Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dissimilar goods in the Philippines

Image result for kolin electronics

In Kolin Corporation Ltd v Kolin Electronics Co, Inc, the Philippines Supreme Court got to rule on a question of when goods are similar or dissimilar for trademark law purposes. Both companies owned the marks KOLIN for different goods in class 9. The case began with an opposition filed by Taiwan's Kolin Corp. who owns KOLIN for TVs and DVD players. The Philippines company Kolin Electronics makes power supply products and also registered its mark in Class 9.

The case proceeded through appeals to the Supreme Court. The key question was whether the goods were similar, or not, even though they both fell in class 9 under the Nice Classification. The Court's view was that Nice was not the 'sole and decisive factor' but 'similarity of the products and not the arbitrary classification or general description their properties or characteristics' was the right test. Clearly TVs are not the same as power supply products. The latter especially were not consumer goods bought by the casual buyer.

It is an obvious point and one reinforcing earlier cases, especially given class 9's breadth. But such decisions help set clear precedents for future arguments. The problem is that anyone who disagrees because they are on the wrong end of this argument can still appeal all the way to the Supreme Court delaying their case for years.  


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