French oil and gas company Total S.A. has emerged as the winner of a long drawn-out trademark infringement case against a Philippines company called Pilipinas Total Gas, Inc., Marketing magazine reports. The case was filed by Total S.A. back in 2011 and took three years to resolve. It was tried at the Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.
According to the BLA ruling, the two companies can be confused as their names bear a similarity and they are both operating in the same line of business, working with chemicals which find application in industry, science, and agriculture. Hence, the bureau has banned Pilipinas Total Gas from registering a trademark and logo similar to those of Total S.A.
The BLA ruling stated: “Our Intellectual Property Code… specifically provides that a mark cannot be registered if it is identical with a registered mark belonging to a different proprietor or a mark with an earlier filing… with respect to the same goods or services closely related goods or services, or if it nearly resembles such a mark as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion.”
Basing its ruling on the code, the BLA said it found Pilipinas Total Gas’ word mark not distinctly distinguishable from that of the French gas company, in spite of the extra embellishments it contains. Since the two companies offer similar goods, consumers may think that Pilipinas Total’s goods originate from Total S.A, the bureau noted.