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Nestle sues Chocquik maker for infringement (Cites Milo, Nesquik
[December 29, 2005]

Nestle sues Chocquik maker for infringement (Cites Milo, Nesquik

(Business World (Philippines) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Food and beverage giant Nestle Philippines, Inc. has sued Columbia International Food Products, Inc. for alleged trademark infringement and unfair competition for its use of the "Chocquik" brand.

In a 30-page complaint filed at the Makati regional trial court, Nestle alleged Columbia's chocolate-flavored beverage launched in June, was confusingly similar to "Milo" and "Nesquik," both Nestle trademarks.

In particular, Columbia's use of the green color and a gold colored wave mark enclosing a white surface - features that are also evident in the "Milo" brand, constitutes trademark infringement, Nestle said.

The firm argued the "Chocquik" brand was "evidently copied" from the "Nesquik" trademark with the inclusion of the word "Quik" to Columbia's product name.

"That Columbia's Chocquik is a colorable imitation of Nestle's Milo and Nesquik trademarks is undeniable. It is so obvious that Columbia had unlawfully copied Societe des Produits Nestle S.A.'s protected trademarks," the complaint read.

Nestle said the fact that "Milo", "Nesquik" and "Chocquik" brands cover the same product, that is chocolate-flavored beverages, aggravates the likelihood of confusion among consumers.

The firm asked the Makati trial court to issue an injunction that would bar Columbia from using the "Chocquik" brand in its products.

It likewise claimed damages amounting to more than P15 million.

For its part, Columbia questioned Nestle's legal capacity to file the suit.

The company argued that Societe des Produits Nestle S.A., the Switzerland-based parent of Nestle Philippines, has been doing business in the Philippines without a license so it is not allowed to maintain a suit in the country.

It also noted the complaint is "premature" for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Nestle should have instead initiated the suit before the Intellectual Property Office, which has jurisdiction over the registration of products, Columbia said.

"[I]f the trademarks being maintained by the plaintiffs are indeed similar to that of the defendant's then the former should have registered their opposition with the [Intellectual Property Office]," Columbia said.

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