Ramar Foods, the company notorious in the Filipino American community for being shameless brand pirates, has reportedly put up 16 of their trademarks as security interest to Comerica Bank, including the controversial Magnolia and Pampanga’s Best names.
Although a majority of the marks are technically “incontestable” having secured Section 15 status under the Lanham Act, it does not preclude the possibility of the Philippine companies taking more assertive action in the near future to take back these brand names from the American trademark pirate that Ramar Foods clearly is, under international legal mores.
There are many ways that incontestability can be questioned — among them: committing fraud upon the PTO in the registration. The Magnolia mark and iconic oval logo have been used in commerce by the San Miguel Corporation of the Philippines since the 1920s and is still in wide use today in our home country and overseas Filipino communities, such as Hong Kong and the Middle East. Ramar Foods stated in their application that the first date of use anywhere was 1972.
According to experts in U.S. intellectual property law, the only practical utility of securing incontestability is to safeguard the mark from being challenged on the grounds that it lacks distinctiveness.
These are the properties listed in the assignment sheet conveyed from Ramar’s counsel in California to Comerica Bank of Texas:
- Pampanga’s Best (2685164)
- Magnolia for ice cream (2407515)
- Bestaste (2267807)
- Turo-Turo Gourmet (2167669)
- Ramar’s sun logo (4073100)
- Kusina ni Maria (4163768)
- Kusina ni Maria (4043264)
- Pancit Kit (4027288)
- Enjoy The Fruits Of Our Labor (3981674)
- The Flavor of the Philippines (4117017)
- The Best Lumpia Ever (4028043)
- Filipino at Heart (4043265)
- Frescano (3540422)
- Frescano (3540423)
- Baguio (1760084)
- Manila Gold (1936132)
- Magnolia name with San Miguel’s iconic oval logo for prepared meats (2021551)
- Orientex name, which Ramar currently uses for frozen food such as lumpia (no valid registered trademark)
SECURED PARTY: Comerica
RECITAL: Pursuant to that certain Credit Agreement, by and among Grantor, Ramar Marina Ltd. L.P., a California limited partnership, and Prime Equities, L.P., a California limited partnership (“Borrower(s)”) and Secured Party, Secured Party is extending certain credit faccilities to the Borrowers (“Credits”), which Credits will be evidenced by certain documents executed in connection with the Credit Agreement (“Credit Documents”).
The IP Security Agreement was signed by Susan Quesada, President of Ramar International Corporation at 1101 Railroad Avenue / Lane, Pittsburg, CA 94565.
Comerica Bank, 39200 Six Mile Road, Livonia, Michigan 48152