On January 29, 2015, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) dismissed the two cases filed by Co It aka Gonzalo Co against Green Cross, Inc. (GCI) where he had claimed ownership over the brand names Green Cross and Zonrox.
These brands have been registered in the name of GCI since the 1970s on the basis of several documents that include many that Gonzalo himself had signed under oath and submitted to the IPO while he was still the president of the company.
In deciding both cases, the IPO confirmed that:“[I]n resolving disputes under its mandate, the Bureau adheres to the rule of law. This means that cases are to be decided on the basis of the facts and the records and the evidence submitted.”
Green Cross brand
In its Decision in IPC No. 14-2012-00197, the IPO noted that, “like any property, intellectual property such as trademark may be assigned, sold, transferred or conveyed to another.”
The IPO upheld GCI’s ownership of the Green Cross brand on the basis of the following facts:
“1.[Gonzalo] issued the Deed of Assignment [covering this brand] in favour of [GCI], a fact that he never denied;
2. During the whole term of the registration (20 years), it was [GCI] who maintained it and filed the required Affidavits of Use;
3. [Gonzalo] never sought the renewal of the registration;
4. [Gonzalo] did not file an opposition to [GCI’s] application for the re-registration of the mark in 1997;
5. [Gonzalo] sought cancellation of the registration only in 2012 or 15 years after the filing by [GCI] of the application for re-registration.”
According to the IPO, these facts “militate[ ] against [Gonzalo’s] claim that [GCI] obtained the registration [of the Green Cross brand] through fraud.”
In response to Gonzalo’s attempt to escape the consequences of the Deed of Assignment that he had executed under oath in 1970, the IPO held:
“Succinctly, there is nothing on record that supports [Gonzalo’s] bare allegations that he had no intention to part with his ownership of the trademark. [Gonzalo] failed to present any evidence, let alone clear and convincing evidence, to prove that fraud, intimidation or undue influence vitiated his consent when he executed the Deed of Assignment. Almost four (4) decades have passed and it was only now that he assails the Deed of Assignment that he himself executed. It is a settled rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden or proving it, and mere allegation is not evidence.”
In its Decision in IPC No. 14-2012-00160, the IPO similarly noted that, “like any property, intellectual property such as trademark may be assigned, sold, transferred or conveyed to another.”
The IPO upheld GCI’s ownership of the Zonrox brand on the basis of an affidavit that Gonzalo himself had executed and submitted to the IPO in 1974 together with an application for registration of that brand in the name of GCI.
In his 1974 affidavit, Gonzalo confirmed that he had allowed the company to use the brand since 1971 and “assign[ed] to [GCI] any and whatever right [he] may have on the said trademark in favor of [GCI].”
In response to Gonzalo’s attempt to escape the consequences of this affidavit, the IPO held:
“Likewise, [Gonzalo] failed to present any evidence, let alone clear and convincing evidence, to prove that fraud, intimidation or undue influence, or physical or mental incapacity vitiated his consent when he executed the affidavit and signed the applications in his capacity as President and General Manager fully aware that the applicant named therein is [GCI]. It is a settled rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden or proving it, and mere allegation is not evidence.”
The IPO also noted:
“[W]hen[GCI] filed an application in 1997 for the re-registration of the mark “Zonrox”, [Gonzalo] did not contest or oppose it. It took him fifteen (15) years before he sought the cancellation of the registration. This Bureau noticed that it took almost four (4) decades before [Gonzalo] questioned before the Intellectual Property of the Philippines and its precursor agencies the registrations and ownership of [GCI] over the contested mark.”
All cases that Gonzalo has filed against the company and its present owners have now been dismissed by the various courts and government offices where these were filed.
For more information go to: https://greencross.com.ph/the-truth-greencross/