Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Red Bull case continues (to embarrass the Philippines legal system)

The Red Bull case previously reported here continues to leave people aghast at the Philippines legal system. The case concerns a former disgruntled Red Bull drinks distributor Energy Food and Drinks Inc. (EFDI). EFDI based on its marketing approvals for the energy drink, filed a case against Red Bull's Thai owner, their directors and its new Philippines distributor. The case claims breaches of the marketing approval rules for drinks and IP violations! After the case was thrown out the old distributor appealed to a new prosecutor, as a criminal violation.

Now trial judges have issued arrest warrants against the Thai owners of Red Bull Energy Drink and their Filipino partners. Arrest warrants cover 4 corporate officers of TC Pharmaceutical Industries Co. Ltd. (TC), the manufacturer of Red Bull. Also warrants cover officers of Maryland Distributors Inc. (MDI), the new Philippines distributor of Red Bull. 2 separate judges in the Special Commercial Court issued them -  Judge Pedro Soriao of Legazpi City Regional Trial Court Branch 5 and Judge Jose Noel Rubio  of Legazpi City Municipal Trial Court Branch 3. Bail was set and already the MDI officers posted bail.

EFDI accused TCPI and MDI of violating Republic Act (RA) 8293, or the IP Code of the Philippines, for unfair competition and RA 3720 or the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The claim is that the termination of EFDI led to the labels of existing products being replaced with new ones, even though their regulatory approval continued in force. That such a case should be criminal shows how little probable cause is often required by the Philippines legal system. How ironic that many criminal cases fail because probably cause is not properly shown at trial!
Even the police are getting in on the act. A PNP spokesperson has said the “law enforcement agency...[must] implement the arrest warrants”.  Now that raises the question what about all the other warrants to arrest IP violators which remain outstanding. The PNP routinely fail to arrest suspects. The Thais are not likely to show up now, and the distributor posted bail, so its all talk.

IP Komodo thinks the IP authorities are keeping a low profile as this case shows that anyone can use the criminal system to conjure up a case, based on laws which really shouldn't apply to commercial business disputes. Meanwhile genuine IP cases languish for years on the criminal system taking 10 years or so to get to trial.


1 comment:

  1. This is the most controversial case of this season as it includes conflict of a health drink organization with government of the Philippines. Hope this conflict will resolve fast as this is the health drink which is consumed in high amount in this country so that people might enjoy it back.