "WONDER" has long been identified and associated with the product manufactured and produced by the Dr. Jose R. Perez Cosmetic Laboratory. It would thus appear that the decision under review is but in consonance with the sound purposes or objects of a trademark. Indeed, a contrary ruling would have resulted in the cancellation of the trademark in question and in granting the pending application of herein petitioner to register the same trademark in her favor to be used on her bleaching soap, which is of the same class as that of respondent (bleaching and beauty soap) [see pp. 222, 265-276, Vol. I, rec.; also Exh. "9", p. 105, Vol. III, rec.]. And the effect on the public as well as on respondent Dr. Jose R. Perez would have been disastrous. Such a situation would sanction a false implication that the product to be sold by her (petitioner) is still that manufactured by respondent. IV Petitioner would also anchor her claim of exclusive ownership of the trademark in question on the fact that she defrayed substantial expenses in the promotion of respondent's soap as covered by the trademark "WONDER" and the printing of the packages which she further claimed have been designed thru her efforts as she was the one who hired the services of an artist who created the designed of the said packages and trademark. Such claim was disposed correctly by respondent Director of Patents, thus: Petitioner's act in defraying substantial expenses in the promotion of the Respondent's goods and the printing of the packages are the necessary or essential consequences of Paragraph 6 of the agreement because, anyway, those activities are normal in the field of sale and distribution, as it would redound to her own benefit as distributor, and those acts are incumbent upon her to do. While it may be argued that sale by the Petitioner may be regarded as trademark use by her, nevertheless it should also be regarded that such sale is a consequence of the "Exclusive Distributorship Agreement" and it inured to the benefit of the Respondent because it was his trademark that was being used. But this does not result in the Respondent's surrender in her favor of the right to register the trademark in her own name. What would happen if the first five years' period terminates and the Respondent decide not to continue with the agreement under Paragraph 1 thereof? What trademark would he use if he himself assumes the distribution thereof or if he contracts with another, entity or person for exclusive distributorship? (P. 17, Vol. IV, rec.). It is true that she has been dealing with the product "Wonder Soap" even before the execution of the Exclusive Distributorship Agreement on September 1, 1959, evidence by her agreement with Grace Trading Co., Inc. dated June 23, 1959 for the printing of boxes-containers for the "Wonder Soap" and the literature accompanying the same (Exhs. "Q" and "W", pp. 58, 68, Vol. III, rec.), as well as by another

contract dated July 22, 1959 with the Philippine Broadcasting Corporation for spot announcement of the product "Wonder Soap" showing her as the sponsor (Exh. "I-1" or "5-A", p. 18, Vol. III, rec.). But this was because Manserco, Inc., which handled first the distribution of the product "Wonder Soap" from January, 1959 to July, 1959, employed her (petitioner) to help precisely in the marketing and distribution of the said product, she being the sister of Mariano Yangga who was then the general manager of said Manserco, Inc., as testified to by Mr. Augusto Cesar Espiritu, who, as earlier adverted to, was the organizer and one of the incorporators of the Manserco, Inc.(pp. 480-481, Vol. III, rec.). V From the records, it further appears that pursuant to the Exclusive Distributorship Agreement between petitioner and respondent, the latter manufactured "WONDER" soap and delivered them to the former who in turn handled the distribution thereof. This continued for sometime until January, 1961, when the arrangement was stopped because as claimed and alleged by herein respondent, he discovered that petitioner began manufacturing her own soap and placed them in the boxes which contained his name and trademark, and for which reason respondent Dr. Perez filed an unfair competition case against her (petitioner) [see pp. 29-31, Vol. I, rec.; pp. 379-380, Vol. II, rec.] with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, which issued a writ of preliminary injunction against her. These claims of respondent were never denied, much less refuted by petitioner in her rebuttal testimony. Earlier in her direct testimony, petitioner stated that her occupation was merchant and manufacturer of bleaching soap (p. 222, Vol. II, rec.) and on cross-examination she stated that she manufactured Marvel and Dahlia Bleaching Beauty Soap as well as C.Y. GABRIEL WONDER BEAUTY SOAP, although she claimed to have manufactured the same only from February, 1961 to September, 1961 (pp. 265-270, Vol. II, rec.). Her use of the mark "Wonder" on the soap manufactured by her is patently shown by Exhibit "9" consisting of a cake of soap with the inscription C.Y. GABRIEL WONDER SPECIAL and an accompanying literature wherein appear, among others, the following words: C.Y. Gabriel WONDER MEDICATED Beauty Soap, Manufactured by: C.Y. GABRIEL COSMETIC LABORATORY (see Exh. "9", p. 105, Vol. III, rec.; pp. 440-441, Vol. II, rec.). VI OUR examination of the entire records of the present case likewise revealed petitioner's disregard of the rudiments of fair dealing. Mr. Justice Fernando, in behalf of the Court, stated in Lim Kiah vs. Kaynee Company, thus: ... The decision of the Director of Patents is not only sound in law but also commendable for its consonance with the appropriate ethical standard which by no means should be excluded from the business world as alien, if not a hostile, force. While in the fierce competitive jungle which at time constitutes the arena of commercial transactions, shrewdness and ingenuity are at a premium, the law is by no means called upon to yield invariably its nod of approval to schemes frowned upon by the concept of fairness. Here, petitioner engaged in manufacturing and selling the same kind of products would rely on a trademark, which undeniably was previously registered abroad and which theretofore had been used and advertised extensively by one of the leading department stores in the Philippines. (25 SCRA 490.) To our mind, the situation of herein petitioner is worse.

WHEREFORE, THE DECISION SOUGHT TO BE REVIEWED IS HEREBY AFFIRMED AND THE PETITION IS HEREBY DISMISSED. WITH COSTS AGAINST PETITIONER. SUPERIOR COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISES, INC., vs. KUNNAN ENTERPRISES LTD. AND SPORTS CONCEPT & DISTRIBUTOR, INC., BRION, J.:

We review in this petition for review on certiorari[1] the (1) decision[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 60777 that reversed the ruling of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 85 (RTC),[3] and dismissed the petitioner Superior Commercial Enterprises, Inc.s (SUPERIOR) complaint for trademark infringement and unfair competition (with prayer for preliminary injunction) against the respondents Kunnan Enterprises Ltd. (KUNNAN) and Sports Concept and Distributor, Inc. (SPORTS CONCEPT); and (2) the CA resolution[4] that denied SUPERIORs subsequent motion for reconsideration. The RTC decision that the CA reversed found the respondents liable for trademark infringement and unfair competition, and ordered them to pay SUPERIOR P2,000,000.00 in damages, P500,000.00 as attorneys fees, and costs of the suit.

THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS

On February 23, 1993, SUPERIOR[5] filed a complaint for trademark infringement and unfair competition with preliminary injunction against KUNNAN[6] and SPORTS CONCEPT[7] with the RTC, docketed as Civil Case No. Q-93014888.

In support of its complaint, SUPERIOR first claimed to be the owner of the trademarks, trading styles, company names and business names[8] KENNEX,[9] KENNEX & DEVICE,[10] PRO KENNEX[11] and PRO-KENNEX (disputed trademarks).[12] Second, it also asserted its prior use of these trademarks, presenting as evidence of ownership the Principal and Supplemental Registrations of these trademarks in its name. Third, SUPERIOR also alleged that it extensively sold and advertised sporting goods and products covered by its trademark registrations. Finally, SUPERIOR presented as evidence of its ownership of the disputed trademarks the preambular clause of the Distributorship Agreement dated October 1, 1982 (Distributorship Agreement) it executed with KUNNAN, which states:

Whereas, KUNNAN intends to acquire the ownership of KENNEX trademark registered by the [sic] Superior in the Philippines. Whereas, the [sic] Superior is desirous of having been appointed [sic] as the sole distributor by KUNNAN in the territory of the Philippines. [Emphasis supplied.][13]

In its defense, KUNNAN disputed SUPERIORs claim of ownership and maintained that SUPERIOR as mere distributor from October 6, 1982 until December 31, 1991 fraudulently registered the trademarks in its name. KUNNAN alleged that it was incorporated in 1972, under the name KENNEX Sports Corporation for the purpose of manufacturing and selling sportswear and sports equipment; it commercially marketed its products in different countries, including the Philippines since 1972.[14] It created and first used PRO KENNEX, derived from its original corporate name, as a distinctive trademark for its products in 1976. KUNNAN also alleged that it registered the PRO KENNEX trademark not only in the Philippines but also in 31 other countries, and widely promoted the KENNEX and PRO KENNEX trademarks through worldwide advertisements in print media and sponsorships of known tennis players.

On October 1, 1982, after the expiration of its initial distributorship agreement with another company,[15] KUNNAN appointed SUPERIOR as its exclusive distributor in the Philippines under a Distributorship Agreement whose pertinent provisions state:[16]

Whereas, KUNNAN intends to acquire ownership of KENNEX trademark registered by the Superior in the Philippines. Whereas, theSuperior is desirous of having been appointed [sic] as the sole distributor by KUNNAN in the territory of the Philippines.

Now, therefore, the parties hereto agree as follows:

1. KUNNAN in accordance with this Agreement, will appoint the sole distributorship right to Superior in the Philippines, and this Agreement could be renewed with the consent of both parties upon the time of expiration.

2. The Superior, in accordance with this Agreement, shall assign the ownership of KENNEX trademark, under the registration of Patent Certificate No. 4730 dated 23 May 1980 to KUNNAN on the effects [sic] of its ten (10) years contract of distributorship, and it is required that the ownership of the said trademark shall be genuine, complete as a whole and without any defects.

3. KUNNAN will guarantee to the Superior that no other third parties will be permitted to supply the KENNEX PRODUCTS in the Philippinesexcept only to the Superior. If KUNNAN violates this stipulation, the transfer of the KENNEX trademark shall be null and void.

4. If there is a necessity, the Superior will be appointed, for the protection of interest of both parties, as the agent in the Philippines with full power to exercise and granted the power of attorney, to pursue any case of Pirating, Infringement and Counterfeiting the [sic] KENNEX trade mark in the Philippine territory.

5. The Superior will be granted from [sic] KUNNANs approval before making and selling any KENNEX products made in the Philippines and the other countries, and if this is the situation, KUNNAN is entitled to have a royalty of 5%-8% of FOB as the right.

6. Without KUNNANs permission, the Superior cannot procure other goods supply under KENNEX brand of which are not available to supply [sic] by KUNNAN. However, in connection with the sporting goods, it is permitted that the Superior can procure them under KENNEX brand of which are not available to be supplied by KUNNAN. [Emphasis supplied.]

Even though this Agreement clearly stated that SUPERIOR was obligated to assign the ownership of the KENNEX trademark to KUNNAN, the latter claimed that the Certificate of Registration for the KENNEX trademark remained with SUPERIOR because Mariano Tan Bon Diong (Mr. Tan Bon Diong), SUPERIORs President and General Manager, misled KUNNANs officers into believing that KUNNAN was not qualified to hold the same due to the many requirements set by the Philippine Patent Office that KUNNAN could not meet.[17] KUNNAN further asserted that SUPERIOR deceived it into assigning its applications for registration of the PRO KENNEX trademark in favor of SUPERIOR, through an Assignment Agreement dated June 14, 1983 whose pertinent provisions state:[18]

1. In consideration of the distributorship relationship between KUNNAN and Superior, KUNNAN, who is the seller in the distributorship relationship, agrees to assign the following trademark applications owned by itself in the Philippines to Superior who is the buyer in the distributorship relationship.

Trademark

Application Number

Class

PROKENNEX PROKENNEX PROKENNEX

49999 49998 49997

28 25 18

2. Superior shall acknowledge that KUNNAN is still the real and truthful owner of the abovementioned trademarks, and shall agree that it will not use the right of the abovementioned trademarks to do anything which is unfavourable or harmful to KUNNAN.

3. Superior agrees that it will return back the abovementioned trademarks to KUNNAN without hesitation at the request of KUNNAN at any time. KUNNAN agrees that the cost for the concerned assignment of the abovementioned trademarks shall be compensated by KUNNAN.

4. Superior agrees that the abovementioned trademarks when requested by KUNNAN shall be clean and without any incumbency.

5. Superior agrees that after the assignment of the abovementioned trademarks, it shall have no right to reassign or license the said trademarks to any other parties except KUNNAN. [Emphasis supplied]

Prior to and during the pendency of the infringement and unfair competition case before the RTC, KUNNAN filed with the now defunct Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer[19] separate Petitions for the Cancellation of Registration Trademark Nos. 41032, SR 6663, 40326, 39254, 4730 and 49998, docketed as Inter Partes Cases Nos. 3709, 3710, 3811, 3812, 3813 and 3814, as well as Opposition to Application Serial Nos. 84565 and 84566, docketed as Inter Partes Cases Nos. 4101 and 4102 (Consolidated Petitions for Cancellation) involving the KENNEX and PRO KENNEX trademarks.[20] In essence, KUNNAN filed the Petition for Cancellation and Opposition on the ground that SUPERIOR fraudulently registered and appropriated the disputed trademarks; as mere distributor and not as lawful owner, it obtained the registrations and assignments of the disputed trademarks in violation of the terms of the Distributorship Agreement and Sections 2-A and 17 of Republic Act No. 166, as amended.[21]

On December 3, 1991, upon the termination of its distributorship agreement with SUPERIOR, KUNNAN appointed SPORTS CONCEPT as its new distributor. Subsequently, KUNNAN also caused the publication of a Notice and Warning in the Manila Bulletins January 29, 1993 issue, stating that (1) it is the owner of the disputed trademarks; (2) it terminated its Distributorship Agreement with SUPERIOR; and (3) it appointed SPORTS CONCEPT as its exclusive distributor. This notice promptedSUPERIOR to file its Complaint for Infringement of Trademark and Unfair Competition with Preliminary Injunction against KUNNAN.[22]

The RTC Ruling On March 31, 1998, the RTC issued its decision[23] holding KUNNAN liable for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The RTC also issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining KUNNAN and SPORTS CONCEPT from using the disputed trademarks.

The RTC found that SUPERIOR sufficiently proved that it was the first user and owner of the disputed trademarks in the Philippines, based on the findings of the Director of Patents in Inter Partes Case No. 1709 and 1734 that SUPERIOR was rightfully entitled to register the mark KENNEX as user and owner thereof. It also considered the Whereas clause of the Distributorship Agreement, which categorically stated that KUNNAN intends to acquire ownership of [the] KENNEX trademark registered bySUPERIOR in the Philippines. According to the RTC, this clause amounts to KUNNANs express recognition of SUPERIORs ownership of the KENNEX trademarks.[24]

KUNNAN and SPORTS CONCEPT appealed the RTCs decision to the CA where the appeal was docketed as CAG.R. CV No. 60777. KUNNAN maintained that SUPERIOR was merely its distributor and could not be the owner of the disputed trademarks. SUPERIOR, for its part, claimed ownership based on its prior use and numerous valid registrations.

Intervening Developments: The IPO and CA Rulings

In the course of its appeal to the CA, KUNNAN filed on December 19, 2003 a Manifestation and Motion praying that the decision of the Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), dated October 30, 2003, in the Consolidated Petitions for Cancellation be made of record and be considered by the CA in resolving the case.[25] The BLA ruled in this decision

In the case at bar, Petitioner-Opposer (Kunnan) has overwhelmingly and convincingly established its rights to the mark PRO KENNEX. It was proven that actual use by Respondent-Registrant is not in the concept of an owner but as a mere distributor (Exhibits I, S to S-1, P and P-1 and Q and Q2) and as enunciated in the case of Crisanta Y. Gabriel vs. Dr. Jose R. Perez, 50 SCRA 406, a mere distributor of a product bearing a trademark, even if permitted to use said trademark has no right to and cannot register the said trademark.

WHEREFORE, there being sufficient evidence to prove that the Petitioner-Opposer (KUNNAN) is the prior user and owner of the trademark PRO-KENNEX, the consolidated Petitions for Cancellation and the Notices of Opposition are hereby GRANTED. Consequently, the trademark PROKENNEX bearing Registration Nos. 41032, 40326, 39254, 4730, 49998 for the mark PRO-KENNEX issued in favor of Superior Commercial Enterprises, Inc., herein Respondent-Registrant under the Principal Register and SR No. 6663 are hereby CANCELLED. Accordingly, trademark application Nos. 84565 and 84566, likewise for the registration of the mark PRO-KENNEX are hereby REJECTED.

Let the file wrappers of PRO-KENNEX subject matter of these cases be forwarded to the Administrative Finance and Human Resources Development Services Bureau (AFHRDSB) for appropriate action in accordance with this Decision and a copy thereof be furnished the Bureau of Trademarks (BOT) for information and update of its record.[26]

On February 4, 2005, KUNNAN again filed another Manifestation requesting that the IPO Director Generals decision on appeal dated December 8, 2004, denying SUPERIORs appeal, be given weight in the disposition of the case.[27] The dispositive portion of the decision reads:[28]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, there is no cogent reason to disturb Decision No. 2003-35 dated 30 October 2003 rendered by the Director of the Bureau of Legal Affairs. Accordingly, the instant appeal is DENIED and the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED.

We take judicial notice that SUPERIOR questioned the IPO Director Generals ruling before the Court of Appeals on a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court, docketed as CAG.R. SP No. 87928 (Registration Cancellation Case). On August 30, 2007, the CA rendered its decision dismissing SUPERIORs petition.[29] On December 3, 2007, the CA decision was declared final and executory and entry of judgment was accordingly made. Hence, SUPERIORs registration of the disputed trademarks now stands effectively cancelled.

The CA Ruling

On June 22, 2005, the CA issued its decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 60777, reversing and setting aside the RTCs decision of March 31, 1998.[30] It dismissed SUPERIORs Complaint for Infringement of Trademark and Unfair Competition with Preliminary Injunction on the ground that SUPERIOR failed to establish by preponderance of evidence its claim of ownership over the KENNEX and PRO KENNEX trademarks. The CA found the Certificates of Principal and Supplemental Registrations and the whereas clause of the Distributorship Agreement insufficient to support SUPERIORs claim of ownership over the disputed trademarks.

The CA stressed that SUPERIORs possession of the aforementioned Certificates of Principal Registration does not conclusively establish its ownership of the disputed trademarks as dominion over trademarks is not acquired by the fact of registration alone;[31] at best, registration merely raises a presumption of ownership that can be rebutted by contrary evidence.[32]The CA further emphasized that the Certificates of Supplemental Registration issued in SUPERIORs name do not even enjoy the presumption of ownership accorded to registration in the principal register; it does not amount to a prima facie evidence of the validity of registration or of the registrants exclusive right to use the trademarks in connection with the goods, business, or services specified in the certificate.[33]

In contrast with the failure of SUPERIORs evidence, the CA found that KUNNAN presented sufficient evidence to rebutSUPERIORs presumption of ownership over the trademarks. KUNNAN established that SUPERIOR, far from being the rightful owner of the disputed trademarks, was merely KUNNANs exclusive distributor. This conclusion was based on three pieces of evidence that, to the CA, clearly established that SUPERIOR had no proprietary interest over the disputed trademarks.

First, the CA found that the Distributorship Agreement, considered in its entirety, positively confirmed that SUPERIORsought to be the KUNNANs exclusive distributor. The CA based this conclusion on the following provisions of the Distributorship Agreement:

(1) that SUPERIOR was desirous of [being] appointed as the sole distributor by KUNNAN in the territory of the Philippines;

(2) that KUNNAN will appoint the sole distributorship right to Superior in the Philippines; and

(3) that no third parties will be permitted to supply KENNEX PRODUCTS in the Philippines except only to Superior.

The CA thus emphasized that the RTC erred in unduly relying on the first whereas clause, which states that KUNNAN intends to acquire ownership of [the] KENNEX trademark registered by SUPERIOR in the Philippines without considering the entirety of the Distributorship Agreement indicating that SUPERIOR had been merely appointed by KUNNAN as its distributor.

Second, the CA also noted that SUPERIOR made the express undertaking in the Assignment Agreement to acknowledge thatKUNNAN is still the real and truthful owner of the [PRO KENNEX] trademarks, and that it shall agree that it will not use the right of the abovementioned trademarks to do anything which is unfavourable or harmful to KUNNAN. To the CA, these provisions are clearly inconsistent with SUPERIORs claim of ownership of the disputed trademarks. The CA also observed that although the Assignment Agreement was a private document, its authenticity and due execution was proven by the similarity of Mr. Tan Bon Diongs signature in the Distributorship Agreement and the Assignment Agreement.

Third, the CA also took note of SUPERIORs Letter dated November 12, 1986 addressed to Brig. Gen. Jose Almonte, identifying itself as the sole and exclusive licensee and distributor in the Philippines of all its KENNEX and PRO-KENNEX products. Attached to the letter was an agreement with KUNNAN, identifying the latter as the foreign manufacturer of all KENNEX products. The CA concluded that in this letter, SUPERIOR acknowledged its status as a distributor in its dealings with KUNNAN, and even in its transactions with third persons.

Based on these reasons, the CA ruled that SUPERIOR was a mere distributor and had no right to the registration of the disputed trademarks since the right to register a trademark is based on ownership. Citing Section 4 of Republic Act No. 166[34] and established jurisprudence,[35] the CA held that SUPERIOR as an exclusive distributor did not acquire any proprietary interest in the principals (KUNNANs) trademark.

The CA denied SUPERIORs motion for reconsideration for lack of merit in its Resolution dated October 4, 2005.

THE PETITION

In the present petition, SUPERIOR raises the following issues:

I. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER SUPERIOR IS NOT THE TRUE AND RIGHTFUL OWNER OF THE TRADEMARKS KENNEX AND PRO-KENNEX IN THE PHILIPPINES

II.

WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONERSUPERIOR IS A MERE DISTRIBUTOR OF RESPONDENT KUNNAN IN THE PHILIPPINES

III.

WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN REVERSING AND SETTING ASIDE THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY IN CIVIL CASE NO. Q-93-14888, LIFTING THE PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION ISSUED AGAINST RESPONDENTS KUNNAN AND SPORTS CONCEPT AND DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT FOR INFRINGEMENT OF TRADEMARK AND UNFAIR COMPETITION WITH PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

THE COURTS RULING

We do not find the petition meritorious.

On the Issue of Trademark Infringement

We first consider the effect of the final and executory decision in the Registration Cancellation Case on the present case. This decision - rendered after the CA decision for trademark infringement and unfair competition in CA-G.R. CV No. 60777 (root of the present case) - states:

As to whether respondent Kunnan was able to overcome the presumption of ownership in favor of Superior, the former sufficiently established the fraudulent registration of the questioned trademarks by Superior. The Certificates of Registration No. SR-4730 (Supplemental Register) and 33487 (Principal Register) for the KENNEX trademark were fraudulently obtained by petitioner Superior. Even before PROKENNEX products were imported by Superior into the Philippines, the same already enjoyed popularity in various countries and had been distributed worldwide, particularly among the sports and tennis enthusiasts since 1976. Riding on the said popularity, Superior caused the registration thereof in the Philippines under its name when it knew fully well that it did not own nor did it manufacture the PROKENNEX products. Superiorclaimed ownership of the subject marks and failed to disclose in its application with the IPO that it was merely a distributor of KENNEX and PROKENNEX products in the Philippines.

While Superior accepted the obligation to assign Certificates of Registration Nos. SR-4730 and 33487 to Kunnan in exchange for the appointment by the latter as its exclusive distributor, Superior however breached its obligation and failed to assign the same to Kunnan. In a letter dated 13 February 1987, Superior, through Mr. Tan Bon Diong, misrepresented to Kunnan that the latter cannot own trademarks in the Philippines. Thus, Kunnan was misled into assigning to Superior its (Kunnans) own application for the disputed trademarks. In the same assignment document, however. Superior was bound to ensure that the PROKENNEX trademarks under Registration Nos. 40326, 39254, and 49998 shall be returned to Kunnan clean and without any incumbency when requested by the latter.

In fine, We see no error in the decision of the Director General of the IPO which affirmed the decision of the Director of the Bureau of Legal Affairs canceling the registration of the questioned marks in the name of petitioner Superior and denying its new application for registration, upon a finding that Superior is not the rightful owner of the subject marks.

WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, the petition is DISMISSED. The CA decided that the registration of the KENNEX and PRO KENNEX trademarks should be cancelled because SUPERIOR was not the owner of, and could not in the first place have validly registered these trademarks. Thus, as of the finality of the CA decision on December 3, 2007, these trademark registrations were effectively cancelled andSUPERIOR was no longer the registrant of the disputed trademarks.

