San Miguel secures Magnolia brand use in US
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - September 2, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Diversifying conglomerate San Miguel Corp will be able to continue using its “Magnolia” brand in the United States after a totally unaffiliated Filipino American company in Northern California lost a court appeal over the use of the Magnolia name.

San Miguel may now also bring new Magnolia food products to the US following the decision of a US Court of Appeals, the conglomerate said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) yesterday.

A US Court of Appeals (9th Circuit) rendered a decision on Aug. 27, 2015 denying an appeal filed by Ramar International Corp.,  a Filipino American food company, which earlier took San Miguel to court over the latter’s  use of the Magnolia brand for its butter, margarine and cheese products it sells in the US.

“Additionally, the Court of Appeals reversed the injunction issued by the District Court that prevented San Miguel from using the “Magnolia” brand for new Magnolia food products in the US, as Ramar failed to prove  it suffered any irreparable injury by San Miguel’s use of the Magnolia mark on its products in the US,” San Miguel said.

In rendering the decision, the Court of Appeals recognized San Miguel used the “Magnolia” brand on its butter, margarine and cheese products to invoke the goodwill San Miguel built in the Philippines and not the goodwill created by Ramar in the US.

“The Court further acknowledged that Ramar’s president himself admitted on record that his company originally adopted the Magnolia trademark to ‘leverage the existing strength of San Miguel’s Magnolia brand’ to promote its sales of Filipino-style ice cream in the US,” San Miguel said in its disclosure.

Ramar filed a trademark application in the early 1990’s claiming the Magnolia mark for its exclusive use in the US.

In approving the trademark application, the US government did not give credence to the fact that San Miguel had been using the Magnolia name and logo for much longer in the Philippines and owns the brand in the country.

Magnolia is originally a brand of ice cream and dairy products owned and established by San Miguel in 1925. San Miguel was then known as San Miguel Brewery.

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