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The Puto King Trademark Conflict

This is just a hypothetical scenario and did not happen in the real world. Let us say that Puto King is a trademark of a certain restaurant here in the Philippines. They have the trademark for the word “Puto King”, and no company can create another restaurant with the name Puto King, right?

Now, let us say that in the other side of the world, for example, USA, a contest was held where people will compete for the most number of puto eaten in 5 minutes. A certain John Doe won and ever since, people who knew him started calling him “Puto King”.

Now, a certain blogger on the USA, Jane, then posted about the event and called John Doe, Puto King on her post: Puto King Eats The Most Puto!

The questions. Does the Puto King in the Philippines have the right to cry foul? Do they have the right to contact Jane and ask her to take down her blog post because Puto King is trademarked in the Philippines and no one in the world can refer to other Puto King except for the restaurant?

Your thoughts on this please. Cause I’m in Jane’s almost similar situation right now.

Marhgil Macuha

Marhgil Macuha is a Computer Engineering graduate of Batangas State University. He is currently a Senior Solutions Developer at a Canadian IT company.


  1. It’s ok naman. Hindi naman name ng resto yun na niregister sa DTI.. tawag lang nila yun sa taong yun.. si Puto King 😀 Parang PACMAN, trademark ng Midway and Namco, tapos tawag natin kay Pacquiao ay PACMAN.. parang ganun lang yun 😀 hehe

  2. You’re in the same position as Jane?

    Well, if the blogger whose blog post title contains your trademark will not cause confusion (i.e., Mr. John “Puto King” Doe is not in the resto business), then the trademark complaint might be dismissed.

    Then again, a woman named SONY named a restaurant after herself, but soon got a complaint from an electronics/consumer appliances company.

    (Btw, IANAL so it will help if you consult with a lawyer friend.)

    Do you really feel that strongly about your blog post title? If not, then edit it: Puto Hari, or something. Life is too short to spend time even reading C&D letters.

  3. Agree ako kay Jehzlau, dapat yata same category din… 🙂

  4. Puti Hari is fine in a blogpost if it falls under “fair use” But using “Puti Hari” as a trademark is still a violation of trademark laws. hehehehe . Marghil: Emailed you a legal response.

  5. I don’t think that copyright laws such as trademarking is global unless a specific license is purchased per country based on their laws and regulations.

    So the ‘Puto King’ restaurant could ASK for the blogger to remove her post, but unless she is within the Philippines they have no real jurisdiction. Same for a US company to anyone in the Philippines. UNLESS they own the trademark within that country as well.

    That’s my thoughts at least. I’m pretty sure I’m in the right direction.

  6. Oh, and it’s not like she is actually infringing on their trademark anyway. She can blog till her hearts content about someone who has a title Puto King … she’s not making money on that two word text. I could call myself the Burger King and they can’t say anything unless I’m making money off the title. I don’t thing McDonald’s is pressing charges every time a child sings ‘Old McDonald had a Farm’ hehe

  7. Hindi ko alam kung SEO post ito or serious question. Hahaha.

  8. Fitz: It’s both. Hitting two birds with one stone. Anyway that’s what blogging is all about 🙂

  9. mukang badtrip ka ata bossing sa blog post mo na to ah..

  10. hi marghil. There’s no problem with your above example. Puto King is as in the example above is a trademark pertaining to a restaurant, now Jane’s blog post is about a person named “Puto King” for having eaten the most putos. If Jane has made a restaurant named “Puto King” then that’s what illegal.

    What is illegal under the Philippine Law is registering a mark that is:

    Is identical with a registered mark belonging to a different proprietor or a mark with an earlier filing or priority date, in respect of:

    (i) The same goods or services, or

    (ii) Closely related goods or services, or

    (iii) If it nearly resembles such a mark as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion.

    Hindi naman confusing yung ginawang blog post ni Jane ah, Tao yung sa kanya, yung isa restaurant- a thing.. Puto King as a person is different sa Puto King na restaurant. Besides Jane has no intention of registering say a “Puto King Restaurant” or kahit anong “Puto King” business na still related sa Puto food. Kaya, I don’t think there’s any problem with that..

    That’s just my opinion but I could be wrong..:)

  11. It will depend on the legalities.

  12. Hi,

    I’d like to post my two cents, I guess there’s no infringement here. Trademarks are infringed only when they have been duly registered. Or when that name aside from being registered has been a ‘household name’ for that particular goods or services.

    If the name is not highly intertwined nor distinctive of that product or service, and belongs to a an entirely different category, no law was violated. You must consider as well, the location, intention and resulting injury to said product or service.

    I hope that helps! 🙂

  13. thanks for all your comments! Atty. Zigfred Diaz gave me a legal advice, and I’ve decided to put down my puto king post after thinking all about it. Thanks Atty for that long and informative advise. And thanks to all of you for sharing your 2 cents.

  14. no conflict there. i’m not a lawyer but i’ve been reading news on similar cases.a recent decision was against jollibee and a certain same sounding business making shoes. jollibee lost the case since you can’t “confuse shoes” with burgers, right? same with Sun Cellular and Sun Microsystems

  15. @Fitz – it’s an SEO post sprinkled with some serious phrases… SEO + Serious = Serious SEO.. parang ganun lang 😀 haha

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