Section 22 of Republic Act No. 166, as amended (RA 166),[36] the law applicable to this case, defines trademark infringement as follows:

Section 22. Infringement, what constitutes. Any person who [1] shall use, without the consent of the registrant, any reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation of any registered mark or tradename in connection with the sale, offering for sale, or advertising of anygoods, business or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive purchasers or others as tothe source or origin of such goods or services, or identity of such business; or [2] reproduce, counterfeit, copy, or colorably imitate any such mark or trade-name and apply such reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation to labels, signs, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles or advertisements intended to be used upon or in connection with such goods, business or services, shall be liable to a civil action by the registrant for any or all of the remedies herein provided. [Emphasis supplied]

Essentially, Section 22 of RA 166 states that only a registrant of a mark can file a case for infringement. Corollary to this, Section 19 of RA 166 provides that any right conferred upon the registrant under the provisions of RA 166[37] terminates when the judgment or order of cancellation has become final, viz: Section 19. Cancellation of registration. - If the Director finds that a case for cancellation has been made out he shall order the cancellation of the registration. The order shall not become effective until the period for appeal has elapsed, or if appeal is taken, until the judgment on appeal becomes final. When the order or judgment becomes final, any right conferred by such registration upon the registrant or any person in interest of record shall terminate. Notice of cancellation shall be published in the Official Gazette. [Emphasis supplied.]

Thus, we have previously held that the cancellation of registration of a trademark has the effect of depriving the registrant of protection from infringement from the moment judgment or order of cancellation has become final.[38]

In the present case, by operation of law, specifically Section 19 of RA 166, the trademark infringement aspect ofSUPERIORs case has been rendered moot and academic in view of the finality of the decision in the Registration Cancellation Case. In short, SUPERIOR is left without any cause of action for trademark infringement since the cancellation of registration of a trademark deprived it of protection from infringement from the moment judgment or order of cancellation became final. To be sure, in a trademark infringement, title to the trademark is indispensable to a valid cause of action and such title is shown by its certificate of registration.[39] With its certificates of registration over the disputed trademarks effectively cancelled with finality, SUPERIORscase for trademark infringement lost its legal basis and no longer presented a valid cause of action.

Even assuming that SUPERIORs case for trademark infringement had not been rendered moot and academic, there can be no infringement committed by KUNNAN who was adjudged with finality to be the rightful owner of the disputed trademarks in the Registration Cancellation Case. Even prior to the cancellation of the registration of the disputed trademarks, SUPERIOR as a mere distributor and not the owner cannot assert any protection from trademark infringement as it had no right in the first place to the registration of the disputed trademarks. In fact, jurisprudence holds that in the absence of any inequitable conduct on the part of the manufacturer, an exclusive distributor who employs the trademark of the manufacturer does not acquire proprietary rights of the manufacturer, and a registration of the trademark by the distributor as such belongs to the manufacturer, provided the fiduciary relationship does not terminate before application for registration is filed.[40] Thus, the CA in the Registration Cancellation Case correctly held:

As a mere distributor, petitioner Superior undoubtedly had no right to register the questioned mark in its name. Well-entrenched in our jurisdiction is the rule that the right to register a trademark should be based on ownership. When the applicant is not the owner of the trademark being applied for, he has no right to apply for the registration of the same. Under the Trademark Law, only the owner of the trademark, trade name or service mark used to distinguish his goods, business or service from the goods, business or service of others is entitled to register the same. An exclusive distributor does not acquire any proprietary interest in the principals trademark and cannot register it in his own name unless it is has been validly assigned to him.

In addition, we also note that the doctrine of res judicata bars SUPERIORs present case for trademark infringement. The doctrine of res judicata embraces two (2) concepts: the first is "bar by prior judgment" under paragraph (b) of Rule 39, Section 47, and the second is "conclusiveness of judgment" under paragraph (c) thereof.

In the present case, the second concept conclusiveness of judgment applies. Under the concept of res judicata byconclusiveness of judgment, a final judgment or decree on the merits by a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive of the rights of the parties or their privies in all later suits on points and matters determined in the former suit.[41] Stated differently, facts and issues actually and directly resolved in a former suit cannot again be raised in any future case between the same parties, even if the latter suit may involve a different cause of action.[42] This second branch of the principle of res judicata bars the relitigation of particular facts or issues in another litigation between the same parties on a different claim or cause of action.[43]

Because the Registration Cancellation Case and the present case involve the same parties, litigating with respect to and disputing the same trademarks, we are bound to examine how one case would affect the other. In the present case, even if the causes of action of the Registration Cancellation Case (the cancellation of trademark registration) differs from that of the present case (the improper or unauthorized

use of trademarks), the final judgment in the Registration Cancellation Case is nevertheless conclusive on the particular facts and issues that are determinative of the present case.

To establish trademark infringement, the following elements must be proven: (1) the validity of plaintiffs mark; (2) the plaintiffs ownership of the mark; and (3) the use of the mark or its colorable imitation by the alleged infringer results in likelihood of confusion.[44]

Based on these elements, we find it immediately obvious that the second element the plaintiffs ownership of the mark was what the Registration Cancellation Case decided with finality. On this element depended the validity of the registrations that, on their own, only gave rise to the presumption of, but was not conclusive on, the issue of ownership.[45]

In no uncertain terms, the appellate court in the Registration Cancellation Case ruled that SUPERIOR was a mere distributor and could not have been the owner, and was thus an invalid registrant of the disputed trademarks. Significantly, these are the exact terms of the ruling the CA arrived at in the present petition now under our review. Thus, whether with one or the other, the ruling on the issue of ownership of the trademarks is the same. Given, however, the final and executory ruling in the Registration Cancellation Case on the issue of ownership that binds us and the parties, any further discussion and review of the issue of ownership although the current CA ruling is legally correct and can stand on its own merits becomes a pointless academic discussion.

On the Issue of Unfair Competition

Our review of the records shows that the neither the RTC nor the CA made any factual findings with respect to the issue of unfair competition. In its Complaint, SUPERIOR alleged that:[46]

17. In January 1993, the plaintiff learned that the defendant Kunnan Enterprises, Ltd., is intending to appoint the defendant Sports Concept and Distributors, Inc. as its alleged distributor for sportswear and sporting goods bearing the trademark PRO-KENNEX. For this reason, on January 20, 1993, the plaintiff, through counsel, wrote the defendant Sports Concept and Distributors Inc. advising said defendant that the trademark PRO-KENNEX was registered and owned by the plaintiff herein.

18. The above information was affirmed by an announcement made by the defendants in The Manila Bulletin issue of January 29, 1993, informing the public that defendant Kunnan Enterprises, Ltd. has appointed the defendant Sports Concept and Distributors, Inc. as its alleged distributor of sportswear and

sporting goods and equipment bearing the trademarks KENNEX and PRO-KENNEX which trademarks are owned by and registered in the name of plaintiff herein as alleged hereinabove.

x x x x

27. The acts of defendants, as previously complained herein, were designed to and are of the nature so as to create confusion with the commercial activities of plaintiff in the Philippines and is liable to mislead the public as to the nature and suitability for their purposes of plaintiffs business and the defendants acts are likely to discredit the commercial activities and future growth of plaintiffs business.

From jurisprudence, unfair competition has been defined as the passing off (or palming off) or attempting to pass off upon the public of the goods or business of one person as the goods or business of another with the end and probable effect of deceiving the public. The essential elements of unfair competition[47] are (1) confusing similarity in the general appearance of the goods; and (2) intent to deceive the public and defraud a competitor.[48]

Jurisprudence also formulated the following true test of unfair competition: whether the acts of the defendant have the intent of deceiving or are calculated to deceive the ordinary buyer making his purchases under the ordinary conditions of the particular trade to which the controversy relates. One of the essential requisites in an action to restrain unfair competition is proof of fraud; the intent to deceive, actual or probable must be shown before the right to recover can exist.[49]

In the present case, no evidence exists showing that KUNNAN ever attempted to pass off the goods it sold (i.e. sportswear, sporting goods and equipment) as those of SUPERIOR. In addition, there is no evidence of bad faith or fraud imputable to KUNNAN in using the disputed trademarks. Specifically, SUPERIOR failed to adduce any evidence to show that KUNNAN by the above-cited acts intended to deceive the public as to the identity of the goods sold or of the manufacturer of the goods sold. InMcDonalds Corporation v. L.C. Big Mak Burger, Inc.,[50] we held that there can be trademark infringement without unfair competition such as when the infringer discloses on the labels containing the mark that he manufactures the goods, thus preventing the public from being deceived that the goods originate from the trademark owner. In this case, no issue of confusion arises because the same manufactured products are sold; only the ownership of the trademarks is at issue. Furthermore, KUNNANs January 29, 1993 notice by its terms prevents the public from being deceived that the goods originated fromSUPERIOR since the notice clearly indicated that KUNNAN is the manufacturer of the goods bearing the trademarks KENNEX and PRO KENNEX. This notice states in full:[51]

NOTICE AND WARNING

Kunnan Enterprises Ltd. is the owner and first user of the internationally-renowned trademarks KENNEX and PRO KENNEX for sportswear and sporting goods and equipment. Kunnan Enterprises Ltd. has registered the trademarks KENNEX and PRO KENNEX in the industrial property offices of at least 31 countries worldwide where KUNNAN Enterprises Ltd. has been selling its sportswear and sporting goods and equipment bearing the KENNEX and PRO KENNEX trademarks.

Kunnan Enterprises Ltd. further informs the public that it had terminated its Distributorship Agreement with Superior Commercial Enterprises, Inc. on December 31, 1991. As a result, Superior Commercial Enterprises, Inc. is no longer authorized to sell sportswear and sporting goods and equipment manufactured by Kunnan Enterprises Ltd. and bearing the trademarks KENNEX and PRO KENNEX.

x x x x

In its place, KUNNAN has appointed SPORTS CONCEPT AND DISTRIBUTORS, INC. as its exclusive Philippine distributor of sportswear and sporting goods and equipment bearing the trademarks KENNEX and PRO KENNEX. The public is advised to buy sporting goods and equipment bearing these trademarks only from SPORTS CONCEPT AND DISTRIBUTORS, INC. to ensure that the products they are buying are manufactured by Kunnan Enterprises Ltd. [Emphasis supplied.]

Finally, with the established ruling that KUNNAN is the rightful owner of the trademarks of the goods that SUPERIOR asserts are being unfairly sold by KUNNAN under trademarks registered in SUPERIORs name, the latter is left with no effective right to make a claim. In other words, with the CAs final ruling in the Registration Cancellation Case, SUPERIORs case no longer presents a valid cause of action. For this reason, the unfair competition aspect of the SUPERIORs case likewise falls.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY Superior Commercial Enterprises, Inc.s petition for review on certiorarifor lack of merit. Cost against petitioner Superior Commercial Enterprises, Inc.

SO ORDERED.

SHANGRI-LA INTERNATIONAL HOTEL MANAGEMENT LTD., SHANGRI-LA PROPERTIES, INC., MAKATI SHANGRI-LA HOTEL AND RESORT, INC. and KUOK PHILIPPINE PROPERTIES, INC., petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. FELIX M. DE GUZMAN, as Judge, RTC of Quezon City, Branch 99 and DEVELOPERS GROUP OF COMPANIES, INC., respondents. ---------------------------------------G.R. No. 114802 June 21, 2001

DEVELOPERS GROUP OF COMPANIES, INC., petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. IGNACIO S. SAPALO, in his capacity as Director, Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer, and SHANGRI-LA INTERNATIONAL HOTEL MANAGEMENT, LTD.,respondents. YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: On June 21, 1988, the Shangri-La International Hotel Management, Ltd., Shangri-La Properties, Inc., Makati Shangri-La Hotel and Resort, Inc. and Kuok Philippine Properties, Inc. (hereinafter collectively referred as the "Shangri-La Group"), filed with the Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer (BPTTT) a petition, docketed as Inter Partes Case No. 3145, praying for the cancellation of the registration of the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" device/logo issued to the Developers Group of Companies, Inc., on the ground that the same was illegally and fraudulently obtained and appropriated for the latter's restaurant business. The Shangri-La Group alleged that it is the legal and beneficial owners of the subject mark and logo; that it has been using the said mark and logo for its corporate affairs and business since March 1962 and caused the same to be specially designed for their international hotels in 1975, much earlier than the alleged first use thereof by the Developers Group in 1982. Likewise, the Shangri-La Group filed with the BPTTT its own application for registration of the subject mark and logo. The Developers Group filed an opposition to the application, which was docketed as Inter Partes Case No. 3529. Almost three (3) years later, or on April 15, 1991, the Developers Group instituted with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 99, a complaint for infringement and damages with prayer for injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. Q-91-8476, against the Shangri-La Group. On January 8, 1992, the Shangri-La Group moved for the suspension of the proceedings in the infringement case on account of the pendency of the administrative proceedings before the BPTTT.1 This was denied by the trial court in a Resolution issued on January 16, 1992.2 The Shangri-La Group filed a Motion for Reconsideration.3Soon thereafter, it also filed a Motion to Inhibit against Presiding Judge Felix M. de Guzman.4 On July 1, 1992, the trial court denied both motions.5 The Shangri-La Group filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 29006.6 On February 15, 1993, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision dismissing the petition for certiorari.7The Shangri-La Group filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was denied on the ground that the same presented no new matter that warranted consideration.8

Hence, the instant petition, docketed as G.R. No. 111580, based on the following grounds: THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT FINDING THAT: I. THE INFRINGEMENT CASE SHOULD BE DISMISSED OR AT LEAST SUSPENDED; AND II. THE HONORABLE PRESIDING JUDGE SHOULD INHIBIT HIMSELF FROM TRYING THE INFRINGEMENT CASE.9 Meanwhile, on October 28, 1991, the Developers Group filed in Inter Partes Case No. 3145 an Urgent Motion to Suspend Proceedings, invoking the pendency of the infringement case it filed before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.10 On January 10, 1992, the BPTTT, through Director Ignacio S. Sapalo, issued an Order denying the Motion.11 A Motion for Reconsideration was filed which was, however, denied in a Resolution dated February 11, 1992.12 From the denial by the BPTTT of its Urgent Motion to Suspend Proceedings and Motion for Reconsideration, the Developers Group filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 27742.13 On March 29, 1994, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for lack of merit.14 A petition for review was thereafter filed, docketed as G.R. No. 114802, raising the issue of: WHETHER OR NOT, GIVEN THE ESTABLISHED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES ON RECORD AND THE LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE APPLICABLE TO THE MATTER, THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT, INASMUCH AS BOTH THE CIVIL ACTION AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS HERE INVOLVED MAY COEXIST AND THE LAW DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR ANY PREFERENCE BY ONE OVER THE OTHER, THE RESPONDENT DIRECTOR HAD JURISDICTION TO RULE AS HE DID AND HAD NOT INCURRED ANY GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION CORRECTIBLE BY THE EXTRAORDINARY REMEDIES OF CERTIORARI, PROHIBITION AND MANDAMUS.15 On February 2, 1998, G.R. Nos. 111580 and 114802 were ordered consolidated. The core issue is simply whether, despite the institution of an Inter Partes case for cancellation of a mark with the BPTTT (now the Bureau of Legal Affairs, Intellectual Property Office) by one party, the adverse party can file a subsequent action for infringement with the regular courts of justice in connection with the same registered mark. We rule in the affirmative. Section 151.2 of Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code, provides, as follows Section 151.2. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the court or the administrative agency vested with jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate any action to enforce the rights to a registered mark shall likewise exercise jurisdiction to determine whether the registration of said mark may

be cancelled in accordance with this Act. The filing of a suit to enforce the registered mark with the proper court or agency shall exclude any other court or agency from assuming jurisdiction over a subsequently filed petition to cancel the same mark.On the other hand, the earlier filing of petition to cancel the mark with the Bureau of Legal Affairs shall not constitute a prejudicial question that must be resolved before an action to enforce the rights to same registered mark may be decided. (Emphasis provided) Similarly, Rule 8, Section 7, of the Regulations on Inter Partes Proceedings, provides to wit Section 7. Effect of filing of a suit before the Bureau or with the proper court. - The filing of a suit to enforce the registered mark with the proper court or Bureau shall exclude any other court or agency from assuming jurisdiction over a subsequently filed petition to cancel the same mark. On the other hand, the earlier filing of petition to cancel the mark with the Bureau shall not constitute a prejudicial question that must be resolved before an action to enforce the rights to same registered mark may be decided.(Emphasis provided) Hence, as applied in the case at bar, the earlier institution of an Inter Partes case by the Shangri-La Group for the cancellation of the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" device/logo with the BPTTT cannot effectively bar the subsequent filing of an infringement case by registrant Developers Group. The law and the rules are explicit. The rationale is plain: Certificate of Registration No. 31904, upon which the infringement case is based, remains valid and subsisting for as long as it has not been cancelled by the Bureau or by an infringement court. As such, Developers Group's Certificate of Registration in the principal register continues as "prima facie evidence of the validity of the registration, the registrant's ownership of the mark or tradename, and of the registrant's exclusive right to use the same in connection with the goods, business or services specified in the certificate."16 Since the certificate still subsists, Developers Group may thus file a corresponding infringement suit and recover damages from any person who infringes upon the former's rights.17 Furthermore, the issue raised before the BPTTT is quite different from that raised in the trial court. The issue raised before the BPTTT was whether the mark registered by Developers Group is subject to cancellation, as the Shangri-La Group claims prior ownership of the disputed mark. On the other hand, the issue raised before the trial court was whether the Shangri-La Group infringed upon the rights of Developers Group within the contemplation of Section 22 of Republic Act 166. The case of Conrad and Company, Inc. v. Court of Appeals18 is in point. We held: We cannot see any error in the above disquisition. It might be mentioned that while an application for the administrative cancellation of a registered trademark on any of the grounds enumerated in Section 17 of Republic Act No. 166, as amended, otherwise known as the Trade-Mark Law, falls under the exclusive cognizance of BPTTT (Sec. 19, Trade-Mark Law), an action, however, for infringement or unfair competition, as well as the remedy of injunction and relief for damages, is explicitly and unquestionably within the competence and jurisdiction of ordinary courts. xxx xxx xxx

Surely, an application with BPTTT for an administrative cancellation of a registered trade mark cannot per se have the effect of restraining or preventing the courts from the exercise of their lawfully conferred jurisdiction. A contrary rule would unduly expand the doctrine of primary

jurisdiction which, simply expressed, would merely behoove regular courts, in controversies involving specialized disputes, to defer to the findings or resolutions of administrative tribunals on certain technical matters. This rule, evidently, did not escape the appellate court for it likewise decreed that for "good cause shown, the lower court, in its sound discretion, may suspend the action pending outcome of the cancellation proceedings" before the BPTTT. However, while the instant Petitions have been pending with this Court, the infringement court rendered a Decision, dated March 8, 1996, in Civil Case No. Q-91-8476,19 the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff Developers Group of Companies, Inc. and against defendants Shangri-La International Hotel Management, Ltd., Shangri-La Properties, Inc., Makati Shangri-La Hotel and Resort, Inc., and Kuok Philippine Properties, Inc. a) Upholding the validity of the registration of the service mark "Shangri-La" and "S-Logo" in the name of plaintiff; b) Declaring defendants' use of said mark and logo as an infringement of plaintiff's right thereto; c) Ordering defendants, their representatives, agents, licensees, assignees and other persons acting under their authority and with their permission, to permanently cease and desist from using and/or continuing to use said mark and logo, or any copy, reproduction or colorable imitation thereof, in the promotion, advertisement, rendition of their hotel and allied projects and services or in any other manner whatsoever; d) Ordering defendants to remove said mark and logo from any premises, objects, materials and paraphernalia used by them and/or destroy any and all prints, signs, advertisements or other materials bearing said mark and logo in their possession and/or under their control; and e) Ordering defendants, jointly and severally, to indemnify plaintiff in the amounts of P2,000,000.00 as actual and compensatory damages, P500,000.00 as attorney's fees and expenses of litigation. Let a copy of this Decision be certified to the Director, Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer, for his information and appropriate action in accordance with the provisions of Section 25, Republic Act No. 166. Costs against defendants. SO ORDERED.20 The said Decision is now on appeal with respondent Court of Appeals.21 Following both law and the jurisprudence enunciated in Conrad and Company, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,22 the infringement case can and should proceed independently from the cancellation case with the Bureau so as to afford the owner of certificates of registration redress and injunctive writs. In the same light, so must the cancellation case with the BPTTT (now the Bureau of Legal Affairs, Intellectual Property Office) continue independently from the infringement case so as to determine whether a registered mark may ultimately be cancelled. However, the Regional Trial Court, in granting redress in

favor of Developers Group, went further and upheld the validity and preference of the latter's registration over that of the Shangri-La Group. There can be no denying that the infringement court may validly pass upon the right of registration. Section 161 of Republic Act No. 8293 provides to wit SEC. 161. Authority to Determine Right to Registration In any action involving a registered mark the court may determine the right to registration, order the cancellation of the registration, in whole or in part, and otherwise rectify the register with respect to the registration of any party to the action in the exercise of this. Judgement and orders shall be certified by the court to the Director, who shall make appropriate entry upon the records of the Bureau, and shall be controlled thereby. (Sec. 25, R.A. No. 166a). (Emphasis provided) With the decision of the Regional Trial Court upholding the validity of the registration of the service mark "Shangri-La" and "S" logo in the name of Developers Group, the cancellation case filed with the Bureau hence becomes moot. To allow the Bureau to proceed with the cancellation case would lead to a possible result contradictory to that which the Regional Trial Court has rendered, albeit the same is still on appeal. Such a situation is certainly not in accord with the orderly administration of justice. In any event, the Court of Appeals has the competence and jurisdiction to resolve the merits of the said RTC decision. We are not unmindful of the fact that in G.R. No. 114802, the only issue submitted for resolution is the correctness of the Court of Appeals' decision sustaining the BPTTT's denial of the motion to suspend the proceedings before it. Yet, to provide a judicious resolution of the issues at hand, we find it apropos to order the suspension of the proceedings before the Bureau pending final determination of the infringement case, where the issue of the validity of the registration of the subject trademark and logo in the name of Developers Group was passed upon. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing G.R. No. 111580 for being moot and academic, and ordering the Bureau of Legal Affairs, Intellectual Property Office, to suspend further proceedings in Inter Partes Case No. 3145, to await the final outcome of the appeal in Civil Case No. Q-91-8476.1wphi1.nt SO ORDERED. Del Monte Corp. vs CA SUMMARY: 1. Petitioner Philippine Packing Corporation was granted by Del Monte Corporation the right to manufacture, distribute and sell in the Philippines various agricultural products, including catsup, under the Del Monte trademark and logo. Respondent Sunshine Sauce Manufacturing Industries is engaged in the manufacture, packing, distribution and sale of various kinds of sauce, identified by the logo Sunshine Fruit Catsup. Having received reports that the respondent was using its exclusively designed bottles and a logo confusingly similar to Del Monte's, Philpack warned it to desist from doing so on pain of legal action. Thereafter, claiming that the demand had been ignored, Philpack and Del Monte filed a complaint against the respondent for infringement of trademark and unfair competition with prayer for damages and the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Sunshine alleged that its logo was substantially different from the Del Monte logo and would not confuse the buying public to the detriment of the petitioners.

2. The issue here is whether there is infringement of trademark and unfair competition committed by the private respondent, and if so, is damages recoverable. 3. The court decided that there is infringement since the logo of the respondent creates confusion upon the eye of the casual purchaser who is unsuspicious, that the same is that of the petitioner Del Monte Corporation. Since Sunshine's label is an infringement of the Del Monte trademark, law and equity call for the cancellation of the private respondent's registration and withdrawal of all its products bearing the questioned label from the market. With regard to the use of Del Monte's bottle, the same constitutes unfair competition; hence, the respondent should be permanently enjoined from the use of such bottles. As to the amount of damages, the court ruled that damages cannot be granted since there was no proof presented as evidence to prove the amount thereof. The court only awarded nominal damages to the petitioner. G.R. No. 103543 July 5, 1993 ASIA BREWERY, INC., petitioner, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION, respondents. Abad Santos & Associates and Sycip, Salazar, Hernandez & Gatmaitan for petitioner. Roco, Bunag, Kapunan Law Office for private respondent.

