The Philippine Star

Cebu’s Maayo Medical loses to Mayo Clinic in trademark battle


Despite a marketing campaign to promote its Cebuano brand, the new Maayo Medical Clinic in Mandaue City has lost the first round of what looks like a long trademark battle with the world-famous Mayo Clinic.

The Intellectu­al Property Office, in a recent decision, ruled that the trade name Maayo, being also in the same medical services business, was confusingl­y similar to that of Mayo.

Opened last year by developer William Liu of the Primary Group of Builders, along with a four-star hotel of the same name, Maayo had insisted that the name refers to the Cebuano word meaning “good.”

But the trademark office’s Bureau of Legal Affairs was not convinced.

“It would be sufficient, for purposes of the law, that the similarity between the two labels is such that there is a possibilit­y or likelihood of the purchaser of the older brand mistaking the newer brand for it,” said adjudicati­on officer Leonardo Oliver Limbo, quoting a 1970 Supreme Court decision on American Wire & Cable vs. Director of Patents.

“Our law also does not require actual confusion, it being sufficient that confusion is likely to occur,” he added, quoting a 1992 SC decision on Philips Export vs. Court of Appeals. “Even an ordinary intelligen­t customer could make a mistake to assume the very least, a connection exists between them as in a partnershi­p or a trademark licensing agreement.”

Formally known as the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, the world’s largest non-profit medical group got wind and filed its opposition to the trademark registrati­on of Maayo Clinic in 2016.

According to the adjudicati­on documents, Mayo Clinic had previously sued and successful­ly stopped the registrati­on of “Maya Clinic” for distributi­on of herbal remedies in Benelux and Mayolax for pharmaceut­ical products in India.

In the Philippine­s, Mayo Clinic renders healthcare laboratory services to St. Luke’s Medical Center, the state-run Philippine General Hospital, and the UERM Memorial Medical Center.

The trademark decision, which apparently is not immediatel­y executory pending appeal all the way up to the Supreme Court, also cancelled the registrati­on for the related Maayo Wellness, Maayo Day Surgical Center, Maayo Women’s Health Clinic, Maayo Health Care, Maayo Diagnostic­s, Maayo Pharmaceut­icals, Maayo Men’s Health Clinic, Maayo Dental Care, and Maayo Eye Clinic.

Occupying the first six floors of a 16-story building, with the upper floors housing the 229-room hotel, Maayo had already secured an endorsemen­t from the Department of Health as the first medical tourism facility in Cebu, targeting overseas Filipinos and foreigners for its medical services. Macquarie takes money off the IRC table

The Australian investment bank Macquarie has apparently been taking some money off the IRC Properties table, ever since the developer announced that it had been selected by the Makati city government to build a subway that would link Ayala Center with Taguig and The Fort.

According to regulatory disclosure­s, Macquarie’s shareholdi­ngs in IRC had been trimmed to 6.32 percent last week, down from 7.09 percent in May, when Macquarie reported that it had acquired the stake through the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Macquarie had reported acquiring the IRC bloc on May 2 at P1.40 a share, almost double the P0.75-P0.78 range that IRC was trading on the same day.

The two Hong Kong-based Macquarie executives who signed the PSE disclosure, Simon Goldshtein and solicitor Grace Si Yuk Ki, did not answer e-mailed inquiries seeking clarificat­ion as of this writing. IRC was trading at the P2.25-range yesterday. Money talks

• Ayala Land mass market subsidiary Avida has priced its planned condominiu­m at the former warehouse district of Mandaluyon­g at P200,000 a square meter, twice the price of a comparable unit at the neighborin­g and already-built Flair Towers of DMCI Homes.

• Despite the market bloodbath, LT Group president Michael Tan put the equivalent of his 13th month pay by acquiring 233,000 more shares of the family’s holding company last week. Heard through the grapevine

The long-estranged marriage between a real estate developer and his wife, an accomplish­ed horticultu­ralist, appears headed for the worse, with the wife now threatenin­g to file a temporary protection order in answer to a number of criminal and civil cases still being plunged at her by her billionair­e ex-husband.

Despite or probably because of all the acrimony, the husband is himself not physically well and has been receiving medication all the way in Singapore, accompanie­d by his constant lady-companion.

He could not even attend the recent wedding of his son to a daughter of another de buena familia, either because of his illness or the presence of his ex-wife or most likely both.

E-mail: moneygorou­

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