The Ambos Mundos Restaurant Trademark in the Philippines...So the Public May Finally Know

8:32 PM

Registrant: Maria Teresa S. Gaudinez
Date of Registration: October 24, 2005
Date Filed: May 29,1997
Certificate of  Registration: 4-1997-121056
Trademark: Ambos Mundos Restaurant

All businesses will have to be known by some name for identity and recognition.  What most owners forget is another very important function of a name which is protection.  A business name can represent the efforts and hard work of its owners towards establishing it.

Business Name Registration

Anyone who wishes to establish a business in the Philippines typically start the documentary process by registering the chosen business name with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).  There are several requirements pertaining to the eligibility of a person making the application and the documents that need to be presented.  An important aspect that has to be considered is whether a proposed business name is registrable or not.

DTI, in its latest provided rules and regulations have taken exception to the following and are thus not considered registrable.
  • Those which are or whose natures of business are illegal, offensive, scandalous, or contrary to propriety (e.g Popoy’s Jueteng Betting Place, Boobs Massage and Spa)
  • Names that are the same, nearly the same as or confusingly the same with an existing registered business, company, partnership, corporation, cooperative name; nor it infringes on any trademark, service mark or tradename (e.g Anne Dok’s Lechon, Jolibee, Starbax Café)
  • Names composed purely of generic or geographic words (e.g The Laundry Shop, Bacolod)
  • Names which by law or regulation cannot be appropriated (e.g OTOP, Intelligence, State College, CALBARZON)
  • Names used to designate or distinguish, or suggestive of quality of any class of goods, articles, merchandise or service (e.g Best Taho Factory, A-1 Auto Repair Shop)
  • Names or abbreviation of a name used by the government in its governmental functions (e.g NBI Private Investigation Services, DTI Trading)
  • Names or abbreviation of a name of any nation, intergovernmental or international organization (e.g Philippine Manpower Pooling Agency, UNESCO Marketing)
  • Names that are deceptive, misleading or which misrepresent the nature of the business (e.g “ABC Construction Services” where nature of business is recruitment, a business name carrying another person’s name)
Source: DTI

Business owners are expected to be given protection as provided for by the agency in relation to the use of their legally registered business names.  Also, they are assured of remedies if and when a threat to such name that has been painstakingly built presents itself.  It should be noted that application forms for business names have long included the "undertaking". Signing this undertaking signifies an applicant's willingness to voluntarily change the business name if it is found out that another person has prior right to such name.  Partnerships and corporations are also required to register their business names with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Trademark Registration

Business owners who seek further protection of their business name can choose to register their trademark with the Intellectual Property Office. Trademark registration provides the owners exclusive right to use the mark while preventing others from using a mark that is similar or identical.  It is granted to the first one who files a trademark application with IPO Philippines.

For its part,  IPO considers the following unregistrable.

  • DESCRIPTIVE These are marks that describe the characteristics of the goods or services. Examples are “DURABLE” for shoes (describes the quality), “A LITER” for cooking oil (quantity), and so is “KITCHEN”  for cooking utensils (intended purpose).
  • MISLEADING Marks that are likely to deceive or have the tendency to misinform the consumers about the actual characteristics of the goods or services like “BOLPENS” for pencils, “COLA” for alcoholic beverages, “BULAKAN” for sweets not originating from or produced in Bulacan. 
  • GENERIC and customary to trade Generic marks are names of products they seek to identify. For instance, “KAP KEYK” for cupcakes, ”CAFFE” for coffee and “MAKINAH” for machines. Marks and indications that have become common in everyday language or usage can not be registered. They no longer distinguish the goods and services because they are used so often to refer to the goods and services. Example of this is “VCO” for virgin coconut oil, “DIAMOND PEEL” for services involving cosmetic procedure. 
  • Contrary to Public Order or Morality
  • Marks that are against the common standard of morality. An example is “PRO-TERRORISM” for clothing.
  • CONSISTS OF NAMES, PORTRAITS OF PERSONS, MAPS, FLAGS AND OTHER POLITICAL SYMBOLS Marks that contain names or portraits of living individuals may be rejected unless the individual gives written consent. For instance, no one can use the picture of Manny Pacquiao as a trademark unless he is Mr. Pacquiao himself or he was duly authorized by Mr. Pacquiao.
  • SHAPE AND COLOR Shapes must be distinctive from the usual shape of goods or containers of the goods, in order to be considered a trademark. One classic example is the COKE BOTTLE.
  • Color alone is not accepted unless it is defined by a given form.   
  • MARKS THAT MAY CAUSE CONFUSION Your mark cannot be registered if it is identical with or similar to a registered mark or a mark with earlier filing date for goods and services that are exactly the same or for goods and services that are related.  Consumers should not confuse your mark with the marks of others.
  • Identical with, or confusingly similar to WELL-KNOWN MARKS Marks that are identical with or similar to marks that are known internationally and in the Philippines will be refused registration.
Source: IPO

A trademark is considered a very important tool in product or service recognition by the public. It is also considered as one of the primary assets of a business.   The registrant can choose to license its use by others at his or her discretion depending on the growth path created for the business.