GRIO-AQUINO, J.: On September 15, 1988, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) filed a complaint against Asia Brewery Inc. (ABI) for infringement of trademark and unfair competition on account of the latter's BEER PALE PILSEN or BEER NA BEER product which has been competing with SMC's SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN for a share of the local beer market. (San Miguel Corporation vs. Asia Brewery Inc., Civ. Case. No. 56390, RTC Branch 166, Pasig, Metro Manila.). On August 27, 1990, a decision was rendered by the trial Court, presided over by Judge Jesus O. Bersamira, dismissing SMC's complaint because ABI "has not committed trademark infringement or unfair competition against" SMC (p. 189, Rollo). SMC appealed to the Court of Appeals (C.A.-G.R. CV No. 28104). On September 30, 1991, the Court of Appeals (Sixth Division composed of Justice Jose C. Campos, Jr., chairman and ponente, and Justices Venancio D. Aldecoa Jr. and Filemon H. Mendoza, as members) reversed the trial court. The dispositive part of the decision reads as follows: In the light of the foregoing analysis and under the plain language of the applicable rule and principle on the matter, We find the defendant Asia Brewery Incorporated GUILTY of infringement of trademark and unfair competition. The decision of the trial court is hereby REVERSED, and a new judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant as follows: (1) The defendant Asia Brewery Inc. its officers, agents, servants and employees are hereby permanently enjoined and restrained from manufacturing, putting up, selling, advertising, offering or announcing for sale, or supplying Beer Pale Pilsen, or any similar preparation, manufacture or beer in bottles and under labels substantially identical with or like the said bottles and labels of plaintiff San Miguel Corporation

employed for that purpose, or substantially identical with or like the bottles and labels now employed by the defendant for that purpose, or in bottles or under labels which are calculated to deceive purchasers and consumers into the belief that the beer is the product of the plaintiff or which will enable others to substitute, sell or palm off the said beer of the defendant as and for the beer of the plaintiff-complainant. (2) The defendant Asia Brewery Inc. is hereby ordered to render an accounting and pay the San Miguel Corporation double any and all the payments derived by defendant from operations of its business and the sale of goods bearing the mark "Beer Pale Pilsen" estimated at approximately Five Million Pesos (P5,000,000.00); to recall all its products bearing the mark "Beer Pale Pilsen" from its retailers and deliver these as well as all labels, signs, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles and advertisements bearing the infringing mark and all plates, molds, materials and other means of making the same to the Court authorized to execute this judgment for destruction. (3) The defendant is hereby ordered to pay plaintiff the sum of Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00) as moral damages and Half a Million Pesos (P5,000,000.00) by way of exemplary damages. (4) The defendant is further ordered to pay the plaintiff attorney's fees in the amount of P250,000.00 plus costs to this suit. (p. 90, Rollo.) Upon a motion for reconsideration filed by ABI, the above dispositive part of the decision, was modified by the separate opinions of the Special Sixth Division 1 so that it should read thus: In the light of the foregoing analysis and under the plain language of the applicable rule and principle on the matter, We find the defendant Asia Brewery Incorporated GUILTY of infringement of trademark and unfair competition. The decision of the trial court is hereby REVERSED, and a new judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant as follows: (1) The defendant Asia Brewery Inc., its officers, agents, servants and employees are hereby permanently enjoined and restrained from manufacturing, putting up, selling, advertising, offering or announcing for sale, or supplying Beer Pale Pilsen, or any similar preparation, manufacture or beer in bottles and under labels substantially identical with or like the said bottles and labels of plaintiff San Miguel Corporation employed for that purpose, or substantially identical with or like the bottles and labels now employed by the defendant for that purpose, or in bottles or under labels which are calculated to deceive purchasers and consumers into the belief that the beer if the product of the plaintiff or which will enable others to substitute, sell or palm off the said beer of the defendant as and for the beer of the plaintiff-complainant. (2) The defendant Asia Brewery Inc. is hereby ordered 2 to recall all its products bearing the mark Beer Pale Pilsen from its retailers and deliver these as well as all labels, signs, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles and advertisements bearing the infringing mark and all plates, molds, materials and other means of making the same to the Court authorized to execute this judgment for destruction. (3) The defendant is hereby ordered to pay plaintiff the sum of Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00) as moral damages and Half a Million Pesos (P500,000.00) by way of exemplary damages. (4) The defendant is further ordered to pay the plaintiff attorney's fees in the amount of P250,000.00 plus costs of this suit.

In due time, ABI appealed to this Court by a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The lone issue in this appeal is whether ABI infringes SMC's trademark: San Miguel Pale Pilsen with Rectangular Hops and Malt Design, and thereby commits unfair competition against the latter. It is a factual issue (Phil. Nut Industry Inc. v. Standard Brands Inc., 65 SCRA 575) and as a general rule, the findings of the Court of Appeals upon factual questions are conclusive and ought not to be disturbed by us. However, there are exceptions to this general rule, and they are: (1) When the conclusion is grounded entirely on speculation, surmises and conjectures; (2) When the inference of the Court of Appeals from its findings of fact is manifestly mistaken, absurd and impossible; (3) Where there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) When the appellate court, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case, and the same are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee; (6) When the findings of said court are contrary to those of the trial court; (7) When the findings are without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (8) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; and (9) When the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of evidence and are contradicted on record. (Reynolds Philippine Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 169 SCRA 220, 223 citing, Mendoza vs. Court of Appeals, 156 SCRA 597; Manlapaz vs. Court of Appeals, 147 SCRA 238; Sacay vs. Sandiganbayan, 142 SCRA 593, 609; Guita vs. CA, 139 SCRA 576; Casanayan vs. Court of Appeals, 198 SCRA 333, 336; also Apex Investment and Financing Corp. vs. IAC, 166 SCRA 458 [citing Tolentino vs. De Jesus, 56 SCRA 167; Carolina Industries, Inc. vs. CMS Stock Brokerage, Inc., 97 SCRA 734; Manero vs. CA, 102 SCRA 817; and Moran, Jr. vs. CA, 133 SCRA 88].) Under any of these exceptions, the Court has to review the evidence in order to arrive at the correct findings based on the record (Roman Catholic Bishop of Malolos, Inc. vs. IAC, 191 SCRA 411, 420.) Where findings of the Court of Appeals and trial court are contrary to each other, the Supreme Court may scrutinize the evidence on record. (Cruz vs. CA, 129 SCRA 222, 227.) The present case is one of the exceptions because there is no concurrence between the trial court and the Court of Appeals on the lone factual issue of whether ABI, by manufacturing and selling its BEER PALE PILSEN in amber colored steinie bottles of 320 ml. capacity with a white painted rectangular label has committed trademark infringement and unfair competition against SMC. Infringement of trademark is a form of unfair competition (Clarke vs. Manila Candy Co., 36 Phil. 100, 106). Sec. 22 of Republic Act No. 166, otherwise known as the Trademark Law, defines what constitutes infringement:

Sec. 22. Infringement, what constitutes. Any person who shall use, without the consent of the registrant, any reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation of any registered mark or trade-name in connection with the sale, offering for sale, or advertising of any goods, business or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive purchasers or others as to the source or origin of such goods or services, or identity of such business; or reproduce, counterfeit, copy or colorably imitate any such mark or trade-name and apply such reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation to labels, signs, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles or advertisements intended to be used upon or in connection with such goods, business or services, shall be liable to a civil action by the registrant for any or all of the remedies herein provided. (Emphasis supplied.) This definition implies that only registered trade marks, trade names and service marks are protected against infringement or unauthorized use by another or others. The use of someone else's registered trademark, trade name or service mark is unauthorized, hence, actionable, if it is done "without the consent of the registrant." (Ibid.) The registered trademark of SMC for its pale pilsen beer is: San Miguel Pale Pilsen With Rectangular Hops and Malt Design. (Philippine Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer Trademark Certificate of Registration No. 36103, dated 23 Oct. 1986, (p. 174, Rollo.) As described by the trial court in its decision (Page 177, Rollo): . . . . a rectangular design [is] bordered by what appears to be minute grains arranged in rows of three in which there appear in each corner hop designs. At the top is a phrase written in small print "Reg. Phil. Pat. Off." and at the bottom "Net Contents: 320 Ml." The dominant feature is the phrase "San Miguel" written horizontally at the upper portion. Below are the words "Pale Pilsen" written diagonally across the middle of the rectangular design. In between is a coat of arms and the phrase "Expertly Brewed." The "S" in "San" and the "M" of "Miguel," "P" of "Pale" and "Pilsen" are written in Gothic letters with fine strokes of serifs, the kind that first appeared in the 1780s in England and used for printing German as distinguished from Roman and Italic. Below "Pale Pilsen" is the statement "And Bottled by" (first line, "San Miguel Brewery" (second line), and "Philippines" (third line). (p. 177, Rollo; Emphasis supplied.) On the other hand, ABI's trademark, as described by the trial court, consists of: . . . a rectangular design bordered by what appear to be buds of flowers with leaves. The dominant feature is "Beer" written across the upper portion of the rectangular design. The phrase "Pale Pilsen" appears immediately below in smaller block letters. To the left is a hop design and to the right, written in small prints, is the phrase "Net Contents 320 ml." Immediately below "Pale Pilsen" is the statement written in three lines "Especially brewed and bottled by" (first line), "Asia Brewery Incorporated" (second line), and "Philippines" (third line), (p. 177, Rollo; Emphasis supplied.) Does ABI's BEER PALE PILSEN label or "design" infringe upon SMC's SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN WITH RECTANGULAR MALT AND HOPS DESIGN? The answer is "No."

Infringement is determined by the "test of dominancy" rather than by differences or variations in the details of one trademark and of another. The rule was formulated in Co Tiong Sa vs. Director of Patents, 95 Phil. 1, 4 (1954); reiterated in Lim Hoa vs. Director of Patents, 100 Phil. 214, 216-217 (1956), thus: It has been consistently held that the question of infringement of a trademark is to be determined by the test of dominancy. Similarity in size, form and color, while relevant, is not conclusive. If the competing trademark contains the main or essential or dominant features of another, and confusion and deception is likely to result, infringement takes place. Duplication or imitation is not necessary; nor it is necessary that the infringing label should suggest an effort to imitate. [C. Neilman Brewing Co. vs. Independent Brewing Co., 191 F., 489, 495, citing Eagle White Lead Co., vs. Pflugh (CC) 180 Fed. 579]. The question at issue in cases of infringement of trademarks is whether the use of the marks involved would be likely to cause confusion or mistakes in the mind of the public or deceive purchasers. (Auburn Rubber Corporation vs. Honover Rubber Co., 107 F. 2d 588; . . . .) (Emphasis supplied.) In Forbes, Munn & Co. (Ltd.) vs. Ang San To, 40 Phil. 272, 275, the test was similarity or "resemblance between the two (trademarks) such as would be likely to cause the one mark to be mistaken for the other. . . . [But] this is not such similitude as amounts to identity." In Phil. Nut Industry Inc. vs. Standard Brands Inc., 65 SCRA 575, the court was more specific: the test is "similarity in the dominant features of the trademarks." What are the dominant features of the competing trademarks before us? There is hardly any dispute that the dominant feature of SMC's trademark is the name of the product: SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN, written in white Gothic letters with elaborate serifs at the beginning and end of the letters "S" and "M" on an amber background across the upper portion of the rectangular design. On the other hand, the dominant feature of ABI's trademark is the name: BEER PALE PILSEN, with the word "Beer" written in large amber letters, larger than any of the letters found in the SMC label. The trial court perceptively observed that the word "BEER" does not appear in SMC's trademark, just as the words "SAN MIGUEL" do not appear in ABI's trademark. Hence, there is absolutely no similarity in the dominant features of both trademarks. Neither in sound, spelling or appearance can BEER PALE PILSEN be said to be confusingly similar to SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN. No one who purchases BEER PALE PILSEN can possibly be deceived that it is SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN. No evidence whatsoever was presented by SMC proving otherwise. Besides the dissimilarity in their names, the following other dissimilarities in the trade dress or appearance of the competing products abound: (1) The SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN bottle has a slender tapered neck. The BEER PALE PILSEN bottle has a fat, bulging neck.

(2) The words "pale pilsen" on SMC's label are printed in bold and laced letters along a diagonal band, whereas the words "pale pilsen" on ABI's bottle are half the size and printed in slender block letters on a straight horizontalband. (See Exhibit "8-a".). (3) The names of the manufacturers are prominently printed on their respective bottles. SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN is "Bottled by the San Miguel Brewery, Philippines," whereas BEER PALE PILSEN is "Especially brewed and bottled by Asia Brewery Incorporated, Philippines." (4) On the back of ABI's bottle is printed in big, bold letters, under a row of flower buds and leaves, its copyrighted slogan: "BEER NA BEER!" Whereas SMC's bottle carries no slogan. (5) The back of the SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN bottle carries the SMC logo, whereas the BEER PALE PILSEN bottle has no logo. (6) The SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN bottle cap is stamped with a coat of arms and the words "San Miguel Brewery Philippines" encircling the same. The BEER PALE PILSEN bottle cap is stamped with the name "BEER" in the center, surrounded by the words "Asia Brewery Incorporated Philippines." (7) Finally, there is a substantial price difference between BEER PALE PILSEN (currently at P4.25 per bottle) and SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN (currently at P7.00 per bottle). One who pays only P4.25 for a bottle of beer cannot expect to receive San Miguel Pale Pilsen from the storekeeper or bartender. The fact that the words pale pilsen are part of ABI's trademark does not constitute an infringement of SMC's trademark: SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN, for "pale pilsen" are generic words descriptive of the color ("pale"), of a type of beer ("pilsen"), which is a light bohemian beer with a strong hops flavor that originated in the City of Pilsen in Czechoslovakia and became famous in the Middle Ages. (Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged. Edited by Philip Babcock Gove. Springfield, Mass.: G & C Merriam Co., [c] 1976, page 1716.) "Pilsen" is a "primarily geographically descriptive word," (Sec. 4, subpar. [e] Republic Act No. 166, as inserted by Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 638) hence, non-registerable and not appropriable by any beer manufacturer. The Trademark Law provides: Sec. 4. . . .. The owner of trade-mark, trade-name or service-mark used to distinguish his goods, business or services from the goods, business or services of others shall have the right to register the same [on the principal register], unless it: xxx xxx xxx (e) Consists of a mark or trade-name which, when applied to or used in connection with the goods, business or services of the applicant is merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of them, or when applied to or used in connection with the goods, business or services of the applicant isprimarily

geographically descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of them, or is primarily merely a surname." (Emphasis supplied.) The words "pale pilsen" may not be appropriated by SMC for its exclusive use even if they are part of its registered trademark: SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN, any more than such descriptive words as "evaporated milk," "tomato ketchup," "cheddar cheese," "corn flakes" and "cooking oil" may be appropriated by any single manufacturer of these food products, for no other reason than that he was the first to use them in his registered trademark. InMasso Hermanos, S.A. vs. Director of Patents, 94 Phil. 136, 139 (1953), it was held that a dealer in shoes cannot register "Leather Shoes" as his trademark because that would be merely descriptive and it would be unjust to deprive other dealers in leather shoes of the right to use the same words with reference to their merchandise. No one may appropriate generic or descriptive words. They belong to the public domain (Ong Ai Gui vs. Director of Patents, 96 Phil. 673, 676 [1955]): A word or a combination of words which is merely descriptive of an article of trade, or of its composition, characteristics, or qualities, cannot be appropriated and protected as a trademark to the exclusion of its use by others. . . . inasmuch as all persons have an equal right to produce and vend similar articles, they also have the right to describe them properly and to use any appropriate language or words for that purpose, and no person can appropriate to himself exclusively any word or expression, properly descriptive of the article, its qualities, ingredients or characteristics, and thus limit other persons in the use of language appropriate to the description of their manufactures, the right to the use of such language being common to all. This rule excluding descriptive terms has also been held to apply to trade-names. As to whether words employed fall within this prohibition, it is said that the true test is not whether they are exhaustively descriptive of the article designated, but whether in themselves, and as they are commonly used by those who understand their meaning, they are reasonably indicative and descriptive of the thing intended. If they are thus descriptive, and not arbitrary, they cannot be appropriated from general use and become the exclusive property of anyone. (52 Am. Jur. 542-543.) . . . . Others may use the same or similar descriptive word in connection with their own wares, provided they take proper steps to prevent the public being deceived. (Richmond Remedies Co. vs. Dr. Miles Medical Co., 16 E. [2d] 598.) . . . . A descriptive word may be admittedly distinctive, especially if the user is the first creator of the article. It will, however, be denied protection, not because it lacks distinctiveness, but rather because others are equally entitled to its use. (2 Callman. Unfair Competition and Trademarks, pp. 869-870.)" (Emphasis supplied.) The circumstance that the manufacturer of BEER PALE PILSEN, Asia Brewery Incorporated, has printed its name all over the bottle of its beer product: on the label, on the back of the bottle, as well as on the bottle cap, disproves SMC's charge that ABI dishonestly and fraudulently intends to palm off its BEER PALE PILSEN as SMC's product. In view of the visible differences between the two products, the Court believes it is quite unlikely that a customer of average intelligence would mistake a bottle of BEER PALE PILSEN for SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN.

The fact that BEER PALE PILSEN like SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN is bottled in amber-colored steinie bottles of 320 ml. capacity and is also advertised in print, broadcast, and television media, does not necessarily constitute unfair competition. Unfair competition is the employment of deception or any other means contrary to good faith by which a person shall pass off the goods manufactured by him or in which he deals, or his business, or services, for those of another who has already established goodwill for his similar goods, business or services, or any acts calculated to produce the same result. (Sec. 29, Republic Act No. 166, as amended.) The law further enumerates the more common ways of committing unfair competition, thus: Sec. 29. . . . In particular, and without in any way limiting the scope of unfair competition, the following shall be deemed guilty of unfair competition: (a) Any person, who in selling his goods shall give them the general appearance of goods of another manufacturer or dealer, either as to the goods themselves or in the wrapping of the packages in which they are contained, or the devices or words thereon, or in any other feature of their appearance, which would be likely to influence purchasers to believe that the goods offered are those of a manufacturer or dealer other than the actual manufacturer or dealer, or who otherwise clothes the goods with such appearance as shall deceive the public and defraud another of his legitimate trade, or any subsequent vendor of such goods or any agent of any vendor engaged in selling such goods with a like purpose. (b) Any person who by any artifice, or device, or who employs any other means calculated to induce the false belief that such person is offering the services of another who has identified such services in the mind of the public; or (c) Any person who shall make any false statement in the course of trade or who shall commit any other act contrary to good faith of a nature calculated to discredit the goods, business or services of another. In this case, the question to be determined is whether ABI is using a name or mark for its beer that has previously come to designate SMC's beer, or whether ABI is passing off its BEER PALE PILSEN as SMC's SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN. . . ..The universal test question is whether the public is likely to be deceived. Nothing less than conduct tending to pass off one man's goods or business as that of another will constitute unfair competition. Actual or probable deception and confusion on the part of the customers by reason of defendant's practices must always appear. (Shell Co., of the Philippines, Ltd. vs. Insular Petroleum Refining Co. Ltd. et al., 120 Phil. 434, 439.) The use of ABI of the steinie bottle, similar but not identical to the SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN bottle, is not unlawful. As pointed out by ABI's counsel, SMC did not invent but merely borrowed the steinie bottle from abroad and it claims neither patent nor trademark protection for that bottle shape and design. (See rollo, page 55.) The Cerveza Especial and the Efes Pale Pilsen use the "steinie" bottle. (See Exhibits 57-D, 57-E.) The trial court found no infringement of SMC's bottle

The court agrees with defendant that there is no infringement of plaintiff's bottle, firstly, because according to plaintiff's witness Deogracias Villadolid, it is a standard type of bottle called steinie, and to witness Jose Antonio Garcia, it is not a San Miguel Corporation design but a design originally developed in the United States by the Glass Container Manufacturer's Institute and therefore lacks exclusivity. Secondly, the shape was never registered as a trademark. Exhibit "C" is not a registration of a beer bottle design required under Rep. Act 165 but the registration of the name and other marks of ownership stamped on containers as required by Rep. Act 623. Thirdly, the neck of defendant's bottle is much larger and has a distinct bulge in its uppermost part. (p. 186, Rollo.) The petitioner's contention that bottle size, shape and color may not be the exclusive property of any one beer manufacturer is well taken. SMC's being the first to use the steinie bottle does not give SMC a vested right to use it to the exclusion of everyone else. Being of functional or common use, and not the exclusive invention of any one, it is available to all who might need to use it within the industry. Nobody can acquire any exclusive right to market articles supplying simple human needs in containers or wrappers of the general form, size and character commonly and immediately used in marketing such articles (Dy Buncio vs. Tan Tiao Bok, 42 Phil. 190, 194-195.) . . . protection against imitation should be properly confined to nonfunctional features. Even if purely functional elements are slavishly copied, the resemblance will not support an action for unfair competition, and the first user cannot claim secondary meaning protection. Nor can the first user predicate his claim to protection on the argument that his business was established in reliance on any such unpatented nonfunctional feature, even "at large expenditure of money." (Callman Unfair Competition, Trademarks and Monopolies, Sec. 19.33 [4th Ed.].) (Petition for Review, p. 28.) ABI does not use SMC's steinie bottle. Neither did ABI copy it. ABI makes its own steinie bottle which has a fat bulging neck to differentiate it from SMC's bottle. The amber color is a functional feature of the beer bottle. As pointed out by ABI, all bottled beer produced in the Philippines is contained and sold in amber-colored bottles because amber is the most effective color in preventing transmission of light and provides the maximum protection to beer. As was ruled in California Crushed Fruit Corporation vs. Taylor B. and Candy Co., 38 F2d 885, a merchant cannot be enjoined from using a type or color of bottle where the same has the useful purpose of protecting the contents from the deleterious effects of light rays. Moreover, no one may have a monopoly of any color. Not only beer, but most medicines, whether in liquid or tablet form, are sold in amber-colored bottles. That the ABI bottle has a 320 ml. capacity is not due to a desire to imitate SMC's bottle because that bottle capacity is the standard prescribed under Metrication Circular No. 778, dated 4 December 1979, of the Department of Trade, Metric System Board. With regard to the white label of both beer bottles, ABI explained that it used the color white for its label because white presents the strongest contrast to the amber color of ABI's bottle; it is also the most economical to use on labels, and the easiest to "bake" in the furnace (p. 16, TSN of September 20, 1988). No one can have a monopoly of the color amber for bottles, nor of white for labels, nor of the rectangular shape which is the usual configuration of labels. Needless to say, the shape of the bottle and of the label is unimportant. What is all important is the name of the product written on the label of the bottle for that is how one beer may be distinguished form the others.

In Dy Buncio v. Tan Tiao Bok, 42 Phil. 190, 196-197, where two competing tea products were both labelled as Formosan tea, both sold in 5-ounce packages made of ordinary wrapping paper of conventional color, both with labels containing designs drawn in green ink and Chinese characters written in red ink, one label showing a double-decked jar in the center, the other, a flower pot, this court found that the resemblances between the designs were not sufficient to mislead the ordinary intelligent buyer, hence, there was no unfair competition. The Court held: . . . . In order that there may be deception of the buying public in the sense necessary to constitute unfair competition, it is necessary to suppose a public accustomed to buy, and therefore to some extent familiar with, the goods in question. The test of fraudulent simulation is to be found in the likelihood of the deception of persons in some measure acquainted with an established design and desirous of purchasing the commodity with which that design has been associated. The test is not found in the deception, or possibility of the deception, of the person who knows nothing about the design which has been counterfeited, and who must be indifferent as between that and the other. The simulation, in order to be objectionable, must be such as appears likely to mislead the ordinarily intelligent buyer who has a need to supply and is familiar with the article that he seeks to purchase. The main thrust of SMC's complaint if not infringement of its trademark, but unfair competition arising form the allegedly "confusing similarity" in the general appearance or trade dress of ABI's BEER PALE PILSEN beside SMC's SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN (p. 209, Rollo) SMC claims that the "trade dress" of BEER PALE PILSEN is "confusingly similar" to its SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN because both are bottled in 320 ml. steinie type, amber-colored bottles with white rectangular labels. However, when as in this case, the names of the competing products are clearly different and their respective sources are prominently printed on the label and on other parts of the bottle, mere similarity in the shape and size of the container and label, does not constitute unfair competition. The steinie bottle is a standard bottle for beer and is universally used. SMC did not invent it nor patent it. The fact that SMC's bottle is registered under R.A. No. 623 (as amended by RA 5700, An Act to Regulate the Use of Duly Stamped or Marked Bottles, Boxes, Casks, Kegs, Barrels and Other Similar Containers) simply prohibits manufacturers of other foodstuffs from the unauthorized use of SMC's bottles by refilling these with their products. It was not uncommon then for products such as patis (fish sauce) and toyo (soy sauce) to be sold in recycled SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN bottles. Registration of SMC's beer bottles did not give SMC a patent on the steinie or on bottles of similar size, shape or color. Most containers are standardized because they are usually made by the same manufacturer. Milk, whether in powdered or liquid form, is sold in uniform tin cans. The same can be said of the standard ketchup or vinegar bottle with its familiar elongated neck. Many other grocery items such as coffee, mayonnaise, pickles and peanut butter are sold in standard glass jars. The manufacturers of these foodstuffs have equal right to use these standards tins, bottles and jars for their products. Only their respective labels distinguish them from each other. Just as no milk producer may sue the others for unfair competition because they sell their milk in the same size and shape of milk can which he uses, neither may SMC claim unfair competition arising from the fact that ABI's BEER PALE PILSEN is sold, like SMC's SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN in amber steinie bottles.

