Protect Your Rights: Intellectual Property Cases in PH



In 2014, international coffee giant Starbucks Coffee Co. has won a trademark case here in the country against Cafe de Manila Corp, which sought to register “Frap” in their marketing slogan.

Frappuccino is a registered trademark brand of the Starbucks Corporation for their line of iced and blended coffee drinks. This is a coinage of the terms “cappuccino”which is a shot of espresso with steamed, wet milk with a frothy, dry foam and “Frappé” the name for New England’s milkshake with ice cream.

Cafe de Manila Carp had filed an application to the Intellectual Prpoperty Office of the Philippines to use this mark their slogan – “The Frap Bar Everyone Deserves and Designs”.

In Section 123 (d) of the Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, it clearly states:

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Citing this section of RA No. 8293, the Intellectual Property Office’s Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) ruled in favor of Starbucks’ complaint against the local coffee brand.

“Section 123 (d) of Republic Act No. 8293, also known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines 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 or priority date with respect of 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.”

“Thus, the Respondent-Applicant (Cafe de Manila) may not appropriate the word FRAP which constitutes a prefix or dominant part of the Opposer’s (Starbucks) registered trademarks, FRAPPUCCINO, because this may lead to a likelihood of confusion and deception among the purchasing public”

This is not the first time a coffee company used this Starbucks trademark. In 2013, a pub which serves vanilla cream and chocolate coffee ale in Cottleville, Missouri named Exit Pub and Brewery used “Frappicino” mark by one letter and is phonetically identical from Starbucks’ “Frappuccino”.



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Courtesy: Facebook page of La Concepcion College

La Concepcion College in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan was ordered by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), through the Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) to pay P608, 450 for copyright infringement.

Author and publisher Raymund Sta. Maria Catabijan has filed a complaint against the private school saying that the school copied his work books and sold copies to its students.

A copyright is the legal protection given to to owner of an original work. Based on Section 172 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, literary and artistic works which include original books, writings, musical works, films, paintings, and other works including computer programs are protected from the moment of their creation.

Here is the list of literary and artistic works:

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Catabijan submitted an illustration showing his book’s content compared to that of the school’s book as evidence. IPOPHL has ruled in favor of the complainant and acknowledge the school to abide with the decision of the agency to pay a total a damage amount of P608,450.00.

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Samples of the content of the respondent’s book vis-a-vis the complainant’s                         Courtesy: NewsBytesPh

The IPOPHL, IPOPHL-IPR Enforcement Office and the PNP, served the writ of execution against the complainant October 16, 2014.

In a statement, Ricardo R. Blancafor, director-general of the agency said in a statement that the case was a victory for the rule of law regarding the country’s Intellectual property. He added that the IPOPHL lauds Catabijan’s efforts to fight for his IP rights and that the incident shows the need to continuously educate the public, including the schools, on IP.

It is very important for a company or a single individual to consistently protect its brand and works. Just like many people, organizations, business or companies, there is a law that protects their IP rights be it be here in the country or in other countries.


How to brew the perfect cup of coffee espresso, latte and other concoctions at

BELTRAN, B. (September 2014).
Philippine regulator rules for Starbucks in dispute over ‘Frap’ trademark. Retrieved at

BORDEAUX, E and ALSUP, A off CNN (January 2014). Starbucks goes after pub for ‘Frappicino beer”; pub sends $6, hilarious response. Retrieved at

Newbytes Philippines (November 2014). Bulacan school ordered to pay P608,450 for copyright infringement. Retrieved at


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