Big Mak wins infringement war with Mcdo PH
L.C. Big Mak Burger Inc. (Big Mak) was favored in the Supreme Court’s recently reversed ruling over trademark infringement and unfair competition charges filed by fast-food giant McDonald Philippines.
In a 13-page decision, SC First Division Associate Justice Noel Tijam dismissed McDonald’s complaint accusing Quezon province-based Big Mak of disobeying a Sept. 5, 1994 ruling by the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 137.
The 1994 ruling ordered the latter to pay a P600, 000 fine and to stop using “Big Mak,” it being deemed as referring to McDonald’s own “Big Mac” burger.
McDonald’s said the misuse of term may “confuse, mislead or deceive the public into believing that [their]goods and services originate from those of McDo’s, and otherwise unfairly trading on the reputation and goodwill of the McDonald’s Marks, in particular, the mark ‘Big Mac.’”
The fast food giant, however, filed another petition after the 1994 ruling. This time, accusing Big Mak owner Francis Dy for failing to comply with the order of discontinuing its use of the disputed trademark and to pay the fines.
The case was elevated to the Court of Appeals (CA) where Big Mak was found guilty of indirect contempt in a decision dated February 2, 2017. The appellate court rejected Dy’s motion for reconsideration and affirmed its ruling in a July 26, 2017-dated decision.
When elevated to the SC, the country’s highest court brushed off the CA decision, saying that “it is not wholly true that petitioner continues to use the mark ‘Big Mak’ in its business, in complete defiance [of]this court’s decision.”
“As early as during the trial of the said case, certain changes had already been made by the petitioner to rule out the charge of infringement and unfair competition,” SC said.
Big Mak replaced it names with “Super Mak” and “L.C. Big Mak Burger Inc.” after the 1994 decision.