The record does not bear out SMC's apprehension that BEER PALE PILSEN is being passed off as SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN. This is unlikely to happen for consumers or buyers of beer generally order their beer by brand. As pointed out by ABI's counsel, in supermarkets and tiendas, beer is ordered by brand, and the customer surrenders his empty replacement bottles or pays a deposit to guarantee the return of the empties. If his empties are SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN, he will get SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN as replacement. In sari-sari stores, beer is also ordered from the tindera by brand. The same is true in restaurants, pubs and beer gardens beer is ordered from the waiters by brand. (Op. cit. page 50.) Considering further that SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN has virtually monopolized the domestic beer market for the past hundred years, those who have been drinking no other beer but SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN these many years certainly know their beer too well to be deceived by a newcomer in the market. If they gravitate to ABI's cheaper beer, it will not be because they are confused or deceived, but because they find the competing product to their taste. Our decision in this case will not diminish our ruling in "Del Monte Corporation vs. Court of Appeals and Sunshine Sauce Manufacturing Industries," 181 SCRA 410, 419, 3 that: . . . to determine whether a trademark has been infringed, we must consider the mark as a whole and not as dissected. If the buyer is deceived, it is attributable to the marks as a totality, not usually to any part of it. That ruling may not apply to all kinds of products. The Court itself cautioned that in resolving cases of infringement and unfair competition, the courts should "take into consideration several factors which would affect its conclusion, to wit: the age, training and education of the usual purchaser, the nature and cost of the article, whether the article is bought for immediate consumption and also the conditions under which it is usually purchased" (181 SCRA 410, 418-419). The Del Monte case involved catsup, a common household item which is bought off the store shelves by housewives and house help who, if they are illiterate and cannot identify the product by name or brand, would very likely identify it by mere recollection of its appearance. Since the competitor, Sunshine Sauce Mfg. Industries, not only used recycled Del Monte bottles for its catsup (despite the warning embossed on the bottles: "Del Monte Corporation. Not to be refilled.") but also used labels which were "a colorable imitation" of Del Monte's label, we held that there was infringement of Del Monte's trademark and unfair competition by Sunshine. Our ruling in Del Monte would not apply to beer which is not usually picked from a store shelf but ordered by brand by the beer drinker himself from the storekeeper or waiter in a pub or restaurant. Moreover, SMC's brand or trademark: "SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN" is not infringed by ABI's mark: "BEER NA BEER" or "BEER PALE PILSEN." ABI makes its own bottle with a bulging neck to differentiate it from SMC's bottle, and prints ABI's name in three (3) places on said bottle (front, back and bottle cap) to prove that it has no intention to pass of its "BEER" as "SAN MIGUEL." There is no confusing similarity between the competing beers for the name of one is "SAN MIGUEL" while the competitor is plain "BEER" and the points of dissimilarity between the two outnumber their points of similarity.

Petitioner ABI has neither infringed SMC's trademark nor committed unfair competition with the latter's SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN product. While its BEER PALE PILSEN admittedly competes with the latter in the open market, that competition is neither unfair nor fraudulent. Hence, we must deny SMC's prayer to suppress it. WHEREFORE, finding the petition for review meritorious, the same is hereby granted. The decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 28104 are hereby set aside and that of the trial court is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. Costs against the private respondent. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, C.J., Bidin, Regalado, Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo and Melo, JJ., concur. Feliciano, J., took no part.

Separate Opinions

CRUZ, J., dissenting: The present ponencia stresses the specific similarities and differences of the two products to support the conclusion that there is no infringement of trade marks or unfair competition. That test was rejected in my ownponencia in Del Monte Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 181 SCRA 410, concurred in by Justices Narvasa, Gancayco, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, where we declared: While the Court does recognize these distinctions, it does not agree with the conclusion that there was no infringement or unfair competition. It seems to us that the lower courts have been so preoccupied with the details that they have not seen the total picture. It has been correctly held that side-by-side comparison is not the final test of similarity. Such comparison requires a careful scrutiny to determine in what points the labels of the products differ, as was done by the trial judge. The ordinary buyer does not usually make such scrutiny nor does he usually have the time to do so. The average shopper is usually in a hurry and does not inspect every product on the shelf as if he were browsing in a library. Where the housewife has to return home as soon as possible to her baby or the working woman has to make quick purchases during her off hours, she is apt to be confused by similar labels even if they do have minute differences. The male shopper is worse as he usually does not bother about such distinctions. The question is not whether the two articles are distinguishable by their labels when set aside by side but whether the general confusion made by the article upon the eye of the casual purchaser who is unsuspicious and off his guard, is such as to likely result in his confounding it with the original. As observed in several cases, the general impression of the ordinary purchaser, buying under the normally

prevalent conditions in trade and giving the attention such purchasers usually give in buying that class of goods, is the touchstone. It has been held that in making purchases, the consumer must depend upon his recollection of the appearance of the product which he intends to purchase. The buyer having in mind the mark/label of the respondent must rely upon his memory of the petitioner's mark. Unlike the judge who has ample time to minutely examine the labels in question in the comfort of his sala, the ordinary shopper does not enjoy the same opportunity. A number of courts have held that to determine whether a trademark has been infringed, we must consider the mark as a whole and not as dissected. If the buyer is deceived, it is attributable to the marks as a totality, not usually to any part of it. The court therefore should be guided by its first impression, for a buyer acts quickly and is governed by a casual glance, the value of which may be dissipated as soon as the court assumes to analyze carefully the respective features of the mark. It has also been held that it is not the function of the court in cases of infringement and unfair competition to educate purchasers but rather to take their carelessness for granted, and to be ever conscious of the fact that marks need not be identical. A confusing similarity will justify the intervention of equity. The judge must also be aware of the fact that usually a defendant in cases of infringement does not normally copy but makes only colorable changes. Well has it been said that the most successful form of copying is to employ enough points of similarity to confuse the public with enough points of difference to confuse the courts. For the above reasons, and the other arguments stated in Del Monte, I dissent.

# Separate Opinions CRUZ, J., dissenting: The present ponencia stresses the specific similarities and differences of the two products to support the conclusion that there is no infringement of trade marks or unfair competition. That test was rejected in my ownponencia in Del Monte Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 181 SCRA 410, concurred in by Justices Narvasa, Gancayco, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, where we declared: While the Court does recognize these distinctions, it does not agree with the conclusion that there was no infringement or unfair competition. It seems to us that the lower courts have been so preoccupied with the details that they have not seen the total picture. It has been correctly held that side-by-side comparison is not the final test of similarity. Such comparison requires a careful scrutiny to determine in what points the labels of the products differ, as was done by the trial judge. The ordinary buyer does not usually make such scrutiny nor does he usually have the time to do so. The average shopper is usually in a hurry and does not inspect every product on the shelf as if he were browsing in a library. Where the housewife has to return home as soon as possible to her baby or the working woman has to make quick purchases during her off hours, she is apt to be confused by similar

labels even if they do have minute differences. The male shopper is worse as he usually does not bother about such distinctions. The question is not whether the two articles are distinguishable by their labels when set aside by side but whether the general confusion made by the article upon the eye of the casual purchaser who is unsuspicious and off his guard, is such as to likely result in his confounding it with the original. As observed in several cases, the general impression of the ordinary purchaser, buying under the normally prevalent conditions in trade and giving the attention such purchasers usually give in buying that class of goods, is the touchstone. It has been held that in making purchases, the consumer must depend upon his recollection of the appearance of the product which he intends to purchase. The buyer having in mind the mark/label of the respondent must rely upon his memory of the petitioner's mark. Unlike the judge who has ample time to minutely examine the labels in question in the comfort of his sala, the ordinary shopper does not enjoy the same opportunity. A number of courts have held that to determine whether a trademark has been infringed, we must consider the mark as a whole and not as dissected. If the buyer is deceived, it is attributable to the marks as a totality, not usually to any part of it. The court therefore should be guided by its first impression, for a buyer acts quickly and is governed by a casual glance, the value of which may be dissipated as soon as the court assumes to analyze carefully the respective features of the mark. It has also been held that it is not the function of the court in cases of infringement and unfair competition to educate purchasers but rather to take their carelessness for granted, and to be ever conscious of the fact that marks need not be identical. A confusing similarity will justify the intervention of equity. The judge must also be aware of the fact that usually a defendant in cases of infringement does not normally copy but makes only colorable changes. Well has it been said that the most successful form of copying is to employ enough points of similarity to confuse the public with enough points of difference to confuse the courts. For the above reasons, and the other arguments stated in Del Monte, I dissent.

EMERALD GARMENT MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, BUREAU OF PATENTS, TRADEMARKS AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER and H.D. LEE COMPANY, INC., respondents.

KAPUNAN, J.: In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, Emerald Garment Manufacturing Corporation seeks to annul the decision of the Court of Appeals dated 29 November 1990 in CA-G.R. SP No. 15266 declaring petitioner's trademark to be confusingly similar to that of private respondent and the resolution dated 17 May 1991 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.

The record reveals the following antecedent facts: On 18 September 1981, private respondent H.D. Lee Co., Inc., a foreign corporation organized under the laws of Delaware, U.S.A., filed with the Bureau of Patents, Trademarks & Technology Transfer (BPTTT) a Petition for Cancellation of Registration No. SR 5054 (Supplemental Register) for the trademark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" used on skirts, jeans, blouses, socks, briefs, jackets, jogging suits, dresses, shorts, shirts and lingerie under Class 25, issued on 27 October 1980 in the name of petitioner Emerald Garment Manufacturing Corporation, a domestic corporation organized and existing under Philippine laws. The petition was docketed as Inter Partes Case No. 1558. 1 Private respondent, invoking Sec. 37 of R.A. No. 166 (Trademark Law) and Art. VIII of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, averred that petitioner's trademark "so closely resembled its own trademark, 'LEE' as previously registered and used in the Philippines, and not abandoned, as to be likely, when applied to or used in connection with petitioner's goods, to cause confusion, mistake and deception on the part of the purchasing public as to the origin of the goods." 2 In its answer dated 23 March 1982, petitioner contended that its trademark was entirely and unmistakably different from that of private respondent and that its certificate of registration was legally and validly granted. 3 On 20 February 1984, petitioner caused the publication of its application for registration of the trademark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" in the Principal Register." 4 On 27 July 1984, private respondent filed a notice of opposition to petitioner's application for registration also on grounds that petitioner's trademark was confusingly similar to its "LEE" trademark. 5 The case was docketed as Inter Partes Case No. 1860. On 21 June 1985, the Director of Patents, on motion filed by private respondent dated 15 May 1985, issued an order consolidating Inter Partes Cases Nos. 1558 and 1860 on grounds that a common question of law was involved. 6 On 19 July 1988, the Director of Patents rendered a decision granting private respondent's petition for cancellation and opposition to registration. The Director of Patents found private respondent to be the prior registrant of the trademark "LEE" in the Philippines and that it had been using said mark in the Philippines. 7 Moreover, the Director of Patents, using the test of dominancy, declared that petitioner's trademark was confusingly similar to private respondent's mark because "it is the word 'Lee' which draws the attention of the buyer and leads him to conclude that the goods originated from the same manufacturer. It is undeniably the dominant feature of the mark." 8 On 3 August 1988, petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals and on 8 August 1988, it filed with the BPTTT a Motion to Stay Execution of the 19 July 1988 decision of the Director of Patents on grounds that the same would cause it great and irreparable damage and injury. Private respondent submitted its opposition on 22 August 1988.9 On 23 September 1988, the BPTTT issued Resolution No. 88-33 granting petitioner's motion to stay execution subject to the following terms and conditions:

1. That under this resolution, Respondent-Registrant is authorized only to dispose of its current stock using the mark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE"; 2. That Respondent-Registrant is strictly prohibited from further production, regardless of mode and source, of the mark in question (STYLISTIC MR. LEE) in addition to its current stock; 3. That this relief Order shall automatically cease upon resolution of the Appeal by the Court of Appeals and, if the Respondent's appeal loses, all goods bearing the mark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" shall be removed from the market, otherwise such goods shall be seized in accordance with the law. SO ORDERED. 10 On 29 November 1990, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision affirming the decision of the Director of Patents dated 19 July 1988 in all respects. 11 In said decision the Court of Appeals expounded, thus: xxx xxx xxx Whether or not a trademark causes confusion and is likely to deceive the public is a question of fact which is to be resolved by applying the "test of dominancy", meaning, if the competing trademark contains the main or essential or dominant features of another by reason of which confusion and deception are likely to result, then infringement takes place; that duplication or imitation is not necessary, a similarity in the dominant features of the trademark would be sufficient. The word "LEE" is the most prominent and distinctive feature of the appellant's trademark and all of the appellee's "LEE" trademarks. It is the mark which draws the attention of the buyer and leads him to conclude that the goods originated from the same manufacturer. While it is true that there are other words such as "STYLISTIC", printed in the appellant's label, such word is printed in such small letters over the word "LEE" that it is not conspicuous enough to draw the attention of ordinary buyers whereas the word "LEE" is printed across the label in big, bold letters and of the same color, style, type and size of lettering as that of the trademark of the appellee. The alleged difference is too insubstantial to be noticeable. Even granting arguendo that the word "STYLISTIC" is conspicuous enough to draw attention, the goods may easily be mistaken for just another variation or line of garments under the ap appelle's "LEE" trademarks in view of the fact that the appellee has registered trademarks which use other words in addition to the principal mark "LEE" such as "LEE RIDERS", "LEESURES" and "LEE LEENS". The likelihood of confusion is further made more probable by the fact that both parties are engaged in the same line of business. It is well to reiterate that the determinative factor in ascertaining whether or not the marks are confusingly similar to each other is not whether the challenged mark would actually cause confusion or deception of the purchasers but whether the use of such mark would likely cause confusion or mistake on the part of the buying public. xxx xxx xxx

The appellee has sufficiently established its right to prior use and registration of the trademark "LEE" in the Philippines and is thus entitled to protection from any infringement upon the same. It is thus axiomatic that one who has identified a peculiar symbol or mark with his goods thereby acquires a property right in such symbol or mark, and if another infringes the trademark, he thereby invokes this property right. The merchandise or goods being sold by the parties are not that expensive as alleged to be by the appellant and are quite ordinary commodities purchased by the average person and at times, by the ignorant and the unlettered. Ordinary purchasers will not as a rule examine the small letterings printed on the label but will simply be guided by the presence of the striking mark "LEE". Whatever difference there may be will pale in insignificance in the face of an evident similarity in the dominant features and overall appearance of the labels of the parties. 12 xxx xxx xxx On 19 December 1990, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the above-mentioned decision of the Court of Appeals. Private respondent opposed said motion on 8 January 1991 on grounds that it involved an impermissible change of theory on appeal. Petitioner allegedly raised entirely new and unrelated arguments and defenses not previously raised in the proceedings below such as laches and a claim that private respondent appropriated the style and appearance of petitioner's trademark when it registered its "LEE" mark under Registration No. 44220. 13 On 17 May 1991, the Court of Appeals issued a resolution rejecting petitioner's motion for reconsideration and ruled thus: xxx xxx xxx A defense not raised in the trial court cannot be raised on appeal for the first time. An issue raised for the first time on appeal and not raised timely in the proceedings in the lower court is barred by estoppel. The object of requiring the parties to present all questions and issues to the lower court before they can be presented to this Court is to have the lower court rule upon them, so that this Court on appeal may determine whether or not such ruling was erroneous. The purpose is also in furtherance of justice to require the party to first present the question he contends for in the lower court so that the other party may not be taken by surprise and may present evidence to properly meet the issues raised. Moreover, for a question to be raised on appeal, the same must also be within the issues raised by the parties in their pleadings. Consequently, when a party deliberately adopts a certain theory, and the case is tried and decided based upon such theory presented in the court below, he will not be permitted to change his theory on appeal. To permit him to do so would be unfair to the adverse party. A question raised for the first time on appeal, there having opportunity to raise them in the court of origin constitutes a change of theory which is not permissible on appeal.

In the instant case, appellant's main defense pleaded in its answer dated March 23, 1982 was that there was "no confusing similarity between the competing trademark involved. On appeal, the appellant raised a single issue, to wit: The only issue involved in this case is whether or not respondentregistrant's trademark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" is confusingly similar with the petitioner's trademarks "LEE or LEERIDERS, LEE-LEENS and LEE-SURES." Appellant's main argument in this motion for reconsideration on the other hand is that the appellee is estopped by laches from asserting its right to its trademark. Appellant claims although belatedly that appellee went to court with "unclean hands" by changing the appearance of its trademark to make it identical to the appellant's trademark. Neither defenses were raised by the appellant in the proceedings before the Bureau of Patents. Appellant cannot raise them now for the first time on appeal, let alone on a mere motion for reconsideration of the decision of this Court dismissing the appellant's appeal. While there may be instances and situations justifying relaxation of this rule, the circumstance of the instant case, equity would be better served by applying the settled rule it appearing that appellant has not given any reason at all as to why the defenses raised in its motion for reconsideration was not invoked earlier. 14 xxx xxx xxx Twice rebuffed, petitioner presents its case before this Court on the following assignment of errors: I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT CAUSED THE ISSUANCE OF A FOURTH "LEE" TRADEMARK IMITATING THAT OF THE PETITIONER'S ON MAY 5, 1989 OR MORE THAN EIGHT MONTHS AFTER THE BUREAU OF PATENT'S DECISION DATED JULY 19, 1988. II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE DEFENSE OF ESTOPPEL BY LACHES MUST BE RAISED IN THE PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE BUREAU OF PATENTS, TRADEMARKS AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER. III. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT CONSIDERED PRIVATE RESPONDENT'S PRIOR REGISTRATION OF ITS TRADEMARK AND DISREGARDED THE FACT THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT HAD FAILED TO PROVE COMMERCIAL USE THEREOF BEFORE FILING OF APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION. 15 In addition, petitioner reiterates the issues it raised in the Court of Appeals: I. THE ISSUE INVOLVED IN THIS CASE IS WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER'S TRADEMARK SYTLISTIC MR. LEE, IS CONFUSINGLY SIMILAR WITH THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT'S TRADEMARK LEE OR LEE-RIDER, LEE-LEENS AND LEE-SURES.

II. PETITIONER'S EVIDENCES ARE CLEAR AND SUFFICIENT TO SHOW THAT IT IS THE PRIOR USER AND ITS TRADEMARK IS DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT. III. PETITIONER'S TRADEMARK IS ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT'S AND THE REGISTRATION OF ITS TRADEMARK IS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF GOOD FAITH. IV. PETITIONER'S "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" TRADEMARK CANNOT BE CONFUSED WITH PRIVATE RESPONDENT'S LEE TRADEMARK. 16 Petitioner contends that private respondent is estopped from instituting an action for infringement before the BPTTT under the equitable principle of laches pursuant to Sec. 9-A of R.A. No. 166, otherwise known as the Law on Trade-marks, Trade-names and Unfair Competition: Sec. 9-A. Equitable principles to govern proceedings. In opposition proceedings and in all other inter partes proceedings in the patent office under this act, equitable principles of laches, estoppel, and acquiescence, where applicable, may be considered and applied. Petitioner alleges that it has been using its trademark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" since 1 May 1975, yet, it was only on 18 September 1981 that private respondent filed a petition for cancellation of petitioner's certificate of registration for the said trademark. Similarly, private respondent's notice of opposition to petitioner's application for registration in the principal register was belatedly filed on 27 July 1984. 17 Private respondent counters by maintaining that petitioner was barred from raising new issues on appeal, the only contention in the proceedings below being the presence or absence of confusing similarity between the two trademarks in question. 18 We reject petitioner's contention. Petitioner's trademark is registered in the supplemental register. The Trademark Law (R.A. No. 166) provides that "marks and tradenames for the supplemental register shall not be published for or be subject to opposition, but shall be published on registration in the Official Gazette." 19 The reckoning point, therefore, should not be 1 May 1975, the date of alleged use by petitioner of its assailed trademark but 27 October 1980, 20 the date the certificate of registration SR No. 5054 was published in the Official Gazette and issued to petitioner. It was only on the date of publication and issuance of the registration certificate that private respondent may be considered "officially" put on notice that petitioner has appropriated or is using said mark, which, after all, is the function and purpose of registration in the supplemental register. 21 The record is bereft of evidence that private respondent was aware of petitioner's trademark before the date of said publication and issuance. Hence, when private respondent instituted cancellation proceedings on 18 September 1981, less than a year had passed. Corollarily, private respondent could hardly be accused of inexcusable delay in filing its notice of opposition to petitioner's application for registration in the principal register since said application was published only on 20 February 1984. 22 From the time of publication to the time of filing the opposition on 27 July 1984 barely five (5) months had elapsed. To be barred from bringing suit on grounds of estoppel and laches, the delay must be lengthy. 23

More crucial is the issue of confusing similarity between the two trademarks. Petitioner vehemently contends that its trademark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" is entirely different from and not confusingly similar to private respondent's "LEE" trademark. Private respondent maintains otherwise. It asserts that petitioner's trademark tends to mislead and confuse the public and thus constitutes an infringement of its own mark, since the dominant feature therein is the word "LEE." The pertinent provision of R.A. No. 166 (Trademark Law) states thus: Sec. 22. Infringement, what constitutes. Any person who shall use, without the consent of the registrant, any reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation of any registered mark or trade-name in connection with the sale, offering for sale, or advertising of any goods, business or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive purchasers or others as to the source or origin of such goods or services, or identity of such business; or reproduce, counterfeit, copy or colorably imitable any such mark or trade-name and apply such reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation to labels, signs, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles or advertisements intended to be used upon or in connection with such goods, business or services; shall be liable to a civil action by the registrant for any or all of the remedies herein provided. Practical application, however, of the aforesaid provision is easier said than done. In the history of trademark cases in the Philippines, particularly in ascertaining whether one trademark is confusingly similar to or is a colorable imitation of another, no set rules can be deduced. Each case must be decided on its own merits. In Esso Standard Eastern, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 24 we held: . . . But likelihood of confusion is a relative concept; to be determined only according to the particular, and sometimes peculiar, circumstances of each case. It is unquestionably true that, as stated inCoburn vs. Puritan Mills, Inc.: "In trademark cases, even more than in other litigation, precedent must be studied in the light of the facts of the particular case." xxx xxx xxx Likewise, it has been observed that: In determining whether a particular name or mark is a "colorable imitation" of another, no all-embracing rule seems possible in view of the great number of factors which must necessarily be considered in resolving this question of fact, such as the class of product or business to which the article belongs; the product's quality, quantity, or size, including its wrapper or container; the dominant color, style, size, form, meaning of letters, words, designs and emblems used; the nature of the package, wrapper or container; the character of the product's purchasers; location of the business; the likelihood of deception or the mark or name's tendency to confuse; etc. 25

