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Asia Brewery v.

CA (Short title) RULING & RATIO

G.R. No. 103543 | 224 SCRA 437 | July 5, 1993 1. NO
Petitioner: ASIA BREWERY, INC., 2. The fact that the words “pale Pilsen” are part of ABI's trademark does not
Respondents: CA and SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION constitute an infringement of SMC's trademark.
3. "pale pilsen" are generic words descriptive of the color ("pale"), of a type of
DOCTRINE beer ("pilsen"), which is a light bohemian beer with a strong hops flavor that
A word or a combination of words which is merely descriptive of an article of trade, or originated in the City of Pilsen in Czechoslovakia.
of its composition, characteristics, or qualities, cannot be appropriated and protected 4. "Pilsen" is a "primarily geographically descriptive word," hence, non-
as a trademark to the exclusion of its use by others. registerable and not appropriable by any beer manufacturer.
5. A word or a combination of words which is merely descriptive of an article of
FACTS trade, or of its composition, characteristics, or qualities, cannot be
1. On September 15, 1988, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) filed a complaint appropriated and protected as a trademark to the exclusion of its use by
against Asia Brewery Inc. (ABI) for infringement of trademark and unfair others.
competition because of the latter's BEER PALE PILSEN or BEER NA BEER 6. ABI has printed its name all over the bottle of its beer product: on the label, on
product which has been competing with SMC's SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN the back of the bottle, as well as on the bottle cap. Hence, the visible
2. Trial Court dismissed the complaint of SMC because ABI has not committed differences between the two products, is quite unlikely that a customer of
infringement or unfair competition against SMC. Hence, SMC appealed to CA. average intelligence would mistake a bottle of BEER PALE PILSEN for SAN
o It observed that the word "BEER" does not appear in SMC's MIGUEL PALE PILSEN.
trademark, just as the words "SAN MIGUEL" do not appear in ABI's 7. The fact that BEER PALE PILSEN like SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN is bottled
trademark. Hence, there is absolutely no similarity in the dominant in amber-colored steinie bottles of 320 ml. capacity and is also advertised in
features of both trademarks. print, broadcast, and television media, does not necessarily constitute unfair
3. CA reversed the decision of Trial Court. CA restrained ABI from manufacturing competition.
the “Beer Pale Pilsen”. It also ordered ABI to pay P5M, which were the
estimated profit of ABI from selling the “Beer Pale Pilsen”. It further ordered to DISPOSITION
recall all the “Beer Pale Pilsen”. WHEREFORE, finding the petition for review meritorious, the same is hereby granted.
4. Upon the MR of ABI, the CA modified its decision. Thus, CA removed the The decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 28104 are
order to pay SMC P5M. hereby set aside and that of the trial court is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. Costs
Hence, this petition. against the private respondent.

Dominant Features SMC’s trademark:

SMC: - a rectangular design bordered by what appears to be minute grains arranged in rows
- SAN MIGUEL PALE PILSEN, written in white Gothic letters with elaborate serifs at of three in which there appear in each corner hop designs.
the beginning and end of the letters "S" and "M" on an amber background across the - The dominant feature is the phrase "San Miguel" written horizontally at the upper
upper portion of the rectangular design. portion.
- Below are the words "Pale Pilsen" written diagonally across the middle of the
ABI: rectangular design
- BEER PALE PILSEN, with the word "Beer" written in large amber letters, larger than
any of the letters found in the SMC label. ABI’s trademark:
- a rectangular design bordered by what appear to be buds of flowers with leaves.
ISSUE/S -The dominant feature is "Beer" written across the upper portion of the rectangular
1. W/N the words “pale pilsen” in ABI’s trademark infringes SMC’s trademark on “San design.
Miguel Pale Pilsen”. - The phrase "Pale Pilsen" appears immediately below in smaller block letters.Error!
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