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ASIA BREWERY VS.

COURT OF
APPEALS AND SAN MIGUEL CORP.-
Unfair Competition
Nobody can acquire any exclusive right to market articles supplying the simple human needs in
containers or wrappers of the general form, size and character commonly and immediately used
in marketing such articles.

FACTS:

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) filed a complaint against Asia Brewery Inc. (ABI) for infringement of
trademark and unfair competition. RTC dismissed the complaint finding that ABI has not
committed trademark infringement or unfair competition. The CA reversed the decision finding
that ABI is guilty of trademark infringement and unfair competition thus the case at bar.

ISSUE: Whether or not ABI infringes SMCs trademark and as such constitutes
unfair competition

HELD: NO

Infringement is determined by a test of dominancy. If the competing trademark contains the main
or essential or dominant features of another and confusion and deception is likely to result,
infringement takes place. A closer look at the trademark of both companies will show that the
dominant features of each absolutely bear no similarity to each other. SMCs dominant
trademark is the name of the product, San Miguel Pale Pilsen written in white Gothic letters
with elaborate serifs at the beginning and end of the letters S and M on an amber
background while ABIs is the name Beer Pale Pilsen with the word Beer written in large
amber letters, larger than any of the letter found in SMC label.

The word pale pilsen on ABIs trademark does not constitute trademark infringement for it is a
generic word descriptive of the color of a type of beer. No one may appropriate generic or
descriptive words for they belong to the public domain.
ABI is likewise not guilty of unfair competition for unfair competition is the employment of
deception or any other means contrary to good faith by which a person shall pass off the goods
manufactured by him for those of another who has already established goodwill for his similar
goods. The universal test for this is whether the public is likely to be deceived. Actual or
probable deception and confusion on the part of the customers by reason of defendants practices
must appear. However, this is unlikely to happen in the case at bar for consumers generally order
beer by brand. Also, the fact that ABI also uses amber-colored steinie bottles cannot constitute
unfair competition for ABI did not copy SMCs bottle. SMC did not invent but merely borrowed
the steinie bottle from abroad. Likewise, amber is the most effective color in preventing
transmission of light thus providing maximum protection to beer. 320 ml is likewise the standard
prescribed under Metrication Circular No. 778. The fact that it is the first to use the steinie bottle
does not give SMC a vested right to use it to the exclusion of everyone else. Nobody can acquire
any exclusive right to market articles supplying the simple human needs in containers or
wrappers of the general form, size and character commonly and immediately used in marketing
such articles.
There is no confusing similarity between the competing beers therefore ABI neither infringed
SMCs trademark nor did it commit unfair competition.

G.R. No. L-27897 December 2, 1927

WESTERN EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLY COMPANY, WESTERN ELECTRIC


COMPANY, INC., W. Z. SMITH and FELIX C. REYES, plaintiffs-appellees,
vs.
FIDEL A. REYES, as Director of the Bureau of Commerce and Industry, HENRY
HERMAN, PETER O'BRIEN, MANUEL B. DIAZ, FELIPE MAPOY and ARTEMIO
ZAMORA, defendants-appellants.