Proceeding to the task at hand, the essential element of infringement is colorable imitation. This term has been defined as "such a close or ingenious imitation as to be calculated to deceive ordinary purchasers, or such resemblance of the infringing mark to the original as to deceive an ordinary purchaser giving such attention as a purchaser usually gives, and to cause him to purchase the one supposing it to be the other." 26 Colorable imitation does not mean such similitude as amounts to identity. Nor does it require that all the details be literally copied. Colorable imitation refers to such similarity in form, content, words, sound, meaning, special arrangement, or general appearance of the trademark or tradename with that of the other mark or tradename in their over-all presentation or in their essential, substantive and distinctive parts as would likely mislead or confuse persons in the ordinary course of purchasing the genuine article. 27 In determining whether colorable imitation exists, jurisprudence has developed two kinds of tests the Dominancy Test applied in Asia Brewery, Inc. v. Court of Appeals 28 and other cases 29 and the Holistic Test developed in Del Monte Corporation v. Court of Appeals 30 and its proponent cases. 31 As its title implies, the test of dominancy focuses on the similarity of the prevalent features of the competing trademarks which might cause confusion or deception and thus constitutes infringement. xxx xxx xxx . . . If the competing trademark contains the main or essential or dominant features of another, and confusion and deception is likely to result, infringement takes place. Duplication or imitation is not necessary; nor it is necessary that the infringing label should suggest an effort to imitate. [C. Neilman Brewing Co. v. Independent Brewing Co., 191 F., 489, 495, citing Eagle White Lead Co., vs. Pflugh (CC) 180 Fed. 579]. The question at issue in cases of infringement of trademarks is whether the use of the marks involved would be likely to cause confusion or mistakes in the mind of the public or deceive purchasers. (Auburn Rubber Corporation vs. Honover Rubber Co., 107 F. 2d 588; . . .) 32 xxx xxx xxx On the other side of the spectrum, the holistic test mandates that the entirety of the marks in question must be considered in determining confusing similarity. xxx xxx xxx In determining whether the trademarks are confusingly similar, a comparison of the words is not the only determinant factor. The trademarks in their entirety as they appear in their respective labels or hang tags must also be considered in relation to the goods to which they are attached. The discerning eye of the observer must focus not only on the predominant words but also on the other features appearing in both labels in order that he may draw his conclusion whether one is confusingly similar to the other. 33 xxx xxx xxx

Applying the foregoing tenets to the present controversy and taking into account the factual circumstances of this case, we considered the trademarks involved as a whole and rule that petitioner's "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" is not confusingly similar to private respondent's "LEE" trademark. Petitioner's trademark is the whole "STYLISTIC MR. LEE." Although on its label the word "LEE" is prominent, the trademark should be considered as a whole and not piecemeal. The dissimilarities between the two marks become conspicuous, noticeable and substantial enough to matter especially in the light of the following variables that must be factored in. First, the products involved in the case at bar are, in the main, various kinds of jeans. These are not your ordinary household items like catsup, soysauce or soap which are of minimal cost. Maong pants or jeans are not inexpensive. Accordingly, the casual buyer is predisposed to be more cautious and discriminating in and would prefer to mull over his purchase. Confusion and deception, then, is less likely. In Del Monte Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 34 we noted that: . . . Among these, what essentially determines the attitudes of the purchaser, specifically his inclination to be cautious, is the cost of the goods. To be sure, a person who buys a box of candies will not exercise as much care as one who buys an expensive watch. As a general rule, an ordinary buyer does not exercise as much prudence in buying an article for which he pays a few centavos as he does in purchasing a more valuable thing. Expensive and valuable items are normally bought only after deliberate, comparative and analytical investigation. But mass products, low priced articles in wide use, and matters of everyday purchase requiring frequent replacement are bought by the casual consumer without great care. . . . Second, like his beer, the average Filipino consumer generally buys his jeans by brand. He does not ask the sales clerk for generic jeans but for, say, a Levis, Guess, Wrangler or even an Armani. He is, therefore, more or less knowledgeable and familiar with his preference and will not easily be distracted. Finally, in line with the foregoing discussions, more credit should be given to the "ordinary purchaser." Cast in this particular controversy, the ordinary purchaser is not the "completely unwary consumer" but is the "ordinarily intelligent buyer" considering the type of product involved. The definition laid down in Dy Buncio v. Tan Tiao Bok 35 is better suited to the present case. There, the "ordinary purchaser" was defined as one "accustomed to buy, and therefore to some extent familiar with, the goods in question. The test of fraudulent simulation is to be found in the likelihood of the deception of some persons in some measure acquainted with an established design and desirous of purchasing the commodity with which that design has been associated. The test is not found in the deception, or the possibility of deception, of the person who knows nothing about the design which has been counterfeited, and who must be indifferent between that and the other. The simulation, in order to be objectionable, must be such as appears likely to mislead the ordinary intelligent buyer who has a need to supply and is familiar with the article that he seeks to purchase." There is no cause for the Court of Appeal's apprehension that petitioner's products might be mistaken as "another variation or line of garments under private respondent's 'LEE' trademark". 36 As one would readily observe, private respondent's variation follows a standard format "LEERIDERS," "LEESURES" and "LEELEENS." It is, therefore, improbable that the public would immediately and naturally conclude that petitioner's "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" is but another variation under private respondent's "LEE" mark.

As we have previously intimated the issue of confusing similarity between trademarks is resolved by considering the distinct characteristics of each case. In the present controversy, taking into account these unique factors, we conclude that the similarities in the trademarks in question are not sufficient as to likely cause deception and confusion tantamount to infringement. Another way of resolving the conflict is to consider the marks involved from the point of view of what marks are registrable pursuant to Sec. 4 of R.A. No. 166, particularly paragraph 4 (e): CHAPTER II-A. The Principal Register (Inserted by Sec. 2, Rep. Act No. 638.) Sec. 4. Registration of trade-marks, trade-names and service-marks on the principal register. There is hereby established a register of trade-marks, trade-names and service-marks which shall be known as the principal register. The owner of a trade-mark, trade-name or service-mark used to distinguish his goods, business or services from the goods, business or services of others shall have the right to register the same on the principal register, unless it: xxx xxx xxx (e) Consists of a mark or trade-name which, when applied to or used in connection with the goods, business or services of the applicant is merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of them, or when applied to or used in connection with the goods, business or services of the applicant is primarily geographically descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of them, or is primarily merely a surname; (Emphasis ours.) xxx xxx xxx "LEE" is primarily a surname. Private respondent cannot, therefore, acquire exclusive ownership over and singular use of said term. . . . It has been held that a personal name or surname may not be monopolized as a trademark or tradename as against others of the same name or surname. For in the absence of contract, fraud, or estoppel, any man may use his name or surname in all legitimate ways. Thus, "Wellington" is a surname, and its first user has no cause of action against the junior user of "Wellington" as it is incapable of exclusive appropriation. 37 In addition to the foregoing, we are constrained to agree with petitioner's contention that private respondent failed to prove prior actual commercial use of its "LEE" trademark in the Philippines before filing its application for registration with the BPTTT and hence, has not acquired ownership over said mark. Actual use in commerce in the Philippines is an essential prerequisite for the acquisition of ownership over a trademark pursuant to Sec. 2 and 2-A of the Philippine Trademark Law (R.A. No. 166) which explicitly provides that: CHAPTER II. Registration of Marks and Trade-names.

Sec. 2. What are registrable. Trade-marks, trade-names, and service marks owned by persons, corporations, partnerships or associations domiciled in the Philippines and by persons, corporations, partnerships, or associations domiciled in any foreign country may be registered in accordance with the provisions of this act: Provided, That said trademarks, trade-names, or service marks are actually in use in commerce and services not less than two months in the Philippines before the time the applications for registration are filed: And Provided, further, That the country of which the applicant for registration is a citizen grants by law substantially similar privileges to citizens of the Philippines, and such fact is officially certified, with a certified true copy of the foreign law translated into the English language, by the government of the foreign country to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. (As amended.) (Emphasis ours.) Sec. 2-A. Ownership of trade-marks, trade-names and service-marks; how acquired. Anyone who lawfully produces or deals in merchandise of any kind or who engages in lawful business, or who renders any lawful service in commerce, by actual use hereof in manufacture or trade, in business, and in the service rendered; may appropriate to his exclusive use a trade-mark, a trade-name, or a service-mark not so appropriated by another, to distinguish his merchandise, business or services from others. The ownership or possession of trade-mark, trade-name, service-mark, heretofore or hereafter appropriated, as in this section provided, shall be recognized and protected in the same manner and to the same extent as are other property rights to the law. (As amended.) (Emphasis ours.) The provisions of the 1965 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property 38 relied upon by private respondent and Sec. 21-A of the Trademark Law (R.A. No. 166) 39 were sufficiently expounded upon and qualified in the recent case of Philip Morris, Inc. v. Court of Appeals: 40 xxx xxx xxx Following universal acquiescence and comity, our municipal law on trademarks regarding the requirement of actual use in the Philippines must subordinate an international agreement inasmuch as the apparent clash is being decided by a municipal tribunal (Mortisen vs. Peters, Great Britain, High Court of Judiciary of Scotland, 1906, 8 Sessions, 93; Paras, International Law and World Organization, 1971 Ed., p. 20). Withal, the fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not by any means imply the primacy of international law over national law in the municipal sphere. Under the doctrine of incorporation as applied in most countries, rules of international law are given a standing equal, not superior, to national legislative enactments. xxx xxx xxx In other words, (a foreign corporation) may have the capacity to sue for infringement irrespective of lack of business activity in the Philippines on account of Section 21-A of the Trademark Law but the question of whether they have an exclusive right over their symbol as to justify issuance of the controversial writ will depend on actual use of their trademarks in the Philippines in line with Sections 2 and 2-A of the same law. It is thus incongruous for petitioners to claim that when a foreign corporation not licensed to do business in the Philippines files a complaint for infringement, the entity need not be actually using its trademark in commerce in the Philippines. Such a foreign corporation

may have the personality to file a suit for infringement but it may not necessarily be entitled to protection due to absence of actual use of the emblem in the local market. xxx xxx xxx Undisputably, private respondent is the senior registrant, having obtained several registration certificates for its various trademarks "LEE," "LEERIDERS," and "LEESURES" in both the supplemental and principal registers, as early as 1969 to 1973. 41 However, registration alone will not suffice. In Sterling Products International, Inc. v.Farbenfabriken Bayer Aktiengesellschaft, 42 we declared: xxx xxx xxx A rule widely accepted and firmly entrenched because it has come down through the years is that actual use in commerce or business is a prerequisite in the acquisition of the right of ownership over a trademark. xxx xxx xxx It would seem quite clear that adoption alone of a trademark would not give exclusive right thereto. Such right "grows out of their actual use." Adoption is not use. One may make advertisements, issue circulars, give out price lists on certain goods; but these alone would not give exclusive right of use. For trademark is a creation of use. The underlying reason for all these is that purchasers have come to understand the mark as indicating the origin of the wares. Flowing from this is the trader's right to protection in the trade he has built up and the goodwill he has accumulated from use of the trademark. Registration of a trademark, of course, has value: it is an administrative act declaratory of a pre-existing right. Registration does not, however, perfect a trademark right. (Emphasis ours.) xxx xxx xxx To augment its arguments that it was, not only the prior registrant, but also the prior user, private respondent invokes Sec. 20 of the Trademark Law, thus: Sec. 20. Certificate of registration prima facie evidence of validity. A certificate of registration of a mark or tradename shall be a prima facie evidence of the validity of the registration, the registrant's ownership of the mark or trade-name, and of the registrant's exclusive right to use the same in connection with the goods, business or services specified in the certificate, subject to any conditions and limitations stated therein. The credibility placed on a certificate of registration of one's trademark, or its weight as evidence of validity, ownership and exclusive use, is qualified. A registration certificate serves merely as prima facie evidence. It is not conclusive but can and may be rebutted by controverting evidence. Moreover, the aforequoted provision applies only to registrations in the principal register. 43 Registrations in the supplemental register do not enjoy a similar privilege. A supplemental register was created precisely for the registration of marks which are not registrable on the principal register due to some defects. 44

The determination as to who is the prior user of the trademark is a question of fact and it is this Court's working principle not to disturb the findings of the Director of Patents on this issue in the absence of any showing of grave abuse of discretion. The findings of facts of the Director of Patents are conclusive upon the Supreme Courtprovided they are supported by substantial evidence. 45 In the case at bench, however, we reverse the findings of the Director of Patents and the Court of Appeals. After a meticulous study of the records, we observe that the Director of Patents and the Court of Appeals relied mainly on the registration certificates as proof of use by private respondent of the trademark "LEE" which, as we have previously discussed are not sufficient. We cannot give credence to private respondent's claim that its "LEE" mark first reached the Philippines in the 1960's through local sales by the Post Exchanges of the U.S. Military Bases in the Philippines 46 based as it was solely on the selfserving statements of Mr. Edward Poste, General Manager of Lee (Phils.), Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the H.D. Lee, Co., Inc., U.S.A., herein private respondent. 47Similarly, we give little weight to the numerous vouchers representing various advertising expenses in the Philippines for "LEE" products. 48 It is well to note that these expenses were incurred only in 1981 and 1982 by LEE (Phils.), Inc. after it entered into a licensing agreement with private respondent on 11 May 1981. 49 On the other hand, petitioner has sufficiently shown that it has been in the business of selling jeans and other garments adopting its "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" trademark since 1975 as evidenced by appropriate sales invoices to various stores and retailers. 50 Our rulings in Pagasa Industrial Corp. v. Court of Appeals 51 and Converse Rubber Corp. v. Universal Rubber Products, Inc., 52 respectively, are instructive: The Trademark Law is very clear. It requires actual commercial use of the mark prior to its registration. There is no dispute that respondent corporation was the first registrant, yet it failed to fully substantiate its claim that it used in trade or business in the Philippines the subject mark; it did not present proof to invest it with exclusive, continuous adoption of the trademark which should consist among others, of considerable sales since its first use. The invoices submitted by respondent which were dated way back in 1957 show that the zippers sent to the Philippines were to be used as "samples" and "of no commercial value." The evidence for respondent must be clear, definite and free from inconsistencies. "Samples" are not for sale and therefore, the fact of exporting them to the Philippines cannot be considered to be equivalent to the "use" contemplated by law. Respondent did not expect income from such "samples." There were no receipts to establish sale, and no proof were presented to show that they were subsequently sold in the Philippines. xxx xxx xxx The sales invoices provide the best proof that there were actual sales of petitioner's product in the country and that there was actual use for a protracted period of petitioner's trademark or part thereof through these sales. For lack of adequate proof of actual use of its trademark in the Philippines prior to petitioner's use of its own mark and for failure to establish confusing similarity between said trademarks, private respondent's action for infringement must necessarily fail.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the questioned decision and resolution are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. SO ORDERED. Bellosillo and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions PADILLA, J., dissenting: I dissent. I vote deny the petition; I agree with BPTTT and the CA that petitioner's trademark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" is confusingly similar to private respondent's earlier registered trademarks "LEE" or "LEE RIDER, LEE-LEENS and LEE-SURES" such that the trademark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" is an infringement of the earlier registered trademarks. Separate Opinions PADILLA, J., dissenting: I dissent. I vote deny the petition; I agree with BPTTT and the CA that petitioner's trademark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" is confusingly similar to private respondent's earlier registered trademarks "LEE" or "LEE RIDER, LEE-LEENS and LEE-SURES" such that the trademark "STYLISTIC MR. LEE" is an infringement of the earlier registered trademarks. G.R. No. 166115 February 2, 2007

McDONALDS CORPORATION, Petitioner, vs. MACJOY FASTFOOD CORPORATION, Respondent. DECISION GARCIA, J.: In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, herein petitioner McDonalds Corporation seeks the reversal and setting aside of the following issuances of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 57247, to wit: 1. Decision dated 29 July 20041 reversing an earlier decision of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) which rejected herein respondent MacJoy FastFood Corporations application for registration of the trademark "MACJOY & DEVICE"; and

2. Resolution dated 12 November 20042 denying the petitioners motion for reconsideration. As culled from the record, the facts are as follows: On 14 March 1991, respondent MacJoy Fastfood Corporation, a domestic corporation engaged in the sale of fast food products in Cebu City, filed with the then Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer (BPTT), now the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), an application, thereat identified as Application Serial No. 75274, for the registration of the trademark "MACJOY & DEVICE" for fried chicken, chicken barbeque, burgers, fries, spaghetti, palabok, tacos, sandwiches, halo-halo and steaks under classes 29 and 30 of the International Classification of Goods. Petitioner McDonalds Corporation, a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, USA, filed a verified Notice of Opposition3 against the respondents application claiming that the trademark "MACJOY & DEVICE" so resembles its corporate logo, otherwise known as the Golden Arches or "M" design, and its marks "McDonalds," McChicken," "MacFries," "BigMac," "McDo," "McSpaghetti," "McSnack," and "Mc," (hereinafter collectively known as the MCDONALDS marks) such that when used on identical or related goods, the trademark applied for would confuse or deceive purchasers into believing that the goods originate from the same source or origin. Likewise, the petitioner alleged that the respondents use and adoption in bad faith of the "MACJOY & DEVICE" mark would falsely tend to suggest a connection or affiliation with petitioners restaurant services and food products, thus, constituting a fraud upon the general public and further cause the dilution of the distinctiveness of petitioners registered and internationally recognized MCDONALDS marks to its prejudice and irreparable damage. The application and the opposition thereto was docketed as Inter Partes Case No. 3861. Respondent denied the aforementioned allegations of the petitioner and averred that it has used the mark "MACJOY" for the past many years in good faith and has spent considerable sums of money for said marks extensive promotion in tri-media, especially in Cebu City where it has been doing business long before the petitioner opened its outlet thereat sometime in 1992; and that its use of said mark would not confuse affiliation with the petitioners restaurant services and food products because of the differences in the design and detail of the two (2) marks. In a decision4 dated December 28, 1998, the IPO, ratiocinating that the predominance of the letter "M," and the prefixes "Mac/Mc" in both the "MACJOY" and the "MCDONALDS" marks lead to the conclusion that there is confusing similarity between them especially since both are used on almost the same products falling under classes 29 and 30 of the International Classification of Goods, i.e., food and ingredients of food, sustained the petitioners opposition and rejected the respondents application, viz: WHEREFORE, the Opposition to the registration of the mark MACJOY & DEVICE for use in fried chicken and chicken barbecue, burgers, fries, spaghetti, palabok, tacos, sandwiches, halo-halo, and steaks is, as it is hereby, SUSTAINED. Accordingly, Application Serial No. 75274 of the herein RespondentApplicant is REJECTED. Let the filewrapper of MACJOY subject matter of this case be sent to the Administrative, Financial and Human Resources Development Bureau for appropriate action in accordance with this Decision, with a copy to be furnished the Bureau of Trademarks for information and to update its record. SO ORDERED.

In time, the respondent moved for a reconsideration but the IPO denied the motion in its Order5 of January 14, 2000. Therefrom, the respondent went to the CA via a Petition for Review with prayer for Preliminary Injunction6 under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court, whereat its appellate recourse was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 57247. Finding no confusing similarity between the marks "MACJOY" and "MCDONALDS," the CA, in its herein assailed Decision7 dated July 29, 2004, reversed and set aside the appealed IPO decision and order, thus: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered by us REVERSING and SETTING ASIDE the Decision of the IPO dated 28 December 1998 and its Order dated 14 January 2000 and ORDERING the IPO to give due course to petitioners Application Serial No. 75274. SO ORDERED. Explains the CA in its decision: xxx, it is clear that the IPO brushed aside and rendered useless the glaring and drastic differences and variations in style of the two trademarks and even decreed that these pronounced differences are "miniscule" and considered them to have been "overshadowed by the appearance of the predominant features" such as "M," "Mc," and "Mac" appearing in both MCDONALDS and MACJOY marks. Instead of taking into account these differences, the IPO unreasonably shrugged off these differences in the device, letters and marks in the trademark sought to be registered. The IPO brushed aside and ignored the following irrefutable facts and circumstances showing differences between the marks of MACJOY and MCDONALDS. They are, as averred by the petitioner [now respondent]: 1. The word "MacJoy" is written in round script while the word "McDonalds" is written in single stroke gothic; 2. The word "MacJoy" comes with the picture of a chicken head with cap and bowtie and wings sprouting on both sides, while the word "McDonalds" comes with an arches "M" in gold colors, and absolutely without any picture of a chicken; 3. The word "MacJoy" is set in deep pink and white color scheme while "McDonalds" is written in red, yellow and black color combination; 4. The faade of the respective stores of the parties are entirely different. Exhibits 1 and 1-A, show that [respondents] restaurant is set also in the same bold, brilliant and noticeable color scheme as that of its wrappers, containers, cups, etc., while [petitioners] restaurant is in yellow and red colors, and with the mascot of "Ronald McDonald" being prominently displayed therein." (Words in brackets supplied.) Petitioner promptly filed a motion for reconsideration. However, in its similarly challenged Resolution8 of November 12, 2004, the CA denied the motion, as it further held: Whether a mark or label of a competitor resembles another is to be determined by an inspection of the points of difference and resemblance as a whole, and not merely the points of resemblance. The articles

and trademarks employed and used by the [respondent] Macjoy Fastfood Corporation are so different and distinct as to preclude any probability or likelihood of confusion or deception on the part of the public to the injury of the trade or business of the [petitioner] McDonalds Corporation. The "Macjoy & Device" mark is dissimilar in color, design, spelling, size, concept and appearance to the McDonalds marks. (Words in brackets supplied.) Hence, the petitioners present recourse on the following grounds: I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT RESPONDENTS "MACJOY & DEVICE" MARK IS NOT CONFUSINGLY SIMILAR TO PETITIONERS "McDONALDS MARKS." IT FAILED TO CORRECTLY APPLY THE DOMINANCY TEST WHICH HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY APPLIED BY THIS HONORABLE COURT IN DETERMINING THE EXISTENCE OF CONFUSING SIMILARITY BETWEEN COMPETING MARKS. A. The McDonalds Marks belong to a well-known and established "family of marks" distinguished by the use of the prefix "Mc" and/or "Mac" and the corporate "M" logo design. B. The prefix "Mc" and/or "Mac" is the dominant portion of both Petitioners McDonalds Marks and the Respondents "Macjoy & Device" mark. As such, the marks are confusingly similar under the Dominancy Test. C. Petitioners McDonalds Marks are well-known and world-famous marks which must be protected under the Paris Convention. II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE DECISION OF THE IPO DATED 28 DECEMBER 1998 AND ITS ORDER DATED 14 JANUARY 2000 WERE NOT BASED ON SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. In its Comment,9 the respondent asserts that the petition should be dismissed outright for being procedurally defective: first, because the person who signed the certification against forum shopping in behalf of the petitioner was not specifically authorized to do so, and second, because the petition does not present a reviewable issue as what it challenges are the factual findings of the CA. In any event, the respondent insists that the CA committed no reversible error in finding no confusing similarity between the trademarks in question. The petition is impressed with merit. Contrary to respondents claim, the petitioners Managing Counsel, Sheila Lehr, was specifically authorized to sign on behalf of the petitioner the Verification and Certification10 attached to the petition. As can be gleaned from the petitioners Board of Directors Resolution dated December 5, 2002, as embodied in the Certificate of the Assistant Secretary dated December 21, 2004,11 Sheila Lehr was one of those authorized and empowered "to execute and deliver for and on behalf of [the petitioner] all documents as may be required in connection with x x x the protection and maintenance of any foreign patents, trademarks, trade-names, and copyrights owned now or hereafter by [the petitioner], including, but not limited to, x x x documents required to institute opposition or cancellation proceedings against

conflicting trademarks, and to do such other acts and things and to execute such other documents as may be necessary and appropriate to effect and carry out the intent of this resolution." Indeed, the afore-stated authority given to Lehr necessarily includes the authority to execute and sign the mandatorily required certification of non-forum shopping to support the instant petition for review which stemmed from the "opposition proceedings" lodged by the petitioner before the IPO. Considering that the person who executed and signed the certification against forum shopping has the authority to do so, the petition, therefore, is not procedurally defective. As regards the respondents argument that the petition raises only questions of fact which are not proper in a petition for review, suffice it to say that the contradictory findings of the IPO and the CA constrain us to give due course to the petition, this being one of the recognized exceptions to Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. True, this Court is not the proper venue to consider factual issues as it is not a trier of facts.12 Nevertheless, when the factual findings of the appellate court are mistaken, absurd, speculative, conjectural, conflicting, tainted with grave abuse of discretion, or contrary to the findings culled by the court of origin,13 as here, this Court will review them. The old Trademark Law, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 166, as amended, defines a "trademark" as any distinctive word, name, symbol, emblem, sign, or device, or any combination thereof adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant on his goods to identify and distinguish them from those manufactured, sold, or dealt in by others.14 Under the same law, the registration of a trademark is subject to the provisions of Section 4 thereof, paragraph (d) of which is pertinent to this case. The provision reads: Section 4. Registration of trademarks, trade-names and service-marks on the principal register. There is hereby established a register of trademarks, tradenames and service-marks which shall be known as the principal register. The owner of the trade-mark, trade-name or service-mark used to distinguish his goods, business or services of others shall have the right to register the same on the principal register, unless it: xxx xxx xxx (d) Consists of or comprises a mark or trade-name which so resembles a mark or trade-name registered in the Philippines or a mark or trade-name previously used in the Philippines by another and not abandoned, as to be likely, when applied to or used in connection with the goods, business or services of the applicant, to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive purchasers; xxx xxx xxx Essentially, the issue here is whether there is a confusing similarity between the MCDONALDS marks of the petitioner and the respondents "MACJOY & DEVICE" trademark when applied to Classes 29 and 30 of the International Classification of Goods, i.e., food and ingredients of food. In determining similarity and likelihood of confusion, jurisprudence has developed two tests, the dominancy test and the holistic test.15 The dominancy test focuses on the similarity of the prevalent features of the competing trademarks that might cause confusion or deception.16 In contrast, the holistic test requires the court to consider the entirety of the marks as applied to the products, including the labels and packaging, in determining confusing similarity.17 Under the latter test, a comparison of the words is not the only determinant factor.18 1awphi1.net

