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 that...at 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.