Kho vs Court of Appeals
Intellectual Property – Law on Copyright – Proper Subjects of Copyright
Elidad Kho is the owner of KEC Cosmetics Laboratory and she was also the holder of copyrights over Chin Chun Su and its Oval Facial Cream Container/Case. She also bought the patent rights over the Chin Chun Su & Device and Chin Chun Su for medicated cream from one Quintin Cheng, who was the assignee of Shun Yi Factory – a Taiwanese factory actually manufacturing Chin Chun Su products.
Kho filed a petition for injunction against Summerville General Merchandising and Company to enjoin the latter from advertising and selling Chin Chun Su products, in similar containers as that of Kho, for this is misleading the public and causing Kho to lose income; the petition is also to enjoin Summerville from infringing upon Kho’s copyrights.
Summerville in their defense alleged that they are the exclusive and authorized importer, re-packer and distributor of Chin Chun Su products; that Shun Yi even authorized Summerville to register its trade name Chin Chun Su Medicated Cream with the Philippine Patent Office; that Quintin Cheng, from home Kho acquired her patent rights, had been terminated by Shun Yi.
ISSUE: Whether or not Kho has the exclusive right to use the trade name and its container.
HELD: No. Kho has no right to support her claim for the exclusive use of the subject trade name and its container. The name and container of a beauty cream product are proper subjects of a trademark (not copyright like what she registered for) inasmuch as the same falls squarely within its definition. In order to be entitled to exclusively use the same in the sale of the beauty cream product, the user must sufficiently prove that she registered or used it before anybody else did. Kho’s copyright and patent registration of the name and container would not guarantee her the right to the exclusive use of the same for the reason that they are not appropriate subjects of the said intellectual rights. Consequently, a preliminary injunction order cannot be issued for the reason that the petitioner has not proven that she has a clear right over the said name and container to the exclusion of others, not having proven that she has registered a trademark thereto or used the same before anyone did.