Here, the IPO used the dominancy test in concluding that there was confusing similarity between the two (2) trademarks in question as it took note of the appearance of the predominant features "M", "Mc" and/or "Mac" in both the marks. In reversing the conclusion reached by the IPO, the CA, while seemingly applying the dominancy test, in fact actually applied the holistic test. The appellate court ruled in this wise: Applying the Dominancy test to the present case, the IPO should have taken into consideration the entirety of the two marks instead of simply fixing its gaze on the single letter "M" or on the combinations "Mc" or "Mac". A mere cursory look of the subject marks will reveal that, save for the letters "M" and "c", no other similarity exists in the subject marks. We agree with the [respondent] that it is entirely unwarranted for the IPO to consider the prefix "Mac" as the predominant feature and the rest of the designs in [respondents] mark as details. Taking into account such paramount factors as color, designs, spelling, sound, concept, sizes and audio and visual effects, the prefix "Mc" will appear to be the only similarity in the two completely different marks; and it is the prefix "Mc" that would thus appear as the miniscule detail. When pitted against each other, the two marks reflect a distinct and disparate visual impression that negates any possible confusing similarity in the mind of the buying public. (Words in brackets supplied.) Petitioner now vigorously points out that the dominancy test should be the one applied in this case. We agree. In trademark cases, particularly in ascertaining whether one trademark is confusingly similar to another, no set rules can be deduced because each case must be decided on its merits.19 In such cases, even more than in any other litigation, precedent must be studied in the light of the facts of the particular case.20 That is the reason why in trademark cases, jurisprudential precedents should be applied only to a case if they are specifically in point.21 While we agree with the CAs detailed enumeration of differences between the two (2) competing trademarks herein involved, we believe that the holistic test is not the one applicable in this case, the dominancy test being the one more suitable. In recent cases with a similar factual milieu as here, the Court has consistently used and applied the dominancy test in determining confusing similarity or likelihood of confusion between competing trademarks.22 Notably, in McDonalds Corp. v. LC Big Mak Burger, Inc.,23 a case where the trademark "Big Mak" was found to be confusingly similar with the "Big Mac" mark of the herein the petitioner, the Court explicitly held: This Court, xxx, has relied on the dominancy test rather than the holistic test. The dominancy test considers the dominant features in the competing marks in determining whether they are confusingly similar. Under the dominancy test, courts give greater weight to the similarity of the appearance of the product arising from the adoption of the dominant features of the registered mark, disregarding minor differences. Courts will consider more the aural and visual impressions created by the marks in the public mind, giving little weight to factors like prices, quality, sales outlets and market segments. Moreover, in Societe Des Produits Nestle, S.A. v. CA24 the Court, applying the dominancy test, concluded that the use by the respondent therein of the word "MASTER" for its coffee product "FLAVOR MASTER" was likely to cause confusion with therein petitioners coffee products "MASTER ROAST" and "MASTER BLEND" and further ruled:

xxx, the totality or holistic test is contrary to the elementary postulate of the law on trademarks and unfair competition that confusing similarity is to be determined on the basis of visual, aural, connotative comparisons and overall impressions engendered by the marks in controversy as they are encountered in the marketplace. The totality or holistic test only relies on visual comparisons between two trademarks whereas the dominancy test relies not only on the visual but also on the aural and connotative comparisons and overall impressions between the two trademarks. Applying the dominancy test to the instant case, the Court finds that herein petitioners "MCDONALDS" and respondents "MACJOY" marks are confusingly similar with each other such that an ordinary purchaser can conclude an association or relation between the marks. To begin with, both marks use the corporate "M" design logo and the prefixes "Mc" and/or "Mac" as dominant features. The first letter "M" in both marks puts emphasis on the prefixes "Mc" and/or "Mac" by the similar way in which they are depicted i.e. in an arch-like, capitalized and stylized manner.25 For sure, it is the prefix "Mc," an abbreviation of "Mac," which visually and aurally catches the attention of the consuming public. Verily, the word "MACJOY" attracts attention the same way as did "McDonalds," "MacFries," "McSpaghetti," "McDo," "Big Mac" and the rest of the MCDONALDS marks which all use the prefixes Mc and/or Mac. Besides and most importantly, both trademarks are used in the sale of fastfood products. Indisputably, the respondents trademark application for the "MACJOY & DEVICE" trademark covers goods under Classes 29 and 30 of the International Classification of Goods, namely, fried chicken, chicken barbeque, burgers, fries, spaghetti, etc. Likewise, the petitioners trademark registration for the MCDONALDS marks in the Philippines covers goods which are similar if not identical to those covered by the respondents application. Thus, we concur with the IPOs findings that: In the case at bar, the predominant features such as the "M," "Mc," and "Mac" appearing in both McDonalds marks and the MACJOY & DEVICE" easily attract the attention of would-be customers. Even non-regular customers of their fastfood restaurants would readily notice the predominance of the "M" design, "Mc/Mac" prefixes shown in both marks. Such that the common awareness or perception of customers that the trademarks McDonalds mark and MACJOY & DEVICE are one and the same, or an affiliate, or under the sponsorship of the other is not far-fetched. The differences and variations in styles as the device depicting a head of chicken with cap and bowtie and wings sprouting on both sides of the chicken head, the heart-shaped "M," and the stylistic letters in "MACJOY & DEVICE;" in contrast to the arch-like "M" and the one-styled gothic letters in McDonalds marks are of no moment. These minuscule variations are overshadowed by the appearance of the predominant features mentioned hereinabove. Thus, with the predominance of the letter "M," and prefixes "Mac/Mc" found in both marks, the inevitable conclusion is there is confusing similarity between the trademarks Mc Donalds marks and "MACJOY AND DEVICE" especially considering the fact that both marks are being used on almost the same products falling under Classes 29 and 30 of the International Classification of Goods i.e. Food and ingredients of food. With the existence of confusing similarity between the subject trademarks, the resulting issue to be resolved is who, as between the parties, has the rightful claim of ownership over the said marks.

We rule for the petitioner. A mark is valid if it is distinctive and hence not barred from registration under the Trademark Law. However, once registered, not only the marks validity but also the registrants ownership thereof is prima facie presumed.26 Pursuant to Section 3727 of R.A. No. 166, as amended, as well as the provision regarding the protection of industrial property of foreign nationals in this country as embodied in the Paris Convention28 under which the Philippines and the petitioners domicile, the United States, are adherent-members, the petitioner was able to register its MCDONALDS marks successively, i.e., "McDonalds" in 04 October, 197129 ; the corporate logo which is the "M" or the golden arches design and the "McDonalds" with the "M" or golden arches design both in 30 June 197730 ; and so on and so forth.31 On the other hand, it is not disputed that the respondents application for registration of its trademark "MACJOY & DEVICE" was filed only on March 14, 1991 albeit the date of first use in the Philippines was December 7, 1987.32 Hence, from the evidence on record, it is clear that the petitioner has duly established its ownership of the mark/s. Respondents contention that it was the first user of the mark in the Philippines having used "MACJOY & DEVICE" on its restaurant business and food products since December, 1987 at Cebu City while the first McDonalds outlet of the petitioner thereat was opened only in 1992, is downright unmeritorious. For the requirement of "actual use in commerce x x x in the Philippines" before one may register a trademark, trade-name and service mark under the Trademark Law33 pertains to the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines and is not only confined to a certain region, province, city or barangay. Likewise wanting in merit is the respondents claim that the petitioner cannot acquire ownership of the word "Mac" because it is a personal name which may not be monopolized as a trademark as against others of the same name or surname. As stated earlier, once a trademark has been registered, the validity of the mark is prima facie presumed. In this case, the respondent failed to overcome such presumption. We agree with the observations of the petitioner regarding the respondents explanation that the word "MACJOY" is based on the name of its presidents niece, Scarlett Yu Carcell. In the words of the petitioner: First of all, Respondent failed to present evidence to support the foregoing claim which, at best, is a mere self-serving assertion. Secondly, it cannot be denied that there is absolutely no connection between the name "Scarlett Yu Carcel" and "MacJoy" to merit the coinage of the latter word. Even assuming that the word "MacJoy" was chosen as a term of endearment, fondness and affection for a certain Scarlett Yu Carcel, allegedly the niece of Respondents president, as well as to supposedly bring good luck to Respondents business, one cannot help but wonder why out of all the possible letters or combinations of letters available to Respondent, its president had to choose and adopt a mark with the prefix "Mac" as the dominant feature thereof. A more plausible explanation perhaps is that the niece of Respondents president was fond of the food products and services of the Respondent, but that is beside the point." 34 By reason of the respondents implausible and insufficient explanation as to how and why out of the many choices of words it could have used for its trade-name and/or trademark, it chose the word "MACJOY," the only logical conclusion deducible therefrom is that the respondent would want to ride high on the established reputation and goodwill of the MCDONALDs marks, which, as applied to petitioners restaurant business and food products, is undoubtedly beyond question.

Thus, the IPO was correct in rejecting and denying the respondents application for registration of the trademark "MACJOY & DEVICE." As this Court ruled in Faberge Inc. v. IAC,35 citing Chuanchow Soy & Canning Co. v. Dir. of Patents and Villapanta:36 When one applies for the registration of a trademark or label which is almost the same or very closely resembles one already used and registered by another, the application should be rejected and dismissed outright, even without any opposition on the part of the owner and user of a previously registered label or trademark, this not only to avoid confusion on the part of the public, but also to protect an already used and registered trademark and an established goodwill. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP NO. 57247, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the Decision of the Intellectual Property Office in Inter Partes Case No. 3861 is REINSTATED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 164321 November 30, 2006

SKECHERS, U.S.A., INC., Petitioner, vs. INTER PACIFIC INDUSTRIAL TRADING CORP. and/or INTER PACIFIC TRADING CORP. and/or STRONG SPORTS GEAR CO., LTD., and/or STRONGSHOES WAREHOUSE and/or STRONG FASHION SHOES TRADING and/or TAN TUAN HONG and/or VIOLETA T. MAGAYAGA and/or JEFFREY R. MORALES and/or any of its other proprietor/s, directors, officers, employees and/or occupants of its premises located at S-7, Ed & Joes Commercial Arcade, No. 153 Quirino Avenue, Paraaque City, Respondents. x--------------------------------------------x TRENDWORKS INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, Petitioner-Intervenor, vs. INTER PACIFIC INDUSTRIAL TRADING CORP. and/or INTER PACIFIC TRADING CORP. and/or STRONG SPORTS GEAR CO., LTD., and/or STRONGSHOES WAREHOUSE and/or STRONG FASHION SHOES TRADING and/or TAN TUAN HONG and/or VIOLETA T. MAGAYAGA and/or JEFFREY R. MORALES and/or any of its other proprietor/s, directors, officers, employees and/or occupants of its premises located at S-7, Ed & Joes Commercial Arcade, No. 153 Quirino Avenue, Paraaque City, Respondents. DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: Before Us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, assailing the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 77269, dated 17 November 2003, which denied petitioners Petition for Certiorari seeking to annul the Order2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 24 dated 7 November 2002, quashing Search Warrant No. 02-2827 and directing National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Special Investigator Carlos N. Borromeo III to return the seized items to respondents and the Order dated 6 March 2003 denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.

Petitioner is a foreign corporation existing under the laws of the State of California, United States of America and engaged in the manufacture of footwear. Petitioner is not doing business in the Philippines and is suing before the trial court only to protect its intellectual property rights. In the course of business, petitioner registered the trademark "SKECHERS" with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) under Registration No. 63364, Class 25 on 30 August 1996, and the trademark "S" (within an oval design) under Registration No. 4-1996-110182, Class 25 on 12 July 2000, both to be used in mens, womens, and childrens footwear, namely, shoes, boots and slippers of all kinds, and mens, womens and childrens clothing, namely, t-shirts, sweat shirts, sweat pants, socks, shorts, and hats. Petitioner also has a pending application for the trademark "S" and design to be used for the same kinds of goods. Sometime in March 2002, petitioner engaged the services of Zetetic Far East, Inc. (Zetetic), a private investigative firm, to conduct an investigation on Inter Pacific Industrial Trading Corporation (Inter Pacific) in coordination with the NBI to confirm if Inter Pacific is indeed engaged in the importation, distribution and sale of unauthorized products bearing counterfeit or unauthorized trademarks owned by petitioner. On 11 April 2002, Mr. Alvin Ambion, a Market Researcher for Zetetic, visited the business address of Inter Pacific/Strongshoes Warehouse and/or Strong Fashion Shoes Trading at S-7 No. 153 Quirino Avenue, Paraaque City. Located at said business address was Warehouse No. 7 of Ed & Joes Commercial Arcade. Upon entering said warehouse, Mr. Ambion saw different kinds and models of rubber shoes including shoes bearing the "S" logo. During the visit, Mr. Ambion allegedly talked with the caretakers of said warehouse who informed him that Inter Pacific directly imports the goods from China and that their company distributes them to wholesalers and retailers in the Baclaran area. One of the caretakers allegedly claimed that the shoes bearing the "Strong" name with the "S" logo have the same style as Skechers shoes. Another caretaker purportedly informed Mr. Ambion that they have an outlet located at Stall C-11, Baclaran Terminal, Plaza 2 Shopping Center, Taft Avenue Ext., Pasay City, managed by Violeta T. Magayaga, which sells the same footwear products. Together with his colleague, Ms. Amelita Angeles, Mr. Ambion again visited respondents warehouse on 12 April 2002 and purchased four pairs of rubber shoes bearing the "Strong" mark containing the "S" logo for P730.00, for which he was issued Sales Invoice No. 0715. On the same day, Mr. Ambion and Ms. Angeles visited respondents outlet store in Baclaran. On 17 May 2002, counsel for petitioner filed a letter complaint with the Office of the NBI Director requesting their assistance in stopping the illegal importation, manufacture and sale of counterfeit products bearing the trademarks owned by petitioner, and in prosecuting the owners of the establishments engaged therein. Thus, on 21 May 2002 Mr. Ambion and Ms. Angeles, together with NBI Special Investigator Carlos N. Borromeo III of the Intellectual Property Rights Division of the NBI, visited respondents warehouse located at Ed & Joes Commercial Arcade and purchased 24 pairs of rubber shoes bearing the "Strong" name and the "S" logo. Afterwards, they went to respondents outlet store in Baclaran and therein purchased a pair of rubber shoes also bearing the "Strong" name and the "S" logo. On 11 June 2002, Special Investigator Borromeo of the NBI, with Mr. Ambion as witness, proceeded to Branch 24, RTC, Manila, to apply for search warrants against the warehouse and outlet store being operated and managed by respondent for infringement of trademark under Section 1553 in relation to Section 1704 of Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. After personally examining the search warrant applicant and his witness, the court a quo found probable cause to issue the search warrants applied for and thus issued on the same day Search Warrant Nos. 02-

2827 and 02-2828 to be served on the warehouse and retail outlet of respondent. That same afternoon, the search warrants were simultaneously served by the operatives of the Intellectual Property Rights Division of the NBI and seized from the warehouse 71 boxes containing 36 pairs of rubber shoes each or 2,556 pairs of rubber shoes bearing the "S" logo, 147 boxes containing 24 pairs per box or 3,528 pairs of rubber shoes bearing the "S" logo and six pages of various documents evidencing the sale and distribution of similar merchandise; and from the outlet store, 295 pairs of rubber shoes bearing the "S" logo and five pieces of rubber shoes bearing the "S" logo. In compliance with the Order dated 9 July 2002 of the RTC directing respondents to file their Comment on the issuance of the search warrant, respondents filed their Compliance and Comment with Prayer to Quash the search warrants. On 28 August 2002, respondents filed their Amended Comment with Motion to Quash Search Warrants on the ground that there is no confusing similarity between the petitioners Skechers rubber shoes and respondents Strong rubber shoes. On 7 November 2002, the lower court issued the assailed Order quashing Search Warrant No. 02-2827 and directing the NBI to return to respondents the items seized by virtue of said search warrant. According to the courta quo: The question to be posed in this case is this: Will the purchaser be deceived or likely to be deceived into purchasing respondents Strong Rubber Shoes because of the belief that they are Skechers shoes in the ordinary course of purchase? We answer in the negative. A careful perusal of the Strong Rubber Shoes and Skechers shoes presented by both respondents and private complainants reveals glaring differences that an ordinary prudent purchaser would not likely be mislead or confused in purchasing the wrong article. Some of these are; 1. The mark "S" found in Strong Shoes is not enclosed in an "oval design"; 2. The word "Strong" is conspicuously placed at the backside and insoles; 3. The hang tags and labels attached to the shoes bears the word "Strong" for respondent and "Sketchers U.S.A." for private complainant; 4. Strong Shoes are modestly priced compared to the costs of Sketchers Shoes. xxxx Similarly as in this case, although the mark "S" is prominent on both products, the same should be considered as a whole and not piecemeal. Factoring the variables already cited make the dissimilarities between the two marks conspicuous, noticeable and substantial. Further, the products involved in the case at bar are not your ordinary household items. These are shoes which vary in price. The casual buyer is predisposed to be more cautious and discriminating and would prefer to mull over his purchase. Confusion and deception is less likely. Finally, like beer and maong pants and jeans, the average consumer generally buys his rubber shoes by brand. He does not ask the sales clerk for rubber shoes but for, say Adidas, Reebok, or Nike. He is, more or less, knowledgeable and familiar with his preference and will not easily be distracted. (Emerald Garment Manufacturing Corp., v. Court of Appeals, 251 SCRA 600, supra)

ACCORDINGLY, respondents Inter Pacific Industrial Trading Corporation, Motion to Quash Search [Warrant] is hereby granted. Search Warrant No. 02-2827 is quashed. The applicant, Carlos N. Borromeo of the National Bureau of Investigation is hereby directed to return to respondents the seized items.5 Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was subsequently denied in an Order dated 6 March 2003. Aggrieved, petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court before the Court of Appeals assailing the Orders of the court a quo on the ground that public respondent court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack and/or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that the act of private respondents in selling and distributing rubber shoes which contain the trademarks and designs owned by petitioner does not constitute trademark infringement. On 17 November 2003, the appellate court denied the petition in this wise: In the instant case, after examining and evaluating the foregoing factual milieu and the respective arguments of the parties, We are inclined to agree with the ruling of the public respondent that the holistic test is better suited to the present case and consequently, hold that the private respondents appropriation and use of the letter "S" on their rubber shoes did not constitute an infringement of the trademark of the petitioner. Hence, the instant petition must necessarily fail. A careful appreciation of the products in question readily reveals that these products are not the ordinary household items like catsup, coffee or candy which are commonly inexpensive. As such, the ordinary purchaser would be naturally inclined to closely examine specific details and would prefer to mull over his purchase. The case of Del Monte Corp. vs. Court of Appeals (181 SCRA 410), is clear on this point: Among these, what essentially determines the attitudes of the purchaser, specifically his inclination to be cautious, is the cost of the goods. To be sure, a person who buys a box of candies will not exercise as much care as one who buys an expensive watch. As a general rule, an ordinary buyer does not exercise as much prudence in buying an article for which he pays a few centavos as he does in purchasing a more valuable thing. Expensive and valuable items are normally bought only after deliberate, comparative and analytical investigation. But mass products, low priced articles in wide use, and matters of everyday purchase requiring frequent replacement are bought by the casual consumer without care x x x. In his context, although one of the essential features of the private respondents shoes is the letter "S", suffice it to state that this alone would not likely cause confusion, deception or mistake on the part of the ordinary buying public. For it must be stressed that an ordinary purchaser of a product like a pair of rubber shoes is an intelligent buyer, who "is accustomed to buy, and therefore to some extent familiar with the goods" (Dy Buncio vs. Tan Tiao Bok, 42 Phil. 190). x x x. xxxx Going further, contrary to the contention of the petitioner, the case of Converse Rubber Corp. vs. Universal Rubber Products, Inc. (147 SCRA 154) is in no way controlling in the instant case considering that it involved a different factual milieu in contrast with that of the instant case. In said case, the respondent sought for the registration of the trademark "UNIVERSAL CONVERSE AND DEVICE" used on rubber shoes. Petitioner opposed on the ground that respondents trademark is confusingly similar to petitioners corporate name which is CONVERSE RUBBER CORPORATION and that it would likely deceive purchasers of products on which it is to be used to an extent that said products may be mistaken by the unwary public to be manufactured by the petitioner, i.e. "CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR," "CONVERSE ALL STAR," "ALL STAR CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR," OR "ALL STAR

DEVICE." The High Court denied the application for registration of respondents trademark ratiocinating as follows: The similarity in the general appearance of respondents trademark and that of petitioner would evidently create a likelihood of confusion among the purchasing public. But even assuming arguendo, that the trademark sought to be registered by respondent is distinctively dissimilar from those of the petitioner, the likelihood of confusion would still subsists, not on the purchasers perception of the goods but on the origins thereof. By appropriating the world "CONVERSE," respondents products are likely to be mistaken as having been produced by petitioner. The risk of damage is not limited to a possible confusion of goods but also includes confusion of reputation if the public could reasonably assume that the goods of the parties originated from the same source. Verily, the foregoing ruling does not apply on all fours in the instant case. The word "CONVERSE" is highly identified not only to the products of Converse Rubber Corporation but to the corporate entity most importantly such that the mere appropriation of the word "CONVERSE" on products like rubber shoes, regardless of whether or not it was compounded with other letters, symbols or words; would not only likely but actually cause one to be mistaken that such rubber shoes had been produced by Converse Rubber Corporation. On the other hand, the letter "S" used on private respondents rubber shoes in the instant case could hardly be considered as highly identifiable to the products of petitioner alone. For it is not amiss to state that the letter "S" has been used in many existing trademarks, the most popular of which is the trademark "S" enclosed by an inverted triangle, which is extremely and profoundly identifiable to the well-known comics action hero, Superman. And perhaps it is due to the existence of these trademarks containing letter "S" that the petitioner was prompted to accessorize that letter "S" in its trademark with an outer oval design and accompany it with the word "SKECHERS" in order to make it distinct from the rest and identifiable only to its products. As such, the dominancy test as applied in the Converse case could not be applied in the instant case inasmuch as the letter "S," although a dominant feature in petitioners trademark; is neither extremely and profoundly identifiable to the products of petitioner alone nor has it acquired a certain connotation to mean the rubber shoes produced by the petitioner. What is extremely and profoundly identifiable to the products of the petitioner is the whole trademark consisting of the letter "S" enclosed by a uniquely designed oval. Further, confusion and deception are less likely in the instant case considering that the private respondents rubber shoes were distinctly and conspicuously marked "STRONG" at their front side, back side and insoles. Furthermore their hang tags and labels attached to the shoes bear the word "STRONG." In view of these, the dissimilarities between the private respondents and petitioners shoes became more striking and noticeable to the ordinary purchaser who could not in any way be deceived or misled that the shoes he buys is produced by the petitioner. With this, the holistic test is squarely applicable. xxxx As set out in the decision, the foregoing case involves a peculiar factual milieu in stark contrast with the instant case. As such, it finds no application in the controversy in the instant case. Taking off from the foregoing premises, the public respondent judge did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that the act of the private respondent in selling and distributing rubber shoes which contain the trademarks and designs owned by the petitioners does not constitute trademark infringement. After all, the public respondent judge was merely exercising his judgmental call conformably with the factual and legal issues proferred and presented before him. Suffice it to state, it is a hornbook doctrine in our jurisdiction that certiorari will not be issued

to cure errors in proceedings or to correct erroneous conclusions of law and fact. The special civil action for certiorari is not a remedy for errors of judgment, which are correctible by appeal (Montecillo vs. Civil Service Commission, 360 SCRA 99). WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing premises, the instant petition is perforce denied.[6] Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration having been denied in an Order dated 18 June 2004, petitioner filed the instant case contending that the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in considering matters of defense in a criminal trial for trademark infringement in passing upon the validity of the search warrant and in concluding that respondents are not guilty of trademark infringement in the case where the sole triable issue is the existence of probable cause to issue a search warrant. For its part, respondent maintains that it is logical for the Court of Appeals to touch on the issue of whether or not there was trademark infringement since it was the very issue raised in the Petition for Certiorari. According to respondent, petitioner failed to qualify whether or not the determination of the Court of Appeals should be limited to whether or not there was probable cause to issue the search warrants. Furthermore, respondent claims that the trial court may not be faulted for quashing the search warrants it had issued after finding that there was no basis for its issuance in the first place. According to respondent, after full appreciation of the trademarks and logos depicted in the rubber shoes presented before the court a quo for close comparison, it was only prudent for the lower court to correct itself and quash the search warrant following a finding that probable cause does not exist for the offense of trademark infringement. At this juncture, it is paramount to stress that the power to issue search warrants is exclusively vested with the trial judges in the exercise of their judicial function.7 And inherent in the courts power to issue search warrants is the power to quash warrants already issued.8 After the judge has issued a warrant, he is not precluded to subsequently quash the same, if he finds upon re-evaluation of the evidence that no probable cause exists.9Though there is no fixed rule for the determination of the existence of probable cause since the existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge conducting the examination,10 however, the findings of the judge should not disregard the facts before him nor run counter to the clear dictates of reason.11 In the determination of probable cause, the court must necessarily resolve whether or not an offense exists to justify the issuance or quashal of the search warrant.12 In the case at bar, the subject search warrant was issued allegedly in connection with trademark infringement, particularly the unauthorized use of the "S" logo by respondent in their Strong rubber shoes. After conducting the hearing on the application for a search warrant, the court a quo was initially convinced that there was sufficient reason to justify the issuance of the search warrant. However, upon motion of respondent to quash the search warrant, the lower court changed its position and declared that there was no probable cause to issue the search warrant as there was no colorable imitation between respondents trademark and that of petitioner. Based on its appreciation of the respective parties arguments and the pieces of evidence, particularly the samples of the original Skechers rubber shoes vis--vis respondents Strong rubber shoes, the trial court concluded that respondents appropriation of the symbol "S" on their rubber shoes does not constitute an infringement on the trademark of petitioner. This exercise of judgment was further strengthened by the affirmation of the Court of Appeals that public respondent judge did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that the acts of respondent do not constitute trademark infringement in light of the factual and legal issues presented before it for consideration.

