LETTER FROM A LAWYER
Natanggap ko ang sulat na ito sa isang kabigang abugado na nagha-handle ng mga Intellectual Property cases. Gusto ko lang i-share sa inyo...
Una, ang pwedeng gawin ng Risingstar ay mag-file sa Intellecutal Property Office ng "Petition to CancelTrademark" ng Atlas Publications. Ang legal grounds nila ay dalawa under the Intellectual Property Code(R.A. 8293):
A)Assuming that Atlas Publications is the registered owner of the trademark "Pilipino Komiks", said mark is not already being used by it due to the absence of their product in the market.
They've stopped publishing "Pilipino Komiks" WITHOUT ANY ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THEY WOULD BE RESUMING PUBLICATION. Failure or stoppage of use of registered trademark is a ground for cancellation under SUB-PARAGRAPH (C), Section 151of R.A. No. 8293;
B) the registered name "Pilipino Komiks" for local comics in the tagalog dialect has now become GENERIC. Meaning, the use of the broad and common term"Pilipino" is merely descriptive and common and not uniquely descriptive of a particular comics publication that would distinguish it from other local publications. (Sub-paragraph (b), Section 151, R.A.No. 8293).
Moreover, the Atlas demand letter should not be taken seriously or on mere face value. My reasons:
a) To my recollection, "Pilipino Komiks" was publishedin 1947 by ACE Publications, Inc. Wala pang Atlas noon which was incorporated I think in the mid-1960s.(Please Check that abominable "History of Pilipino Komiks" book for verification).
There is no showing that ACE had legally and in writing transferred or assigned its trademark to"Pilipino Komiks" to Atlas Publications.
There is also no showing that when National Bookstore or Benjamin Ramos BOUGHT Atlas in the late 1990s, the purchase also included the sale of the"Pilipino Komiks" trademark.
Consequently, a Reply letter could be made questioning first whether or not ATLAS PUBLISHING has the proper legal personality to make such a demand of protecting its trademark. If it is shown that NationalBookstore, Inc. had validly purchased the mark, then it is National who should be making the demand letter as Atlas has no such trademark right or ownership right to protect in the first place.