‘Jollibee’ loses trademark dispute against ‘Jolliville’

Jollibee JollivilleThe Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) reversed the 2014 decision of the agency’s Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) granting Jolliville’s appeal for the registration of its corporate name. Jollibee, a fast-food giant filed a notice of opposition in 2013 against Jolliville, a property firm when the latter filed for registration of the corporate name and logo featuring the word ‘Jolliville’.

BLA issued an order in favor of Jollibee in 2014 which prompted Jolliville to file an appeal. Jolliville submitted their arguments that the name was derived from the name of its founder, Jolly L. Ting and appended the suffix ‘ville’ to indicate the nature of their real estate business. IPOPHIL also noted that Jollibee failed to present necessary evidence showcasing the damage caused to its mark by the registration of the name ‘Jolliville’. It was further noted that the services are indisputably dissimilar. IPOPHIL granted the appeal stating that name of both companies are not ‘confusingly similar’.

“In the absence of the likelihood of confusion between the Jolliville and the appellee’s registered trademarks, there is no ground to prohibit the registration of Jolliville in the name of the appellant,” it added. On January 2013, Jollibee opposed Jolliville’s application for a logo and corporate name.

IPOPHL-BLA Director Nathaniel Arevalo ruled in favor of Jollibee in September 2014 and compelled Jollivile to file for an appeal. Jolliville said the use of “Jolli” in its corporate name is a tribute to its founder Jolly Ting and that Jollibee cannot claim exclusive and immediate association of “Jolli” or “Jolly.” It said that there were several other registered corporations and trademarks which use the same name.

Jolliville argued that its name was not confusing and similar to Jollibee and its other registered marks.It uses the prefix ‘Jolli’ and appends it to ‘ville’ for its real estate affairs and realty leasing services.

The realty company presented its certificates of registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showing that Jolly Ting started using the ‘Jolli’ prefix in the mid-1980s.“The appellant has proven its ownership and continuous use of Jolliville since 1986. It has secured trademark registration for Jolliville as early as 2004,” IPOPHL said.

“While appellee was making it big in the food service business, so was  . Jolly Ting in the night entertainment business. As the owner of a string of night entertainment establishments such as Pegasus, Discovery, Mega Heartbeat, Lexus, he earned the moniker king of night entertainment,” it added.

Ting later announced the company is diversifying into real estate, property management, and development. IPOPHL also said Jollibee did not present any proof that its interests have been damaged or are likely to be damaged by the registration of Jolliville. “The registration of Jolliville in favor of the appellant is not contrary to the provisions of the IP Code but is consistent with the very essence of granting trademark registration,” IPOPHL said.

Ting started in the night club business, then branched out into real estate with Jolliville Realty and Development Co. Inc. in September 1986. The SEC approved the change in name of Jolliville Realty to Jolliville Holdings Corp. in April 1999.

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