In ruling that there was no colorable imitation of petitioners trademark in light of the factual milieu prevalent in the instant case, the trial court may not be faulted for reversing its initial finding that there was probable cause. Based on the courts inherent power to issue search warrants and to quash the same, the courts must be provided with the opportunity to correct itself of an error inadvertently committed. After reevaluating the evidence presented before it, the trial court may reverse its initial finding of probable cause in order that its conclusion may be made to conform to the facts prevailing in the instant case. Furthermore, the court was acting reasonably when it went into a discussion of whether or not there was trademark infringement, this is so because in the determination of the existence of probable cause for the issuance or quashal of a warrant, it is inevitable that the court may touch on issues properly threshed out in a regular proceeding.13 This finding that there was no colorable imitation of petitioners trademark is merely preliminary and did not finally determine the merits of the possible criminal proceedings that may be instituted by petitioner. As held in the case of Solid Triangle Sales Corp. v. Sheriff, RTC, Q.C., Br. 93:141wphi1 When the court, in determining probable cause for issuing or quashing a search warrant, finds that no offense has been committed, it does not interfere with or encroach upon the proceedings in the preliminary investigation. The court does not oblige the investigating officer not to file an information for the courts ruling that no crime exists is only for the purposes of issuing or quashing the warrant. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 77269, dated 17 November 2003 is hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED. Dermaline vs. Myra Pharmaceuticals, Inc. This is a petition for review on certiorari[1] seeking to reverse and set aside the Decision dated August 7, 2009[2] and the Resolution dated October 28, 2009[3] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 108627. The antecedent facts and proceedings On October 21, 2006, petitioner Dermaline, Inc. (Dermaline) filed before the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) an application for registration of the trademark DERMALINE DERMALINE, INC. (Application No. 4-2006011536). The application was published for Opposition in the IPO E-Gazette on March 9, 2007. On May 8, 2007, respondent Myra Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Myra) filed a Verified Opposition[4] alleging that the trademark sought to be registered by Dermaline so resembles its trademark DERMALIN and will likely cause confusion, mistake and deception to the purchasing public. Myra said that the registration of Dermalines trademark will violate Section 123 [5] of Republic

Act (R.A.) No. 8293 (Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines). It further alleged that Dermalines use and registration of its applied trademark will diminish the distinctiveness and dilute the goodwill of Myras DERMALIN, registered with the IPO way back July 8, 1986, renewed for ten (10) years on July 8, 2006. Myra has been extensively using DERMALIN commercially since October 31, 1977, and said mark is still valid and subsisting. Myra claimed that, despite Dermalines attempt to differentiate its applied mark, the dominant feature is the term DERMALINE, which is practically identical with its own DERMALIN, more particularly that the first eight (8) letters of the marks are identical, and that notwithstanding the additional letter E by Dermaline, the pronunciation for both marks are identical. Further, both marks have three (3) syllables each, with each syllable identical in sound and appearance, even if the last syllable of DERMALINE consisted of four (4) letters while DERMALIN consisted only of three (3). Myra also pointed out that Dermaline applied for the same mark DERMALINE on June 3, 2003 and was already refused registration by the IPO. By filing this new application for registration, Dermaline appears to have engaged in a fishing expedition for the approval of its mark. Myra argued that its intellectual property right over its trademark is protected under Section 147[6] of R.A. No. 8293. Myra asserted that the mark DERMALINE DERMALINE, INC. is aurally similar to its own mark such that the registration and use of Dermalines applied mark will enable it to obtain benefit from Myras reputation, goodwill and advertising and will lead the public into believing that Dermaline is, in any way, connected to Myra. Myra added that even if the subject application was under Classification 44[7] for various skin treatments, it could still be connected to the DERMALIN mark under Classification 5[8] for pharmaceutical products, since ultimately these goods are very closely related. In its Verified Answer,[9] Dermaline countered that a simple comparison of the trademark DERMALINE DERMALINE, INC. vis--vis Myras DERMALIN trademark would show that they have entirely different features and distinctive presentation, thus it cannot result in confusion, mistake or deception on the part of the purchasing public. Dermaline contended that, in determining if the subject trademarks are confusingly similar, a comparison of the words is not the only determinant, but their entirety must be considered in relation to the goods to which they are attached, including the other features appearing in both labels. It claimed that there were glaring and striking dissimilarities between the two trademarks, such that its trademark DERMALINE DERMALINE, INC. speaks for itself (Res ipsa loquitur). Dermaline further argued that there could not be any relation between its trademark for

health and beauty services from Myras trademark classified under medicinal goods against skin disorders. The parties failed to settle amicably. Consequently, the preliminary conference was terminated and they were directed to file their respective position papers.[10] On April 10, 2008, the IPO-Bureau of Legal Affairs rendered Decision No. 200870[11] sustaining Myras opposition pursuant to Section 123.1(d) of R.A. No. 8293. It disposed WHEREFORE, the Verified Opposition is, as it is, hereby SUSTAINED. Consequently, Application Serial No. 4-2006-011536 for the mark DERMALINE, DERMALINE, INC. Stylized Wordmark for Dermaline, Inc. under class 44 covering the aforementioned goods filed on 21 October 2006, is as it is hereby, REJECTED. Let the file wrapper of DERMALINE, DERMALINE, INC. Stylized Wordmark subject matter of this case be forwarded to the Bureau of Trademarks (BOT) for appropriate action in accordance with this Decision. SO ORDERED.[12] Aggrieved, Dermaline filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied under Resolution No. 2009-12(D)[13] dated January 16, 2009. Expectedly, Dermaline appealed to the Office of the Director General of the IPO. However, in an Order
[14]

dated April 17, 2009, the appeal was dismissed for being filed out of time.

Undaunted, Dermaline appealed to the CA, but it affirmed and upheld the Order dated April 17, 2009 and the rejection of Dermalines application for registration of trademark. The CA likewise denied Dermalines motion for reconsideration; hence, this petition raising the issue of whether the CA erred in upholding the IPOs rejection of Dermalines application for registration of trademark. The petition is without merit. A trademark is any distinctive word, name, symbol, emblem, sign, or device, or any combination thereof, adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant on his goods to identify and distinguish them from those manufactured, sold, or dealt by others.[15] Inarguably, it is an intellectual property deserving protection by law. In trademark controversies, each case must be scrutinized according to its peculiar

circumstances, such that jurisprudential precedents should only be made to apply if they are specifically in point.[16] As Myra correctly posits, as a registered trademark owner, it has the right under Section 147 of R.A. No. 8293 to prevent third parties from using a trademark, or similar signs or containers for goods or services, without its consent, identical or similar to its registered trademark, where such use would result in a likelihood of confusion. In determining likelihood of confusion, case law has developed two (2) tests, the Dominancy Test and the Holistic or Totality Test. The Dominancy Test focuses on the similarity of the prevalent features of the competing trademarks that might cause confusion or deception.[17] It is applied when the trademark sought to be registered contains the main, essential and dominant features of the earlier registered trademark, and confusion or deception is likely to result. Duplication or imitation is not even required; neither is it necessary that the label of the applied mark for registration should suggest an effort to imitate. The important issue is whether the use of the marks involved would likely cause confusion or mistake in the mind of or deceive the ordinary purchaser, or one who is accustomed to buy, and therefore to some extent familiar with, the goods in question.[18] Given greater consideration are the aural and visual impressions created by the marks in the public mind, giving little weight to factors like prices, quality, sales outlets, and market segments.[19] The test of dominancy is now explicitly incorporated into law in Section 155.1 of R.A. No. 8293 which provides 155.1. Use in commerce any reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation of a registered mark or the same container or adominant feature thereof in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, advertising of any goods or services including other preparatory steps necessary to carry out the sale of any goods or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive; (emphasis supplied)

On the other hand, the Holistic Test entails a consideration of the entirety of the marks as applied to the products, including labels and packaging, in determining confusing similarity. The scrutinizing eye of the observer must focus not only on the predominant words but also on the other features appearing in both labels so that a conclusion may be drawn as to whether one is confusingly similar to the other.[20] Relative to the question on confusion of marks and trade names, jurisprudence has noted two (2) types of confusion, viz: (1) confusion of goods (product confusion), where the ordinarily prudent

purchaser would be induced to purchase one product in the belief that he was purchasing the other; and (2) confusion of business (source or origin confusion), where, although the goods of the parties are different, the product, the mark of which registration is applied for by one party, is such as might reasonably be assumed to originate with the registrant of an earlier product, and the public would then be deceived either into that belief or into the belief that there is some connection between the two parties, though inexistent.[21] In rejecting the application of Dermaline for the registration of its mark DERMALINE DERMALINE, INC., the IPO applied the Dominancy Test. It declared that both confusion of goods and service and confusion of business or of origin were apparent in both trademarks. It also noted that, per Bureau Decision No. 2007-179 dated December 4, 2007, it already sustained the opposition of Myra involving the trademark DERMALINE of Dermaline under Classification 5. The IPO also upheld Myras right under Section 138 of R.A. No. 8293, which provides that a certification of registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of the validity of the registration, the registrants ownership of the mark, and of the registrants exclusive right to use the same in connection with the goods and those that are related thereto specified in the certificate. We agree with the findings of the IPO. As correctly applied by the IPO in this case, while there are no set rules that can be deduced as what constitutes a dominant feature with respect to trademarks applied for registration; usually, what are taken into account are signs, color, design, peculiar shape or name, or some special, easily remembered earmarks of the brand that readily attracts and catches the attention of the ordinary consumer.[22] Dermalines insistence that its applied trademark DERMALINE DERMALINE, INC. had differences too striking to be mistaken from Myras DERMALIN cannot, therefore, be sustained. While it is true that the two marks are presented differently Dermalines mark is written with the first DERMALINE in script going diagonally upwards from left to right, with an upper case D followed by the rest of the letters in lower case, and the portion DERMALINE, INC. is written in upper case letters, below and smaller than the long-hand portion; while Myras mark DERMALIN is written in an upright font, with a capital D and followed by lower case letters the likelihood of confusion is still apparent. This is because they are almost spelled in the same way, except for Dermalines mark which ends with the letter E, and they are pronounced practically in the same manner in three (3) syllables, with the ending letter E in Dermalines mark pronounced silently. Thus, when an ordinary purchaser, for example, hears an advertisement of Dermalines applied trademark over the radio, chances are he will associate it with Myras registered mark.

Further, Dermalines stance that its product belongs to a separate and different classification from Myras products with the registered trademark does not eradicate the possibility of mistake on the part of the purchasing public to associate the former with the latter, especially considering that both classifications pertain to treatments for the skin. Indeed, the registered trademark owner may use its mark on the same or similar products, in different segments of the market, and at different price levels depending on variations of the products for specific segments of the market. The Court is cognizant that the registered trademark owner enjoys protection in product and market areas that are the normal potential expansion of his business. Thus, we have held Modern law recognizes that the protection to which the owner of a trademark is entitled is not limited to guarding his goods or business fromactual market competition with identical or similar products of the parties, but extends to all cases in which the use by a junior appropriator of a trade-mark or trade-name is likely to lead to a confusion of source, as where prospective purchasers would be misled into thinking that the complaining party has extended his business into the field (see 148 ALR 56 et seq; 53 Am Jur. 576) or is in any way connected with the activities of the infringer; or when it forestalls the normal potential expansion of his business (v. 148 ALR 77, 84; 52 Am. Jur. 576, 577).[23](Emphasis supplied)

Thus, the public may mistakenly think that Dermaline is connected to or associated with Myra, such that, considering the current proliferation of health and beauty products in the market, the purchasers would likely be misled that Myra has already expanded its business through Dermaline from merely carrying pharmaceutical topical applications for the skin to health and beauty services. Verily, when one applies for the registration of a trademark or label which is almost the same or that very closely resembles one already used and registered by another, the application should be rejected and dismissed outright, even without any opposition on the part of the owner and user of a previously registered label or trademark. This is intended not only to avoid confusion on the part of the public, but also to protect an already used and registered trademark and an established goodwill.[24] Besides, the issue on protection of intellectual property, such as trademarks, is factual in nature. The findings of the IPO, upheld on appeal by the same office, and further sustained by the CA, bear great weight and deserves respect from this Court. Moreover, the decision of the IPO had already attained finality when Dermaline failed to timely file its appeal with the IPO Office of the Director General.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated August 7, 2009 and the Resolution dated October 28, 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 108627 are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED.

CONVERSE RUBBER CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. UNIVERSAL RUBBER PRODUCTS, INC. and TIBURCIO S. EVALLE, DIRECTOR OF PATENTS, respondents. The undisputed facts of the case are as follows: Respondent Universal Rubber Products, Inc. filed an application with the Philippine Patent office for registration of the trademark "UNIVERSAL CONVERSE AND DEVICE" used on rubber shoes and rubber slippers. Petitioner Converse Rubber Corporation filed its opposition to the application for registration on grounds that: a] The trademark sought to be registered is confusingly similar to the word "CONVERSE" which is part of petitioner's corporate name "CONVERSE RUBBER CORPORATION" as to likely deceive purchasers of products on which it is to be used to an extent that said products may be mistaken by the unwary public to be manufactured by the petitioner; and, b] The registration of respondent's trademark will cause great and irreparable injury to the business reputation and goodwill of petitioner in the Philippines and would cause damage to said petitioner within the, meaning of Section 8, R.A. No. 166, as amended. Thereafter, respondent filed its answer and at the pre-trial, the parties submitted the following partial stipulation of facts: 1] The petitioner's corporate name is "CONVERSE RUBBER CORPORATION" and has been in existence since July 31, 1946; it is duly organized under the laws of Massachusetts, USA and doing business at 392 Pearl St., Malden, County of Middle sex, Massachusetts; 2] Petitioner is not licensed to do business in the Philippines and it is not doing business on its own in the Philippines; and, 3] Petitioner manufacturers rubber shoes and uses thereon the trademarks "CHUCK TAYLOR "and "ALL STAR AND DEVICE". 1 At the trial, petitioner's lone witness, Mrs. Carmen B. Pacquing, a duly licensed private merchant with stores at the Sta. Mesa Market and in Davao City, testified that she had been selling CONVERSE rubber

shoes in the local market since 1956 and that sales of petitioner's rubber shoes in her stores averaged twelve to twenty pairs a month purchased mostly by basketball players of local private educational institutions like Ateneo, La Salle and San Beda. Mrs. Pacquing, further stated that she knew petitioner's rubber shoes came from the United States "because it says there in the trademark Converse Chuck Taylor with star red or blue and is a round figure and made in U.S.A. " 2 In the invoices issued by her store, the rubber shoes were described as "Converse Chuck Taylor", 3 "Converse All Star," 4 "All Star Converse Chuck Taylor," 5 or "Converse Shoes Chuck Taylor." 6 She also affirmed that she had no business connection with the petitioner. Respondent, on the other hand, presented as its lone witness the secretary of said corporation who testified that respondent has been selling on wholesale basis "Universal Converse" sandals since 1962 and "Universal Converse" rubber shoes since 1963. Invoices were submitted as evidence of such sales. The witness also testified that she had no Idea why respondent chose "Universal Converse" as a trademark and that she was unaware of the name "Converse" prior to her corporation's sale of "Universal Converse" rubber shoes and rubber sandals. Eventually, the Director of Patents dismissed the opposition of the petitioner and gave due course to respondent's application. His decision reads in part: ... the only question for determination is whether or not the applicant's partial appropriation of the Opposer's [petitioner'] corporate name is of such character that in this particular case, it is calculated to deceive or confuse the public to the injury of the corporation to which the name belongs ... I cannot find anything that will prevent registration of the word 'UNIVERSAL CONVERSE' in favor of the respondent. In arriving at this conclusion, I am guided by the fact that the opposer failed to present proof that the single word "CONVERSE' in its corporate name has become so Identified with the corporation that whenever used, it designates to the mind of the public that particular corporation. The proofs herein are sales made by a single witness who had never dealt with the petitioner . . . the entry of Opposer's [petitioner's] goods in the Philippines were not only effected in a very insignificant quantity but without the opposer [petitioner] having a direct or indirect hand in the transaction so as to be made the basis for trademark preexemption. Opposer's proof of its corporate personality cannot establish the use of the word "CONVERSE" in any sense, as it is already stipulated that it is not licensed to do business in the Philippines, and is not doing business of its own in the Philippines. If so, it will be futile for it to establish that "CONVERSE" as part of its corporate name Identifies its rubber shoes. Besides, it was also stipulated that opposer [petitioner], in manufacturing rubber shoes uses thereon the trademark "CHUCK TAYLOR" and "ALL STAR and DEVICE" and none other. Furthermore, inasmuch as the Opposer never presented any label herein, or specimen of its shoes, whereon the label may be seen, notwithstanding its witness' testimony touching upon her Identification of the rubber shoes sold in her stores, no determination can be made as to whether the word 'CONVERSE' appears thereon.

. . .the record is wanting in proof to establish likelihood of confusion so as to cause probable damage to the Opposer. 7 Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the respondent Director of Patents, petitioner instituted the instant petition for review. As correctly phrased by public respondent Director of Patents, the basic issue presented for our consideration is whether or not the respondent's partial appropriation of petitioner's corporate name is of such character that it is calculated to deceive or confuse the public to the injury of the petitioner to which the name belongs. A trade name is any individual name or surname, firm name, device or word used by manufacturers, industrialists, merchants and others to Identify their businesses, vocations or occupations. 8 As the trade name refers to the business and its goodwill ... the trademark refers to the goods." 9 The ownership of a trademark or tradename is a property right which the owner is entitled to protect "since there is damage to him from confusion or reputation or goodwill in the mind of the public as well as from confusion of goods. The modern trend is to give emphasis to the unfairness of the acts and to classify and treat the issue as fraud. 10 From a cursory appreciation of the petitioner's corporate name "CONVERSE RUBBER CORPORATION,' it is evident that the word "CONVERSE" is the dominant word which Identifies petitioner from other corporations engaged in similar business. Respondent, in the stipulation of facts, admitted petitioner's existence since 1946 as a duly organized foreign corporation engaged in the manufacture of rubber shoes. This admission necessarily betrays its knowledge of the reputation and business of petitioner even before it applied for registration of the trademark in question. Knowing, therefore, that the word "CONVERSE" belongs to and is being used by petitioner, and is in fact the dominant word in petitioner's corporate name, respondent has no right to appropriate the same for use on its products which are similar to those being produced by petitioner. A corporation is entitled to the cancellation of a mark that is confusingly similar to its corporate name."11"Appropriation by another of the dominant part of a corporate name is an infringement."12 Respondent's witness had no Idea why respondent chose "UNIVERSAL CONVERSE" as trademark and the record discloses no reasonable explanation for respondent's use of the word "CONVERSE" in its trademark. Such unexplained use by respondent of the dominant word of petitioner's corporate name lends itself open to the suspicion of fraudulent motive to trade upon petitioner's reputation, thus: A boundless choice of words, phrases and symbols is available to one who wishes a trademark sufficient unto itself to distinguish his product from those of others. When, however, there is no reasonable explanation for the defendant's choice of such a mark though the field for his selection was so broad, the inference is inevitable that it was chosen deliberately to deceive. 13 The testimony of petitioner's witness, who is a legitimate trader as well as the invoices evidencing sales of petitioner's products in the Philippines, give credence to petitioner's claim that it has earned a business reputation and goodwill in this country. The sales invoices submitted by petitioner's lone witness show that it is the word "CONVERSE" that mainly Identifies petitioner's products, i.e. "CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR, 14 "CONVERSE ALL STAR," 15 ALL STAR CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR," 16 or

