Philips versus Philites

By Clint Fabiosa & Ana Liza Villamor

I. Protect

Philites Electronic & Lighting Products has filed with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines a trademark application for “PHILITES” to be used for fluorescent bulb, incandescent light, starter and ballast. It is claimed that “PHILITES” is a coined word which is a combination of “PHILIPPINES” and “LITES.”

Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. opposed the “PHILITES” trademark application on the ground that it is confusingly similar with its internationally well-known “PHILIPS” trademark also used for the same products.

When the case reached the Supreme Court, the high court ruled that in a 1992 case it decided, it was already ruled that “PHILIPS” for light bulbs is a well-known trademark in the country. The Supreme Court also said that: “An examination of the trademarks shows that its dominant or prevalent feature is the five-letter ‘PHILI’, ‘PHILIPS’ for petitioner and ‘PHILITES’ for respondent. The marks are confusingly similar with each other such that an ordinary purchaser can conclude an association or relation between the marks... Most importantly, both trademarks are used in the sale of the same goods, which are light bulbs.”

The high court also held that the wrapper or packaging of the “PHILITES” light bulbs show a strong similitude or likeness to that of “PHILIPS.” (PHILITES vs. PHILIPS, G.R. 186088 March 22, 2017)


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