“Gold” is at the centre of a Supreme Court case in the Philippines this week, as Swiss food giant Nestlé is determined to prove that the word is not “generic or descriptive in character” and therefore may only be applied to the coffee produced by the Swiss food giant.
Local competitor Cfc Corp has been displaying the tags “gold,” “gold blend” and “gold cup” on its instant coffee labels and Nestlé is insisting that the firm is infringing on its property rights by using a registered trademark. After the case appeared in four different courts between 1988 and 1989, CFC Corp was temporarily banned from using “any reproduction, counterfeit copy or colourable imitation.”
This was later overturned however, when the largest food group worldwide failed to prove that it actually used the trademark, and CFC Corp continually stressed that their brands look nothing like those of Nestlé.
The right to register the word as a trademark has continued to dog Nestlé and the Court of Appeals finally ruled that the word “Gold” cannot be exclusively used by one person because of its status as an adjective, but Nestlé have responded by stating that: “The conclusion of the said court to the effect that respondent CFC is not guilty of infringement has no leg to stand on.”
Senior vice-resident of Nestlé Philippines, Mabini L. Antonio, has stressed that the legal battle will continue, and has utilised the Supreme Court to display the determination of the food heavyweight to gain exclusive use of the description.