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Faberge Inc. vs.

IAC

Facts:

Petitioner Faberge manufactures and sells after-shave lotion, shaving cream, deodorant, toilet
soap, etc. under its registered trademark ‘BRUT’. On the other hand, respondent Co Beng Kay
manufactures and sells briefs under the trademark ‘BRUTE.’ Petitioner tried to oppose the
registration by respondent of the trademark ‘BRUTE’ for being confusingly similar with
petitioner’s ‘BRUT’ but Director of Patents denied such opposition observing that considering
the overall appearance of both trademarks, there are glaring differences which would unlikely
cause a confusion among customers.

On appeal, the CA initially ruled in favor of petitioner stating that the products of the petitioner
and the respondent have the same outlet. Thus, even if the trademark ‘BRUTE’ was only
applied for briefs, the similarity of the same with ‘BRUT’ would likely cause confusion to the
buying public.

On respondent’s motion for reconsideration, the CA reversed itself in favor of respondent


relying on the ESSO and PRC cases wherein the SC ruled that identical trademark can be used by
different manufacturers for products that are non-competing and unrelated. Hence, this
appeal.

Petitioner argues that the ruling in Teodoro which was reiterated in Sta. Ana where the SC ruled
that a registration may be opposed if the junior user’s goods (Co Beng Kay’s in this case) are not
remote from any product that the senior user (Faberge) would be likely to make or sell. To
bolster this argument, petitioner presented an alleged application of the trademark ‘BRUT 33
Device’ for briefs.

Issue:

Whether or not private respondent may appropriate the trademark "BRUTE" for the briefs it
manufactures and sells to the public albeit petitioner had previously registered the symbol
"BRUT" and "BRUT 33".

Held:

Yes, the private respondent may be permitted to register the trademark "BRUTE" for briefs. In
as much as petitioner has not ventured in the production of briefs, an item which is not listed in
its certificate of registration, petitioner cannot and should not be allowed to feign that private
respondent had invaded petitioner's exclusive domain. Even then, a mere application by
petitioner in this aspect does not suffice and may not vest an exclusive right in its favor that can
ordinarily be protected by the Trademark Law. Further, the principle enunciated by the United
States Supreme Court in American Foundries vs. Robertson “that one who has adopted and
used a trademark on his goods does not prevent the adoption and use of the same trademark
by other for products which are of different description.

Furthermore, the businesses of the parties are non-competitive and their products so unrelated
that the use of identical trademarks is not likely to give rise to confusion, much less cause
damage to petitioner. The goods are obviously different from each other — with "absolutely no
iota of similitude" as stressed in respondent court's judgment. They are so foreign to each other
as to make it unlikely that purchasers would think that petitioner is the manufacturer of
respondent' goods. The mere fact that one person has adopted and used a trademark on his
goods does not prevent the adoption and use of the same trademark by others on unrelated
articles of a different kind. The glaring discrepancies between the two products had been amply
portrayed to such an extent that indeed, "a purchaser who is out in the market for the purpose
of buying respondent's BRUTE brief would definitely be not mistaken or misled into buying
BRUT after shave lotion or deodorant"
Issue:
Whether or not the heirs of Democrito O. Plaza were the rightful owner of the property
Held:

The Court held that the private respondents and his predecessors-in-interest have acquired and
have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of the subject property for a
period of 30 years under a bona fide claim of ownership are the tax declarations of petitioner-
appellees predecessors-in-interest, the deed of sale and tax receipts payments. The evidence on
record reveals that the predecessors-in-interest of the private respondent have been declaring the
property in question in their names and since then paid the taxes due thereon.
The tax declarations and the realty tax payments are strong evidence of possession by the private
respondent. Moreover, the realty tax payment receipts show that petitioner-appellee has been
very religious in paying the taxes due on the property. This is indicative of his honest belief that he
is the owner of the subject property.
Although tax declarations or realty tax payments of property are not conclusive evidence of
ownership, nevertheless, they are good indicia of possession in the concept of owner for no one in
his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or at least constructive
possession.[25] They constitute at least proof that the holder has a claim of title over the
property. The voluntary declaration of a piece of property for taxation purposes manifests not only
ones sincere and honest desire to obtain title to the property and announces his adverse claim
against the State and all other interested parties, but also the intention to contribute needed
revenues to the Government. Such an act strengthens ones bona fide claim of acquisition of
ownership.
With regard to the issue on the land in question had been withdrawn from the alienable portion of
the public domain pursuant to Presidential Proclamation entitled Reserving for Slum Improvement
and Resettlement Sites and Services of the National Housing Authority. The Court held, that the
issuance of the proclamation did not have any effect on the subject property as the proclamation
only withdrew it from sale or settlement and reserved the same for slum improvement, but subject
to actual survey and existing private rights. The proclamation did not prohibit the registration of
title of one who claims, and proves, to be the owner thereof
At any rate, registration does not vest title. It is merely evidence of such title. Our land registration
laws do not give the holder any better title than what he actually has. When the conditions set by
law are complied with, the possessor of the land, by operation of law, acquires a right to a grant, a
government grant, without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. The Torrens system
was not established as a means for the acquisition of title to private land, as it merely confirms, but
does not confer ownership.