Intellectual Property Law, Mercantile Law

KHO vs. CA G.R. No. 115758 March 19, 2002 Intellectual Property Law, Trademark, Copyright, Patent, Distinctions

FACTS:

Petitioner Elidad C. Kho filed a complaint for injunction and damages with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against Summerville alleging that petitioner is the registered owner of the copyrights Chin Chun Su and Oval Facial Cream Container/Case; that she also has patent rights on Chin Chun Su after purchasing the same from Quintin Cheng, the registered owner thereof; that respondent Summerville advertised and sold petitioner’s cream products under the brand name Chin Chun Su, in similar containers that petitioner uses, thereby misleading the public, and resulting in the decline in the petitioner’s business sales and income; and, that the respondents should be enjoined from allegedly infringing on the copyrights and patents of the petitioner.

The respondents alleged that Summerville is the exclusive and authorized importer, re-packer and distributor of Chin Chun Su products manufactured by Shun Yi Factory of Taiwan.

The RTC ruled in favor of KEC.

After the denial of their motion for reconsideration, respondents filed a petition for certiorari with the CA, praying for the nullification of the said writ of preliminary injunction issued by the trial court. The CA rendered a Decision in favor of the respondents.

In the meantime, the trial court went on to hear petitioner’s complaint for final injunction and damages. The trial court rendered a Decision barring the petitioner from using the trademark Chin Chun Su and upholding the right of the respondents to use the same, but recognizing the copyright of the petitioner over the oval shaped container of the  beauty cream.

The petitioner appealed to the CA.

The CA denied the petitioner’s motions for reconsideration. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE:

Whether the copyright and patent over the name and container of a beauty cream product would entitle the registrant to the use and ownership over the same to the exclusion of others.

RULING:

We rule in favor of the respondents.

Trademark, copyright and patents are different intellectual property rights that cannot be interchanged with one another.

A trademark is any visible sign capable of distinguishing the goods (trademark) or services (service mark) of an enterprise and shall include a stamped or marked container of goods. In relation thereto, a trade name means the name or designation identifying or distinguishing an enterprise.

Meanwhile, the scope of a copyright is confined to literary and artistic works which are original intellectual creations in the literary and artistic domain protected from the moment of their creation. Patentable inventions, on the other hand, refer to any technical solution of a problem in any field of human activity which is new, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable.

Petitioner has no right to support her claim for the exclusive use of the subject trade name and its container. The name and container of a beauty cream product are proper subjects of a trademark inasmuch as the same falls squarely within its definition. In order to be entitled to exclusively use the same in the sale of the beauty cream product, the user must sufficiently prove that she registered or used it before anybody else did. The petitioner’s copyright and patent registration of the name and container would not guarantee her the right to the exclusive use of the same for the reason that they are not appropriate subjects of the said intellectual rights.

Consequently, a preliminary injunction order cannot be issued for the reason that the petitioner has not proven that she has a clear right over the said name and container to the exclusion of others, not having proven that she has registered a trademark thereto or used the same before anyone did.

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