‘Ginebra’ is San Miguel’s, not Tanduay’s, CA rules
MANILA, Philippines–The Court of Appeals (CA) has once again ruled in favor of Ginebra San Miguel Inc. (GSMI) in the latter’s complaint for unfair competition, infringement and damages against Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TDI) in connection with their use of the product label “ginebra” on their alcoholic products.
In a 47-page decision dated Nov. 7 and written by Justice Rodil Zalameda, the appellate court’s Special 16th Division granted GSMI’s petition to reverse the October 2012 decision of the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court dismissing GSMI’s original complaint for lack of merit.
The appeals court ordered TDI to “cease and desist from using the word/mark ‘ginebra’ on any of its gin products.”
It also ordered TDI to pay GSMI an amount equivalent to 50 percent of the total gross sales of “Ginebra Kapitan” products. TDI was also directed to pay P2 million in exemplary damages and P500,000 in attorney’s fees.
The other division members, Justices Romeo Barza and Maria Elisa Sempio Diy, concurred with the ruling.
The appellate justices based their ruling on TDI’s liability for trademark infringement and unfair competition by citing the decision in a similar case in the Special Former 13th Division in August 2013. Under the law, CA divisions’ decisions on similar cases must be consistent with one another.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by GSMI against TDI in the Mandaluyong RTC accusing the latter of deceiving the general public into believing that “Ginebra Kapitan” was manufactured, distributed and sold by GSMI.
GSMI also pointed out the resemblance of the bottle and label of TDI’s product with GSMI’s.
The appeals court said GSMI “has presented a preponderance of evidence to prove its claim over the mark ‘ginebra,’ and that the same has acquired a secondary meaning in trademark laws.”
It also lent credence to the results of a survey conducted by GSMI that showed that 90 percent of the respondents, or some six million gin drinkers, associated the name “ginebra” with Ginebra San Miguel.–Jerome Aning
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