Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gin by another name...

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOP) dismissed an appeal by Ginebra San Miguel Inc. (GSM) against IPOP's decision to register Tanduay Distillers Inc. 's (TD) Ginebra Kapitan trademark. This is the second IPOP appeal.

This is part of a much larger dispute between the two. Previously the Court of Appeals injuncted TD from using the term “ginebra” for its gin drinks on the basis of trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The latest decision states that Ginebra Kapitan is “not confusingly similar” to Ginebra San Miguel which has been registered by IPOP, as the only similarity is the word “ginebra” which IPOP says is generic. The rest of the marks are different and the “generic word... cannot be exclusively appropriated.” Ginebra is the Spanish word for gin. GSMI had been using “ginebra” for many years so claimed that “ginebra” had acquired secondary meaning, but this argument was rejected.

TD disclaimed the word “ginebra” in its trademark application. The hope at IPOP is clearly that both parties will walk away.  However given the fact that the dispute has gone many rounds so far and GSM has won in the Court of Appeals before one expects they will appeal the IPOP decision there.


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