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Metro

Choco factory raided for unfair competition

- Evelyn Macairan -
Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), accompanied by representatives of Nestlé Philippines, raided a chocolate drink factory in Navotas for unfair competition and trademark infringement.

Special Investigator Federico Criste, of the NB-NCR, said they swooped down on the factory of Columbia International Food Products Inc. located in San Rafael Village after Nestlé initiated a criminal complaint.

The company said Columbia’s Chocquik drink had packaging similar to its own instant drink Milo.

"The appearance is confusingly similar. They used the same colors of green, brown, yellow and gold-tone. The predominant color is green," a company representative said.

As of press time, the NBI agents were still wrapping up the operation at the factory. Nestlé lawyers from the RB Domingo law firm were present during the operation.

"As of 3 p.m. we have filled a 10-wheeler container van with thousands of boxes of Chocquik products. We estimate the seizure to be worth more than P2 million," Criste said.

NBI agents said they served the search warrant issued by Judge Alberto Lerma, of Branch 256 of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court. Columbia is accused of violating Republic Act 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

"Milo consumers have been deceived by the similarity, thus risking the goodwill and image of the product, which the company has built over 40 years," Nestlé said in a statement. – With Jerry Botial

AGENTS OF THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

CHOCQUIK

COLUMBIA INTERNATIONAL FOOD PRODUCTS INC

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES

JUDGE ALBERTO LERMA

MUNTINLUPA CITY REGIONAL TRIAL COURT

NESTL

REPUBLIC ACT

SAN RAFAEL VILLAGE

SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR FEDERICO CRISTE

WITH JERRY BOTIAL

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