More on the infamous ‘chocolate battle’

- Rey Gamboa () - July 1, 2006 - 12:00am
Several weeks ago, we came out with an article regarding the infamous battle involving two of our country’s chocolate drink manufacturers – Nestle, makers of the popular Milo drink which has been with us for generations, and Columbia International Food Products, Inc., makers of Chocquik, a new drink that is getting quite popular in the market.

As a brief backgrounder, Nestle executives, reportedly accompanied by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation, allegedly raided the Chocquik factory in Navotas on the strength of a search warrant issued by a Muntinlupa court.

Columbia International filed a motion to quash said order, and on Nestle’s counter-motion to expunge, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 256, of Muntinlupa, Rizal rendered a decision. We obtained a copy of said decision, and found certain statements curious and interesting. Having no relationship, professional or otherwise with any of these two companies, the information we disclose herein should be construed as nothing but reportorial.

As to the allegation of forum shopping, the court ruled that "there is no forum shopping in the instant case."

On the other allegations, the court stated that "had this court known beforehand that the applicant’s (Nestle) purpose was not to discover evidence of the subject crimes or merely to unmask the identities of the persons responsible for such crimes for the purpose of bringing them to court, but rather to stop Columbia from continuing the manufacture and sale of the questioned products openly as it had been doing for about 10 months since June 2005, this jurisdiction would not have issued the subject warrants."

To Columbia’s contention that, since their factory is in Navotas, the matter is not within the jurisdiction of the Muntinlupa court, it ruled that "it has the territorial jurisdiction to take cognizance of the application."

On the insinuations that Columbia "was an underground company covertly operated by some people who are into illegal business practice infringing or copying products of herein applicant," "this court finds it appalling that no legitimate and registered company manufacturing and selling legitimate products would indulge in such an alleged illegal operation."

"On further consideration, this court, after the issuance of the questioned search warrants, had ample time to carefully scrutinize and compare both products, Chocquik and Milo from the point of view of consumers. After perusing the alleged existing similar marks, this Court agrees with what Columbia has provided and submitted before this court in the Annex 3 of its supplement to the motion to quash, which in fact helped and aided this court to wisely determine whether or not the alleged similarities could not be mistaken for Milo based on comparative analysis made. Clearly, the only perceptible similarity between the two products is the presence of more or less similar shades of colors in their respective packages. However, Nestle has asserted no right to the exclusive use of the combination of these colors, especially where Chocquik used them in vastly different proportions and designs."

The court concluded .."this jurisdiction finds that there is no probably cause that Columbia’s Chocquik products constitute an infringement on Nestle’s trademarks or an act of unfair competition."

With the foregoing, the search warrants previously issued were quashed and set aside. It added, in conclusion, that "the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is hereby ordered to immediately return to Columbia Int’l Food Products, Inc., upon receipt of this order, all the articles and properties seized from the Columbia by virtue of such search warrants."

So ordered, Muntinlupa City, June 19, 2006, by presiding Judge Alberto Lerma.

In the interest of fair reportage, we gave equal space to Nestle and printed their communication to us which was sent to the Star’s offices and which we received quite late. It stated that the raid was indeed covered by a valid court order. However, the ensuing developments which we refer to in the foregoing, effectively negates all these.
Bamboo Lounge at The Fort
The Fort is home to many new and exciting restaurant finds, and we have featured a few of them here. Now here’s a new one –the Bamboo Lounge. It is located at the 2nd floor of the DLA Bldg, along Justicia Drive, between MC Home Depot and Price Smart. You can’t miss it.

The location is great and should entice Makati and Ortigas Business Districts habitués, being at the crossroads of these hubs.

The fine dining restaurant and chill out bar boasts of affordable Asian Fusion cuisine, so it should be interesting. Yuppies always seem to be on the lookout for some new place to chill out, so the bar should be a perfect choice. The latticed bamboo poles and doors, the vibrant colors of brilliant red, the comfortable seats in dark mahogany – the place spells Asian elegance. Imperial red is dominant, to emphasize their cuisine preference which is exquisite Chinese and Asian. Try their Roast Duck Platter, Stir-fried broccoli flower with Tofu in Garlic, Boneless Chicken Curry in Hotpot, Salt & Pepper Spareribs, among others. For the Bar Menu, try their Black & While Sesame Spring Rolls, Steamed Shark’s Fin Style Dumplings, Chicken Basil & Garlic Sauce, Jellyfish with Century Eggs, among others. See you there one of these exciting evenings.

I understand this is another Lino Barte concoction. Then this must be good.
Reservist movement on the rise
Almost 200 reservists went through seminar/training in Camp Riego de Dios in Tanza, Cavite, presented by Col. Roberto G. Gamboa Jr., INF PA. Col. Joseph R. Galam (GSC) PA, AC of S for Intel G2, the seminar’s Training Director, introduced the Guest of Speaker, Col. Pedro P. Blasbas FA (GSC).

The event’s highlight was the announcement of Col. Galam’s promotion to full Colonel, with Col. Roberto Gamboa also presiding over the pinning ceremony.

The Reservists lament the fact that they now lack the numbers as a result of RA 9163 which made ROTC an optional course. The ARESCOM, under the command of Brig. Gen. Emmanuel S. Cayton, has been doing a good job, but they are still pushing for ROTC’s return to glory as part of a mandatory course in order to produce qualified enlisted men.
Business & Leisure airs Tuesdays, 10 p.m.
As the Shop TV channel primes up for a grid of regular programs, the weekly window to the world of business and guide to the good life, Business & Leisure shall air starting next week every Tuesday evening at 10 o’clock. Please donít fail to watch – Channel 13 on Sky and Home Cable and Channel 9 on Destiny.

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

For comments: (e-mail) businessleisurestar@stv.com.ph

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