Liquor firm told off: ‘Hic!’ No way to use heroes’ names on brandy, rum
Cayetano on Monday assailed a plan by liquor company Destileria Limtuaco & Co. Inc. (DLI) to register the names of national heroes as brands for its alcoholic beverage products, calling it a desecration of their memory.
DLI’s plan to register Rizal, Bonifacio and Gomburza as trademarks threatened to “desecrate, misappropriate and trivialize” their national and historic significance, she said. Gomburza stands for martyred priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora.
“Dr. Jose Rizal, Gat Andres Bonifacio and the three martyred priests all laid their lives for the freedom and rights we enjoy today, and this is how Destileria Limtuaco intends to honor them?” Cayetano said in a statement.
She wondered aloud: Does the company merely want to profit from having their names and images emblazoned on their bottles of whisky, gin, brandy and rum?
“It boggles my mind that the corporate executives of this company are so callous and un-Filipino that they would appropriate the names of Philippine heroes and landmarks for use on their alcoholic products which are known vices,” she said.
As of press time Wednesday night, DLI did not respond to calls requesting comment from the Inquirer.
Cayetano, chair of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture, twitted the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for “allowing the initial approval” of DLI’s application to register “Intramuros” as a liquor brand.
“I cannot understand how the IPO, a government agency that is tasked to uphold the law and the national interest, would allow the name of a national heritage site to be reduced into a brand of an intoxicating beverage?” she said.
The senator said the IPO should have used its authority to reject the application outright.
After all, the trademark examiner has the discretion to deny an application during the substantive examination based on Section 123 of the Intellectual Property Code, she said.
“If he or she denies it, then it will not be allowed for publication for purposes of opposition,” she said.
Very strict guidelines
Cayetano noted that the Intellectual Property Code laid down very strict guidelines on the registration of a mark associated with names, national symbols and geographical areas.
She cited Section 123.1(a), which stated that “a mark cannot be registered if it consists of immoral, deceptive or scandalous matter, or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute.”
Cayetano likewise hit DLI’s applications to register names of provinces and cities, including “Tacloban” as “markedly opportunistic and insensitive.”
Tacloban now global symbol
“Tacloban has become a global symbol of Filipino resilience, hope, recovery and cooperation. And this liquor company has the gall to misappropriate it for selfish ends and corporate profits,” she said of the city in Eastern Visayas that was ravaged by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) in November last year.
The senator backed the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Intramuros Administration in opposing the DLI’s trademark applications with the IPO.
“I trust that the IPO will rectify this glaring oversight on their part and immediately reject all the controversial trademark registration applications of DLI,” she said.
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