The Ambos Mundos Restaurant Trademark

The Ambos Mundos Restaurant Trademark has been registered with IPO since the year 2005. It should be noted however that it has been used by the registrant and her family for decades prior to such registration.  The trademark registration was specifically sought by the registrant for protection against persons and/or entities that continue to employ all possible means to wrestle ownership and rights to the use of the business name.

In the light of recent developments, there is a need to again emphasize the fact that: There is no legitimate Ambos Mundos Restaurant main outlet or branch existing as of this time. There are persons/entities appropriating the name for their unauthorized use causing much confusion and disinformation in the minds of the public.  The business names they are using consisting of Los Ambos Mundos Restaurant and Ambos Mundos Restaurant Inc., clearly infringe on the existing trademark for being confusingly similar.  To add insult to injury, they have been seeking to void the trademark registration so they can permanently deprive legitimate owners of its use and thereby claim ownership of a business name, the building of which they had absolutely no part of.

The Intellectual Property Office continues to uphold the validity of the Ambos Mundos Restaurant trademark as registered to Maria Teresa S. Gaudinez.  Sadly,  legal maneuverings have successfully prevented the rightful owner from using the trade name up to this time.   It is our fervent hope that the Philippine legal system will protect this right all throughout. and allow us to use it without any further threat to its rightful ownership.
This information is being provided so the public may know.

My Say

Since the beginning, I have been "winning" this case in all the venues it was brought to including the DTI Office of Legal Affairs, SEC, Intellectual Property Office, Office of the President, and the Court of Appeals.  Sadly, the false claimants to the name of Ambos Mundos Restaurant continue to enjoy the benefits of their illegal act while I can only continue to hope that justice will be served in due time.  They have been taking their sweet time making appeals right after each unfavorable decision they get and it seems to be working for them.

It seems that while the case is under appeal, I can only watch them by the sidelines as they promote it as their own on TV and in the Internet in spite of orders from the SEC to change their business name.  I even emailed one TV station which featured their lopsided and erroneous version of the Ambos Mundos story to request them to stop further airing of such episodes that can confuse the public, given the ongoing case.  That TV station answered to the effect that they had no intention of affecting the case in any way and merely relied on the person they are interviewing for the contents.  So when this same TV station aired another Ambos Mundos story through another show of theirs, I suppose they had no same intention, and I say this with much sarcasm.  

The media seems to be quite enamored with the idea that Ambos Mundos Restaurant is one of the oldest existing restaurant in the Philippines which is actually a good thing except that  these specific episodes are being used by the false claimants to further propagate a lie.  This is quite a problem since what is seen on TV is usually taken as the truth so it would be a great service to the public interest if topics presented are researched more thoroughly instead of accepting the interviewees' statements hook, line and sinker.

My opponents in this case are moneyed people.  The Ambos Mundos Restaurant page in this blog is but a small voice that seeks to present a side which has long been denied its chance.  

That said,  I wait for the day that Ambos Mundos Restaurant can finally come home to our family.

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  1. Your post will really come in handy for those people planning to start their own business. Thanks for sharing!

  2. It's nice to have trademark register as some people can steal all those ideas you've conceptualized in years by copying your business name.

  3. I haven't been to Ambos Mundos yet, but is this the one in Sta. Cruz, Manila? Anyway, this is definitely very informative. Every business owner should make it a priority to have their business name trademarked especially if it's crucial to their operations.

  4. @Sumi Go: I would have liked to have the opportunity to say to you now that you must visit Ambos Mundos Restaurant since you are a food blogger, However, I need to emphasize the fact that the restaurant in Sta. Cruz, Manila using our trade name is not authorized to use it and is in fact a defendant in our complaints with regards to violation of laws pertaining to use of business names. I cannot therefore assure you that the taste and flavor of food which they offer is true to the Ambos Mundos standard.

    We expect to open an authentic Ambos Mundos Restaurant as soon as possible.

  5. Thanks for sharing this. I do have plans of putting up my own business someday. It's always fun to think of names for the business :)

  6. So, based on this post Ambos Mundos Restaurant was just registered in your name for years but still, there's no authentic one yet open for business. Well, the one existing was able to operate despite these legal issues. Hmmmm... How did that happen?

  7. Thanks for sharing the information about it. Nice to know resto like Ambos Mundos is sharing this kind of thing in public.

  8. I hope you win this case soon! So we can taste the authentic Ambos Mundos standard soon!

  9. This is a very helpful information to those who wanted to open up a business in the Philippines.

  10. OMG! This is really alarming :-( I hope justice will be on your side. The public should really know. Good luck to your business Teresa (y)

  11. @mari: How did that happen? I believe it is a combination or greed, fraud, and negligence on the faithful performance of duties of some people who are given the responsibility to protect the public.

  12. @gemma and amiableamy: Thanks for the supportive words even if we don't know each other personally. It is quite a lonely fight which I need to do so that these name-grabbers will not win. I have done everything that is humanly possible, the rest I leave to God's hands.

  13. if given the chance, love to visit your place... people would really tend to copy the names that would give them the advantage... seen a lot of them. Yahweh bless.

  14. @ralph: In God's time, I am fervently hoping that will happen

  15. Yeah. I also hope you win this case and finally have the peace of mind I know you've been wanting.
    Thank you for this information, this would be really helpful for those who wants to start their business.

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