Philippines trade names and unfair competition

Trade name infringement is a headache in much of Asia. Different ministries issue company names from trademarks, so company registrants tend to think they have a right to use arising from their company name issuance. A case in the Philippines found one way of resolving the issue.

The case was Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd v Paperone Inc. APRIH makes paper products, (such as the printer paper shown here) owned a trademark PAPER ONE registered by the IPO. It sued Paperone for Unfair Competition on the basis that it has used Paperone as its company name since the name was approved by the Department of Trade and Industry in 2001. Paperone claimed it did not use it as a trademark but as its corporate name. It identified itself as the manufacturer on products, but they were typically also branded with another trademark.

 

The case went to the Supreme Court, who reversing lower court rulings, held that there could be confusion over the product origins so this was a clear case of Unfair Competition.