I.Protect: The Harvard Case-A A +A
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Clint Fabiosa & Ana Liza Villamor
CAN a Philippine company register “Harvard” as a trademark? In the case of Fredco vs. Harvard University, GR 185917, June 1, 2011, Fredco obtained a registration over the name “Harvard” for t-shirts, polo shirts, sandos, jackets, and slacks.
Our Supreme Court cancelled the registration on the following grounds: (1) the name “Harvard” was adopted in 1639 by the Harvard College of Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. and used in commerce as early as 1872; (2) Fredco’s registration of the mark “Harvard” and its identification of origin as “Cambridge, Massachusetts” falsely suggest that Fredco or its goods are connected with Harvard University; (3) and “Harvard” is a well-known name and mark not only in the United States but also internationally, including the Philippines.
The mark “Harvard” is rated as one of the most famous marks in the world. It has been registered in at least 50 countries. It has been used and promoted extensively in numerous publications worldwide. It has established a considerable goodwill worldwide since the founding of Harvard University more than 350 years ago.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 15, 2013.