Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1984 > August 1984 Decisions > G.R. No. L-54158 August 31, 1984 - PAGASA INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-54158. August 31, 1984.]

PAGASA INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, TIBURCIO S. EVALLE, as Director of Patents, and YOSHIDA KOGYO KABUSHIKI KAISHA, Respondents.

Quasha, Asperilla, Ancheta, Valmonte, Peña & Marcos and Francisco Lava, Jr. for Petitioner.

The Solicitor General for respondent Appellate Court.

Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura & delos Angeles for Private Respondent.


R E S O L U T I O N


AQUINO, J.:


This case is about the conflicting claims of Pagasa Industrial Corporation and Yoshida Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha for the trademark YKK for zippers.

The Director of Patents issued to Yoshida on November 9, 1961 Certificate of Registration No. 9331 for the said trademark for slide fasteners and zippers in class 41. It claimed to have used the trademark since September 1, 1950.

Notwithstanding that prior registration, the Director on April 4, 1968, or more than six years later, issued to Pagasa Certificate of Registration No. 13756 for the same trademark for its zippers, based on alleged use of the trademark since March 1, 1966.cralawnad

On January 23, 1975, Yoshida asked the Director to cancel the registration in favor of Pagasa. The trademark, used for the same product by two different entities, has caused confusion, mistake and deception. The Director explained that the duplicitous registration was attributable to the fact that his examiner "miserably overlooked" the anterior registration by Yoshida. Had it not been for such costly oversight, Pagasa’s application would have been rejected.

In his decision of May 5, 1977, the Director cancelled Pagasa’s certificate of registration in accordance with section 4 (d) and chapter IV of Republic Act No. 166.

Pagasa appealed to the Court of Appeals which in its decision dated February 6, 1980 affirmed the cancellation. It found that prior to 1968 Pagasa knew that Yoshida was the registered owner and user of the YKK trademark which is an acronym of its corporate name.

Tadao Yoshida, the president of Yoshida, and Tsutomu Isaka, the export manager, visited in 1960 (1965) Pagasa’s factory which was manufacturing zippers under the Royal brand. Anacleto Chi, Pagasa’s president visited in turn Yoshida’s factory in Toyoma, Japan.

The Appellate Court concluded that Pagasa’s knowledge that Yoshida was using the YKK trademark precludes the application of the equitable principle of laches, estoppel and acquiescence. It noted that Pagasa acted in bad faith. As observed by Yoshida’s counsel, Pagasa’s registration of YKK as its own trademark was an act of ingratitude.

Pagasa appealed to this Court. The Second Division in a decision dated November 19, 1982, reversed the decision of the Appellate Court (118 SCRA 526). Yoshida filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied in the resolution of January 12, 1983. It was granted leave to file a second motion for reconsideration over Pagasa’s opposition. The case was transferred to the Banc.

We hold that the second motion for reconsideration should be granted. Pagasa contended originally that the Appellate Court erred in holding that Pagasa cannot invoke the equitable principles of laches, estoppel and acquiescence because Yoshida had not abandoned the YKK trademark and Pagasa was aware of its prior existence and registration. It allegedly erred further in ruling that registration gives the registrant a vested right in the trademark.chanrobles law library

These contentions are devoid of merit. The appeal should not have been given due course. The Director of Patents sensibly and correctly cancelled the registration in favor of Pagasa which has not shown any semblance of justification for usurping the trademark YKK. The registration in favor of Pagasa was admitted by the Director to be a mistake. He said that Pagasa’s application should have been denied outright.

Pagasa cannot rely on equity because he who comes into equity must come with clean hands. Equity refuses to lend its aid in any manner to one seeking its active interposition who has been guilty of unlawful or inequitable conduct in the matter with relation to which he seeks relief (30 C.J.S. 1009).

"Registration is sufficient prima-facie proof that all acts necessary to entitle the mark to registration were duly performed" (87 C.J.S. 421). Obviously, Yoshida’s prior registration is superior and must prevail.

WHEREFORE, the decisions of the Director of Patents and the Court of Appeals are affirmed. Costs against the petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Abad Santos, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin and Gutierrez, JJ., concur.

Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, Relova, Cuevas, and De la Fuente, JJ., took no part.




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