"CONVERSE SHOES CHUCK and TAYLOR." 17 Thus, contrary to the determination of the respondent Director of Patents, the word "CONVERSE" has grown to be Identified with petitioner's products, and in this sense, has acquired a second meaning within the context of trademark and tradename laws. Furthermore, said sales invoices provide the best proof that there were actual sales of petitioner's products in the country and that there was actual use for a protracted period of petitioner's trademark or part thereof through these sales. "The most convincing proof of use of a mark in commerce is testimony of such witnesses as customers, or the orders of buyers during a certain period. 18 Petitioner's witness, having affirmed her lack of business connections with petitioner, has testified as such customer, supporting strongly petitioner's move for trademark pre-emption. The sales of 12 to 20 pairs a month of petitioner's rubber shoes cannot be considered insignificant, considering that they appear to be of high expensive quality, which not too many basketball players can afford to buy. Any sale made by a legitimate trader from his store is a commercial act establishing trademark rights since such sales are made in due course of business to the general public, not only to limited individuals. It is a matter of public knowledge that all brands of goods filter into the market, indiscriminately sold by jobbers dealers and merchants not necessarily with the knowledge or consent of the manufacturer. Such actual sale of goods in the local market establishes trademark use which serves as the basis for any action aimed at trademark pre- exemption. It is a corollary logical deduction that while Converse Rubber Corporation is not licensed to do business in the country and is not actually doing business here, it does not mean that its goods are not being sold here or that it has not earned a reputation or goodwill as regards its products. The Director of Patents was, therefore, remiss in ruling that the proofs of sales presented "was made by a single witness who had never dealt with nor had never known opposer [petitioner] x x x without Opposer having a direct or indirect hand in the transaction to be the basis of trademark pre- exemption." Another factor why respondent's applications should be denied is the confusing similarity between its trademark "UNIVERSAL CONVERSE AND DEVICE" and petitioner's corporate name and/or its trademarks "CHUCK TAYLOR" and "ALL STAR DEVICE" which could confuse the purchasing public to the prejudice of petitioner, The trademark of respondent "UNIVERSAL CONVERSE and DEVICE" is imprinted in a circular manner on the side of its rubber shoes. In the same manner, the trademark of petitioner which reads "CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR" is imprinted on a circular base attached to the side of its rubber shoes. The deteminative factor in ascertaining whether or not marks are confusingly similar to each other "is not whether the challenged mark would actually cause confusion or deception of the purchasers but whether the use of such mark would likely cause confusion or mistake on the part of the buying public. It would be sufficient, for purposes of the law, that the similarity between the two labels is such that there is a possibility or likelihood of the purchaser of the older brand mistaking the new brand for it." 19 Even if not an the details just mentioned were identical, with the general appearance alone of the two products, any ordinary, or even perhaps even [sic] a not too perceptive and discriminating customer could be deceived ... " 20 When the law speaks co-purchaser," the reference is to ordinary average purchaser. 21 It is not necessary in either case that the resemblance be sufficient to deceive experts, dealers, or other persons specially familiar with the trademark or goods involve." 22 The similarity y in the general appearance of respondent's trademark and that of petitioner would evidently create a likelihood of confusion among the purchasing public. But even assuming, arguendo, that the trademark sought to be registered by respondent is distinctively dissimilar from those of the

petitioner, the likelihood of confusion would still subsists, not on the purchaser's perception of the goods but on the origins thereof. By appropriating the word "CONVERSE," respondent's products are likely to be mistaken as having been produced by petitioner. "The risk of damage is not limited to a possible confusion of goods but also includes confusion of reputation if the public could reasonably assume that the goods of the parties originated from the same source. 23 It is unfortunate that respondent Director of Patents has concluded that since the petitioner is not licensed to do business in the country and is actually not doing business on its own in the Philippines, it has no name to protect iN the forum and thus, it is futile for it to establish that "CONVERSE" as part of its corporate name identifies its rubber shoes. That a foreign corporation has a right to maintain an action in the forum even if it is not licensed to do business and is not actually doing business on its own therein has been enunciated many times by this Court. In La Chemise Lacoste, S.A. vs. Fernandez, 129 SCRA 373, this Court, reiterating Western Equipment and Supply Co. vs. Reyes, 51 Phil. 115, stated that: ... a foreign corporation which has never done any business in the Philippines and which is unlicensed and unregistered to do business here, but is widely and favorably known in the Philippines through the use therein of its products bearing its corporate and tradename, has a legal right to maintain an action in the Philippines to restrain the residents and inhabitants thereof from organizing a corporation therein bearing the same name as the foreign corporation, when it appears that they have personal knowledge of the existence of such a foreign corporation, and it is apparent that the purpose of the proposed domestic corporation is to deal and trade in the same goods as those of the foreign corporation. We further held: xxx xxx xxx That company is not here seeking to enforce any legal or control rights arising from or growing out of, any business which it has transacted in the Philippine Islands. The sole purpose of the action: Is to protect its reputation, its corporate name, its goodwill whenever that reputation, corporate name or goodwill have, through the natural development of its trade, established themselves.' And it contends that its rights to the use of its corporate and trade name: Is a property right, a right in recess which it may assert and protect against all the world, in any of the courts of the world even in jurisdictions where it does not transact business-just the same as it may protect its tangible property, real or personal against trespass, or conversion. Citing sec. 10, Nims on Unfair Competition and Trademarks and cases cited; secs. 21-22, Hopkins on Trademarks, Trade Names and Unfair Competition and cases cited That point is sustained by the authorities, and is well stated in Hanover Star Milling Co. vs. Allen and Wheeler Co. [208 Fed., 5131, in which the syllabus says: Since it is the trade and not the mark that is to be protected, a trademark acknowledges no territorial boundaries of municipalities or states or

nations, but extends to every market where the trader's goods have become known and Identified by the use of the mark. The ruling in the aforecited case is in consonance with the Convention of the Union of Paris for the Protection of Industrial Property to which the Philippines became a party on September 27, 1965. Article 8 thereof provides that "a trade name [corporate name] shall be protected in all the countries of the Union without the obligation of filing or registration, whether or not it forms part of the trademark. " [emphasis supplied] The object of the Convention is to accord a national of a member nation extensive protection "against infringement and other types of unfair competition" [Vanitary Fair Mills, Inc. vs. T. Eaton Co., 234 F. 2d 6331. The mandate of the aforementioned Convention finds implementation in Sec. 37 of RA No. 166, otherwise known as the Trademark Law: Sec. 37. Rights of Foreign Registrants-Persons who are nationals of, domiciled or have a bona fide or effective business or commercial establishment in any foreign country, which is a party to an international convention or treaty relating to marks or tradenames on the repression of unfair competition to which the Philippines may be a party, shall be entitled to the benefits and subject to the provisions of this Act . . . ... Tradenames of persons described in the first paragraph of this section shall be protected without the obligation of filing or registration whether or not they form parts of marks. [emphasis supplied] WHEREFORE, the decision of the Director of Patents is hereby set aside and a new one entered denying Respondent Universal Rubber Products, Inc.'s application for registration of the trademark "UNIVERSAL CONVERSE AND DEVICE" on its rubber shoes and slippers. SO ORDERED. Levi Strauss vs. Clinton Apparelle DECISION Before us is a petition for review on certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure filed by Levi Strauss & Co. (LS & Co.) and Levi Strauss (Philippines), Inc. (LSPI) assailing the Court of Appeals Decision[2] and Resolution[3]respectively dated 21 December 1998 and 10 May 1999. The questioned Decision granted respondents prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction in its Petition[4] and set aside the trial courts orders dated 15 May 1998[5] and 4 June 1998[6] which respectively granted petitioners prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.

This case stemmed from the Complaint[7] for Trademark Infringement, Injunction and Damages filed by petitioners LS & Co. and LSPI against respondent Clinton Apparelle, Inc. * (Clinton Aparelle) together with an alternative defendant, Olympian Garments, Inc. (Olympian Garments), before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 90.[8] The Complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-98-34252, entitled Levi Strauss & Co. and Levi Strauss (Phils.), Inc. v. Clinton Aparelle, Inc. and/or Olympian Garments, Inc.

The Complaint alleged that LS & Co., a foreign corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, U.S.A., and engaged in the apparel business, is the owner by prior adoption and use since 1986 of the internationally famous Dockers and Design trademark. This ownership is evidenced by its valid and existing registrations in various member countries of the Paris Convention. In the Philippines, it has a Certificate of Registration No. 46619 in the Principal Register for use of said trademark on pants, shirts, blouses, skirts, shorts, sweatshirts and jackets under Class 25.[9] The Dockers and Design trademark was first used in the Philippines in or about May 1988, by LSPI, a domestic corporation engaged in the manufacture, sale and distribution of various products bearing trademarks owned by LS & Co. To date, LSPI continues to manufacture and sell Dockers Pants with the Dockers and Design trademark.[10] LS & Co. and LSPI further alleged that they discovered the presence in the local market of jeans under the brand name Paddocks using a device which is substantially, if not exactly, similar to the Dockers and Design trademark owned by and registered in the name of LS & Co., without its consent. Based on their information and belief, they added, Clinton Apparelle manufactured and continues to manufacture such Paddocks jeans and other apparel. However, since LS & Co. and LSPI are unsure if both, or just one of impleaded defendants are behind the manufacture and sale of the Paddocks jeans complained of, they brought this suit under Section 13, Rule 3[11] of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.[12] The Complaint contained a prayer that reads as follows:

1. That upon the filing of this complaint, a temporary restraining order be immediately issued restraining defendants, their officers, employees, agents, representatives, dealers, retailers or assigns from committing the acts herein complained of, and, specifically, for the defendants, their officers, employees, agents, representatives, dealers and retailers or assigns, to cease and desist from manufacturing, distributing, selling, offering for sale, advertising, or otherwise using denims, jeans or pants with the design herein complained of as substantially, if not exactly similar, to plaintiffs Dockers and Design trademark. 2. That after notice and hearing, and pending trial on the merits, a writ of preliminary injunction be issued enjoining defendants, their officers, employees, agents, dealers, retailers, or assigns from manufacturing, distributing, selling, offering for sale, advertising, jeans the design herein complained of as substantially, if not exactly similar, to plaintiffs Dockers and Design trademark. 3. That after trial on the merits, judgment be rendered as follows: a. Affirming and making permanent the writ of preliminary injunction; b. Ordering that all infringing jeans in the possession of either or both defendants as the evidence may warrant, their officers, employees, agents, retailers, dealers or assigns, be delivered to the Honorable Court of plaintiffs, and be accordingly destroyed;[13] Acting on the prayer for the issuance of a TRO, the trial court issued an Order[14] setting it for hearing on 5 May 1998. On said date, as respondent failed to appear despite notice and the other defendant, Olympian Garments, had yet to be notified, the hearing was re-scheduled on 14 May 1998.[15] On 14 May 1998, neither Clinton Apparelle nor Olympian Garments appeared. Clinton Apparelle claimed that it was not notified of such hearing. Only Olympian Garments allegedly had been issued with summons. Despite the absence of the defendants, the hearing on the application for the issuance of a TRO continued.[16] The following day, the trial court issued an Order[17] granting the TRO applied for. On 4 June 1998, the trial court issued another Order[19] granting the writ of preliminary injunction. The evidence considered by the trial court in granting injunctive relief were as follows: (1) a certified true copy of the certificate of trademark registration for Dockers and Design; (2) a pair of DOCKERS pants bearing the Dockers and Design trademark; (3) a pair of Paddocks pants bearing respondents assailed logo; (4) the Trends MBL Survey Report purportedly proving that there was confusing similarity between two marks; (5) the affidavit of one Bernabe Alajar which recounted petitioners prior adoption, use and registration of the Dockers and Design trademark; and (6) the

affidavit of one Mercedes Abad of Trends MBL, Inc. which detailed the methodology and procedure used in their survey and the results thereof.[21] Clinton Apparelle thereafter filed a Motion to Dismiss[22] and a Motion for Reconsideration[23] of the Order granting the writ of preliminary injunction. Meantime, the trial court issued

an Order[24] approving the bond filed by petitioners. On 22 June 1998, the trial court required[25] the parties to file their respective citation of authorities/ jurisprudence/Supreme Court decisions on whether or not the trial court may issue the writ of preliminary injunction pending the resolution of the Motion for Reconsideration and the Motion to Dismiss filed by respondent. On 2 October 1998, the trial court denied Clinton Apparelles Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Reconsideration in anOmnibus Order,[26] the pertinent portions of which provide: After carefully going over the contents of the pleadings in relation to pertinent portions of the records, this Court is of the considered and humble view that: On the first motion, the arguments raised in the plaintiffs aforecited Consolidated Opposition appears to be meritorious. Be that as it may, this Court would like to emphasize, among other things, that the complaint states a cause of action as provided under paragraphs 1 to 18 thereof. On the second motion, the arguments raised in the plaintiffs aforecited Consolidated Opposition likewise appear to be impressed with merit. Besides, there appears to be no strong and cogent reason to reconsider and set aside this Courts Order dated June 4, 1998 as it has been shown so far that the trademark or logo of defendants is substantially, if not exactly, similar to plaintiffs DOCKERS and DESIGN trademark or logo as covered by BPTTT Certificate of Registration No. 46619 even as the BPTTT Certificate of Registration No. 49579 of Clinton Apparelle, Inc. is only for the mark or word PADDOCKS (see Records, p. 377) In any event, this Court had issued an Order dated June 18, 1998 for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction after the plaintiffs filed the required bond of P2,500,000.00. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the aforecited Motion To Dismiss and Motion For Reconsideration are both DENIED for lack of merit, and accordingly, this Courts Order dated June 18, 1998 for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction is REITERATED so the writ of preliminary injunction could be implemented unless the implementation thereof is restrained by the Honorable Court of Appeals or Supreme Court. The writ of preliminary injunction was thereafter issued on 8 October 1998.[27]

Thus, Clinton Apparelle filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition[28] for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction, assailing the orders of the trial court dated 15 May 1998, 4 June 1998 and 2 October 1998. On 20 October 1998, the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution[29] requiring herein petitioners to file their comment on thePetition and at the same time issued the prayed-for temporary restraining order. The appellate court rendered on 21 December 1998 its now assailed Decision granting Clinton Apparelles petition. The Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not follow the procedure required by law for the issuance of a temporary restraining order as Clinton Apparelle was not duly notified of the date of the summary hearing for its issuance. Thus, the Court of Appeals ruled that the TRO had been improperly issued.[30] The Court of Appeals also held that the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction is questionable. In its opinion, herein petitioners failed to sufficiently establish its material and substantial right to have the writ issued. Secondly, the Court of Appeals observed that the survey presented by petitioners to support their contentions was commissioned by petitioners. The Court of Appeals remarked that affidavits taken ex-parte are generally considered to be inferior to testimony given in open court. The appellate court also considered that the injury petitioners have suffered or are currently suffering may be compensated in terms of monetary consideration, if after trial, a final judgment shall be rendered in their favor.[31] In addition, the Court of Appeals strongly believed that the implementation of the questioned writ would effectively shut down respondents business, which in its opinion should not be sanctioned. The Court of Appeals thus set aside the orders of the trial court dated 15 May 1998 and 4 June 1998, respectively issuing a temporary restraining order and granting the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. With the denial of their Motion for Reconsideration,[32] petitioners are now before this Court seeking a review of the appellate courts Decision and Resolution. LS & Co. and LSPI claim that the Court of Appeals committed serious error in: (1) disregarding the well-defined limits of the writ of certiorari that questions on the sufficiency of evidence are not to be resolved in such a petition; (2) in holding that there was no confusion between the two marks; (3) in ruling that the erosion of petitioners trademark is not

protectable by injunction; (4) in ignoring the procedure previously agreed on by the parties and which was adopted by the trial court; and (5) in declaring that the preliminary injunction issued by the trial court will lead to the closure of respondents business. In its Comment,[33] Clinton Apparelle maintains that only questions of law may be raised in an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. It asserts that the question of whether the Court of Appeals erred in: (1) disregarding the survey evidence; (2) ruling that there was no confusion between the two marks; and (c) finding that the erosion of petitioners trademark may not be protected by injunction, are issues not within the ambit of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. Clinton Apparelle also contends that the Court of Appeals acted correctly when it overturned the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the trial court. It believes that the issued writ in effect disturbed the status quo and disposed of the main case without trial.

There is no merit in the petition. At issue is whether the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction by the trial court was proper and whether the Court of Appeals erred in setting aside the orders of the trial court. Section 1, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court defines a preliminary injunction as an order granted at any stage of an action prior to the judgment or final order requiring a party or a court, agency or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts. Injunction is accepted as the strong arm of equity or a transcendent remedy to be used cautiously as it affects the respective rights of the parties, and only upon full conviction on the part of the court of its extreme necessity. An extraordinary remedy, injunction is designed to preserve or maintain the status quo of things and is generally availed of to prevent actual or threatened acts until the merits of the case can be heard.[34] It may be resorted to only by a litigant for the preservation or protection of his rights or interests and for no other purpose during the pendency of the principal action.[35] It is resorted to only when there is a pressing necessity to avoid injurious consequences, which cannot be remedied under any standard compensation. The resolution of an application for a writ of preliminary injunction rests upon the existence of an emergency or of a special recourse before the main case can be heard in due course of proceedings.[36]

Section 3, Rule 58, of the Rules of Court enumerates the grounds for the issuance of a preliminary injunction: SEC. 3. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. A preliminary injunction may be granted when it is established: (a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of, or in requiring the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually; (b) That the commission, continuance, or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant; or (c) That a party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, or is attempting to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done, some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and tending to render the judgment ineffectual. Under the cited provision, a clear and positive right especially calling for judicial protection must be shown. Injunction is not a remedy to protect or enforce contingent, abstract, or future rights; it will not issue to protect a right not in esse and which may never arise, or to restrain an act which does not give rise to a cause of action. There must exist an actual right.[37] There must be a patent showing by the complaint that there exists a right to be protected and that the acts against which the writ is to be directed are violative of said right.[38] There are generally two kinds of preliminary injunction: (1) a prohibitory injunction which commands a party to refrain from doing a particular act; and (2) a mandatory injunction which commands the performance of some positive act to correct a wrong in the past.[39] The Court of Appeals did not err in reviewing proof adduced by petitioners to support its application for the issuance of the writ. While the matter of the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, this discretion must be exercised based upon the grounds and in the manner provided by law. The exercise of discretion by the trial court in injunctive matters is generally not interfered with save in cases of manifest abuse.[40] And to determine whether there was abuse of discretion, a scrutiny must be made of the bases, if any, considered by the trial court in granting injunctive relief. Be it stressed that injunction is the strong arm of equity which must be issued

with great caution and deliberation, and only in cases of great injury where there is no commensurate remedy in damages.[41] In the present case, we find that there was scant justification for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. Petitioners anchor their legal right to Dockers and Design trademark on the Certificate of Registration issued in their favor by the Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer.* According to Section 138 of Republic Act No. 8293,[42] this Certificate of Registration is prima facie evidence of the validity of the registration, the registrants ownership of the mark and of the exclusive right to use the same in connection with the goods or services and those that are related thereto specified in the certificate. Section 147.1 of said law likewise grants the owner of the registered mark the exclusive right to prevent all third parties not having the owners consent from using in the course of trade identical or similar signs for goods or services which are identical or similar to those in respect of which the trademark is registered if such use results in a likelihood of confusion.

However, attention should be given to the fact that petitioners registered trademark consists of two elements: (1) the word mark Dockers and (2) the wing-shaped design or logo. Notably, there is only one registration for both features of the trademark giving the impression that the two should be considered as a single unit. Clinton Apparelles trademark, on the other hand, uses the Paddocks word mark on top of a logo which according to petitioners is a slavish imitation of the Dockers design. The two trademarks apparently differ in their word marks (Dockers and Paddocks), but again according to petitioners, they employ similar or identical logos. It could thus be said that respondent only appropriates petitioners logo and not the word mark Dockers; it uses only a portion of the registered trademark and not the whole. Given the single registration of the trademark Dockers and Design and considering that respondent only uses the assailed device but a different word mark, the right to prevent the latter from using the challenged Paddocks device is far from clear. Stated otherwise, it is not evident whether the single registration of the trademark Dockers and Design confers on the owner the right to prevent the use of a fraction thereof in the course of trade. It is also unclear whether the use without the owners consent of a

portion of a trademark registered in its entirety constitutes material or substantial invasion of the owners right. It is likewise not settled whether the wing-shaped logo, as opposed to the word mark, is the dominant or central feature of petitioners trademarkthe feature that prevails or is retained in the minds of the publican imitation of which creates the likelihood of deceiving the public and constitutes trademark infringement.[43] In sum, there are vital matters which have yet and may only be established through a full-blown trial. From the above discussion, we find that petitioners right to injunctive relief has not been clearly and unmistakably demonstrated. The right has yet to be determined. Petitioners also failed to show proof that there is material and substantial invasion of their right to warrant the issuance of an injunctive writ. Neither were petitioners able to show any urgent and permanent necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. Petitioners wish to impress upon the Court the urgent necessity for injunctive relief, urging that the erosion or dilution of their trademark is protectable. They assert that a trademark owner does not have to wait until the mark loses its distinctiveness to obtain injunctive relief, and that the mere use by an infringer of a registered mark is already actionable even if he has not yet profited thereby or has damaged the trademark owner. Trademark dilution is the lessening of the capacity of a famous mark to identify and distinguish goods or services, regardless of the presence or absence of: (1) competition between the owner of the famous mark and other parties; or (2) likelihood of confusion, mistake or deception. Subject to the principles of equity, the owner of a famous mark is entitled to an injunction against another persons commercial use in commerce of a mark or trade name, if such use begins after the mark has become famous and causes dilution of the distinctive quality of the mark. This is intended to protect famous marks from subsequent uses that blur distinctiveness of the mark or tarnish or disparage it.[44] Based on the foregoing, to be eligible for protection from dilution, there has to be a finding that: (1) the trademark sought to be protected is famous and distinctive; (2) the use by respondent of Paddocks and Design began after the petitioners mark became famous; and (3) such subsequent use defames petitioners mark. In the case at bar, petitioners have yet to establish whether Dockers and Design has

acquired a strong degree of distinctiveness and whether the other two elements are present for their cause to fall within the ambit of the invoked protection. The Trends MBL Survey Report which petitioners presented in a bid to establish that there was confusing similarity between two marks is not sufficient proof of any dilution that the trial court must enjoin. The Court also finds that the trial courts order granting the writ did not adequately detail the reasons for the grant, contrary to our ruling in University of the Philippines v. Hon. Catungal Jr., [45] wherein we held that: The trial court must state its own findings of fact and cite particular law to justify grant of preliminary injunction. Utmost care in this regard is demanded.[46] The trial court in granting the injunctive relief tersely ratiocinated that the plaintiffs appear to be entitled to the relief prayed for and this Court is of the considered belief and humble view that, without necessarily delving on the merits, the paramount interest of justice will be better served if the status quo shall be maintained. Clearly, this statement falls short of the requirement laid down by the above-quoted case. Similarly, in Developers Group of Companies, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[47] we held that it was not enough for the trial court, in its order granting the writ, to simply say that it appeared after hearing that plaintiff is entitled to the relief prayed for. In addition, we agree with the Court of Appeals in its holding that the damages the petitioners had suffered or continue to suffer may be compensated in terms of monetary consideration. As held in Government Service Insurance System v. Florendo:[48] a writ of injunction should never have been issued when an action for damages would adequately compensate the injuries caused. The very foundation of the jurisdiction to issue the writ of injunction rests in the probability of irreparable injury, inadequacy of pecuniary estimation and the prevention of the multiplicity of suits, and where facts are not shown to bring the case within these conditions, the relief of injunction should be refused.[49] We also believe that the issued injunctive writ, if allowed, would dispose of the case on the merits as it would effectively enjoin the use of the Paddocks device without proof that there is basis for such action. The prevailing rule is that courts should avoid issuing a writ of preliminary injunction that would in effect dispose of the main case without trial.[50] There would be a prejudgment of the main case and a

reversal of the rule on the burden of proof since it would assume the proposition which petitioners are inceptively bound to prove.[51] Parenthetically, we find no flaw in the Court of Appeals disquisition on the consequences of the issued injunction. An exercise of caution, we believe that such reflection is necessary to weigh the alleged entitlement to the writ vis--vis its possible effects. The injunction issued in the instant case is of a serious nature as it tends to do more than to maintain the status quo. In fact, the assailed injunction if sustained would bring about the result desired by petitioners without a trial on the merits. Then again, we believe the Court of Appeals overstepped its authority when it declared that the alleged similarity as to the two logos is hardly confusing to the public. The only issue brought before the Court of Appeals through respondents Petition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court involved the grave abuse of discretion allegedly committed by the trial court in granting the TRO and the writ of preliminary injunction. The appellate court in making such a statement went beyond that issue and touched on the merits of the infringement case, which remains to be decided by the trial court. In our view, it was premature for the Court of Appeals to declare that there is no confusion between the two devices or logos. That matter remains to be decided on by the trial court. Finally, we have no contention against the procedure adopted by the trial court in resolving the application for an injunctive writ and we believe that respondent was accorded due process. Due process, in essence, is simply an opportunity to be heard. And in applications for preliminary injunction, the requirement of hearing and prior notice before injunction may issue has been relaxed to the point that not all petitions for preliminary injunction must undergo a trial-type hearing, it being a hornbook doctrine that a formal or trial-type hearing is not at all times and in all instances essential to due process. Due process simply means giving every contending party the opportunity to be heard and the court to consider every piece of evidence presented in their favor. Accordingly, this Court has in the case of Co v. Calimag, Jr.,[52] rejected a claim of denial of due process where such claimant was given the opportunity to be heard, having submitted his counter-affidavit and memorandum in support of his position.[53] After a careful consideration of the facts and arguments of the parties, the Court finds that petitioners did not adequately prove their entitlement to the injunctive writ. In the absence of proof of a legal right and the injury sustained by the applicant, an order of the trial court granting the issuance of an injunctive

writ will be set aside for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion. [54]Conformably, the Court of Appeals was correct in setting aside the assailed orders of the trial court. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 21 December 1998 and itsResolution dated 10 May 1999 are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED.